Musicology Events

The Musicology Department sponsors two series of presentations:

  • The Colloquium series offers talks by current faculty and graduate students.
  • The Symposium series presents prominent guest speakers from other institutions.

Both series are open to the Eastman community. All events take place on Thursdays at 4:30 p.m. in NSL 404 (Sibley Library seminar room) unless otherwise noted. 


MUY Symposium Speakers Spring 2021

18 February 2021

William Robin, University of Maryland, College Park
“Bang on a Can and New Music’s Marketplace Turn”

Virtual Presentation Zoom ID:  953 5043 1575

William Robin“The Bang on a Can Festival, the 8-year-old irreverent New York forum for new music, is invading the mainstream,” wrote Billboard in May 1995. That season, what had begun as a quirky, do-it-yourself marathon of contemporary music in downtown New York was now playing at Lincoln Center and releasing an album on Sony Classical. Bang on a Can’s remarkable growth in the early 1990s can be traced to the entrepreneurial ingenuity of its three founding composers. But it was also a result of significant structural shifts: a “marketplace turn” in American new music, in which institutions and musicians came to believe that the survival of contemporary composition depended on reaching a broad, non-specialist audience. In this talk, I trace Bang on a Can’s expansion alongside other institutional changes in this period, as it found new ways to grow the listenership for contemporary composition.

William Robin is an assistant professor of musicology at the University of Maryland’s School of Music. He completed a Ph.D. in musicology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2016 with a dissertation analyzing American new music in the twenty-first century through the lens of “indie classical,” focusing on New Amsterdam Records and the ensemble yMusic. He is currently working on a book project––Industry: Bang on a Can and New Music in the Marketplace (under contract with Oxford University Press)––on the composer collective Bang on a Can and their participation in major institutional shifts in contemporary music in the 1980s and 1990s.

William’s research explores how institutions structure the creation, dissemination, and reception of contemporary classical music in the United States. His research interests also include early American hymnody, Stravinsky, and the European postwar avant-garde. Recent peer-reviewed journal articles include “Horizons ’83, Meet the Composer, and New Romanticism’s New Marketplace,” (Musical Quarterly), “Balance Problems: New-Music Ensembles, the University, and Neoliberalism,” (Journal of the American Musicological Society, fall 2018); and “The Rise and Fall of ‘Indie Classical’: Tracing a Controversial Term in Twenty-First Century New Music,” (Journal of the Society for American Music, spring 2018).

18 March 2021

Kyra D. Gaunt, University at Albany
Groomed from Girlhood: Music as an instrument of violence against Black women on YouTube

Virtual Presentation Zoom ID:  960 3398 8246

Kyra GauntWhen we search for music on YouTube–the number one music discovery channel on the web and the number one destination for kids, we never think we are contributing to the sexual grooming and sexploitation of the most vulnerable and marginalized girls and their aspirational bedroom play. Tween twerking videos sit at the intersection of music monetization, search recommendations, and sexually-objectifying comments and disclosure tactics. This talk unpacks how girls turn up to music that is situationally banking on their consent to patriarchal violence and anti-Black sexism.

Ethnomusicologist Kyra Gaunt uses song, scholarship, and digital media to disclose disconnects in music, culture, and technology that perpetuate violence against girls online. Her first book, The Games Black Girls Play: Learning the Ropes from Double-Dutch to Hip-Hop (NYU Press) and subsequent publications, contributed to the emergence of hip-hop music studies, black girlhood studies, and hip-hop feminism. She was featured in the viral TED video “How the Jump Rope Got Its Rhythm” reaching over 7M+ views published in over 28 languages and in 2020 she became a Senior TED Fellow. Her article “The Magic of Black Girls Play” was an editors’ pick in the New York Times in July 2020 and her next project is titled PLAYED: Twerking at the Intersection of Music, YouTube, and Violence Against Black Girls.

1 April 2021

Brigid Cohen, New York University
Michiko Toyama at the Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center

Virtual Presentation Zoom ID:  958 4087 7299

The Paris-trained, Japanese composer MicBrigid Cohenhiko Toyama (1913-2006) was appointed as the earliest foreign-born visiting composer at the Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center (CPEMC), the first institutionally supported studio of its kind in the United States. Yet she remains virtually unknown to scholarship (Tsuji 1999), despite a growing literature on women pioneers in electronic music (Hinkle-Turner 2006; Rodgers 2010). From 1956 to 1959 at Columbia, Toyama cultivated a tape aesthetic that highlighted classical Japanese traditions of female authorship while tapping into the downtown spoken word and global gagaku crazes. During the same period, her hosts Otto Luening and Vladimir Ussachevsky coordinated with the Rockefeller Foundation (RF) to found the CPEMC with a massive $175,000 grant (1958), framing their studio as a venture in cultural diplomacy. Toyama’s project and presence cast new light on the founding of this technocultural music institution within Cold War configurations of power. Drawing on interviews, archival research, and the interpretive study of music, this talk shows how Toyama’s work and persona call out for alternative histories of electronic music, which will render New York’s “uptown scene” foreign to itself.

Brigid Cohen is Associate Professor of Music at New York University. Her book Stefan Wolpe and the Avant-Garde Diaspora (2012) won the Lockwood Award from the American Musicological Society. She is currently writing Musical Migration and Imperial New York, which explores questions of displacement and citizenship through a study of New York concert avant-gardes, jazz, electronic music, and performance art in the 1950s and 1960s. She is also editor of the round table “Edward Said and Musicology Today,” published in Journal of the Royal Musical Association in 2016. Her recent work has been supported by the Max Planck Institute for History of Science, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and Wellesley College.

29 April 2021

Jennifer Saltzstein, University of Oklahoma
Landscape, Identity, and Song: Projections of Person in Thirteenth-Century Trouvère Compendia

Virtual Presentation – Zoom ID:  943 7284 4891

Jennifer SaltzsteinThe luxury songbooks that are our most important sources for the music of the trouvères often project uniform identities for these composers as knights, clerics, or hired performers. Focusing on two trouvères (the crusading knight the Vidame de Chartres and the cleric and lawyer Gilles le Vinier) I examine the way in which their songs and the known details of their biographies complicate the social categories into which the songbooks place them. The more nuanced portrait that emerges provides a basis for exploring what these figures and their songs reveal about relationships between song, landscape, and identity among the trouvères.

Jennifer Saltzstein is a Presidential Professor of Musicology at the University of Oklahoma, where she teaches courses on the music of the middle ages, renaissance, and baroque eras. She is author of The Refrain and the Rise of the Vernacular in Medieval French Music and Poetry (Cambridge: D.S. Brewer, 2013), editor of Musical Culture in the World of Adam de la Halle (Leiden: Brill, 2019), and has published articles in the Journal of the Royal Musical Association, Viator, Musica Disciplina, the Journal of the American Musicological Society (2017 and 2019), and in numerous interdisciplinary collections of essays.

Saltzstein has served the American Musicological Society as a member of the Council, the Committee on Honorary and Corresponding Members, and the Program Committee for the Annual Meeting (San Antonio, TX). She has received grants and awards from the Huntington Library Foundation, the International Machaut Society, the American Musicological Society, and the National Endowment for the Humanities, which awarded her both a summer stipend (2014) a year-long fellowship (2016–2017). In 2018, she was honored with the H. Colin Slim Award by the American Musicological Society for her article, “Rape and Repentance in Two Medieval Motets” (Journal of the American Musicological Society, 2017). She is currently writing a book on the relationship between medieval music and the environment.

Reaching Beyond the Academy: A Podcast Workshop Series

Over the past few years, interest in the public humanities has grown considerably as scholars have begun to recognize the importance of broadcasting academic research more widely. This workshop series focuses on the medium of the podcast for reaching beyond the academy and making humanities research accessible to the general community. Our workshop leaders will explore various facets of creating a podcast and discuss the unique challenges of disseminating research to public audiences. Each event will focus on different elements of podcast creation, including sound design, interviewing practices for audio formats, how to structure a podcast narrative, editing techniques, and more. Participants will gain hands-on experience and practical knowledge with how to approach this burgeoning movement of public-facing research. All workshops will be open to the public. **Sponsored by the Central New York Humanities Corridor from an award by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation**

23 February 2021, 3-4:30pm EST
Sound Expertise: Eddie Davis (University of New Haven), Will Robin (University of Maryland)

15 March 2021, 2-3:30pm EST – Event rescheduled (original date 3/8/21)
Wayne Marshall (, Berklee School of Music)

22 March 2021, 3-4:30pm EST
Eric Hung (The Music of Asian America Research Center)

16 April 2021, 1-2:30pm EST – Event rescheduled (original date 4/9/21)
Switched on Pop: Nate Sloan (University of Southern California) and Charlie Harding (composer at large)

For zoom information please RSVP to Darren Mueller,

MUY Symposium Speakers Fall 2020

29 October 2020

Ashon Crawley, University of Virginia
“I am the architect!” On Little Richard and Blackqueer Grief

Virtual Presentation Zoom ID: 976 5623 3466

Ashon Crawley

This talk is about blackqueer life and its relation to blackpentecostal anaesthetics as an ongoing audiovisual, choreosonic, choreovisual arts practice. Discussing the grief that emerges when one attempts a blackqueer practice of relationality, I will also consider the ways grief is evidence of having lived a life of deep introspection and love and joy, against a world that would attempt to extinguish blackqueer movement and verve. Focusing on Little Richard, this talk argues that what should be gleaned from his life is more than a merely aesthetic practice but a reworking and reconfiguration of who it is we think we are and can be.

19 November 2020
Annual AMS/SEM Round-Up
4:30 pm – Virtual Meeting