Graduate Students in Musicology at Eastman

PhD Students, by Entrance Year

entered 2017

Stephen Johnson comes to Eastman with a B.M. in Music Education and an M.A. in Musicology from Indiana University. His research interests center on music, identity, and international politics, particularly North Korean propaganda from the 1970s to the present. He is also active in public musicology and has developed award-winning musical web series, both independently and in partnership with musical institutions around the country. He is a recipient of the Sproull Fellowship.

Anthony LaLena holds a B.M. from The State University of New York at Fredonia and a M.M. from the Manhattan School of Music in classical guitar performance. He is currently enrolled in both the D.M.A. and Ph.D. programs at the Eastman School of Music. His research interests include music and politics in early 20th century Spain, the aesthetics of fascism, and negotiations of national identity through music. As an active guitarist and chamber musician he has performed at home in New York as well as in France, Spain and Germany.

Pallas Catenella Riedler received her B.A. in Music and English Literature from Wellesley College, where she completed a thesis on sea shanties in Western art music entitled Piratical Debauchery, Homesick Sailors, and Nautical Rhythms. Aside from maritime music, her research interests include musical manipulations of perceptual experience, imagined sound, and the intersection between music and poetry. She currently holds the Anne Louise Barrett Fellowship in Musicology from Wellesley College.

Suraj Saifullah earned a B.A. in Music (with a concentration in Theory) and a B.S. in Chemistry from Case Western Reserve University. While at CWRU, he completed his undergraduate thesis on multimedia metaphor, Nature, Technology, and Metaphor in Björk’s Biophilia (2011) and Vulnicura (2015). In addition to music in multimedia, his research interests include constructions of celebrity identity within and outside of contemporary popular music.

entered 2016

Trevor Nelson comes to Eastman with an M.A. in Musicology and Interdisciplinary Graduate Specialization in Women’s and Gender Studies from Michigan State University, and a B.M. in Instrumental Music Education from Appalachian State University. At MSU, he penned his thesis, The Dissident Dame: Alternative Feminist Methodologies and the Music of Ethel Smyth, which explored and proposed unconventional ways of understanding music associated with women’s suffrage movements. In addition to feminist political campaigns, he is interested in queer studies, as well as bodies in colonial spaces. Trevor is an active and passionate teacher, having won pedagogy awards at both Appalachian and MSU. His doctoral studies are supported by a Sproull Fellowship.

Dani Osterman completed a B.S. in Math and a B.A. in Music at The Ohio State University.  Her interests include Russian liturgical music from antiquity to the late 18th c. and looking at American musical theater as a taste-making agent with a specific interest towards the medium’s interaction with the historical eras and events depicted.

entered 2015

Stephen Armstrong completed his master’s degrees in musicology and piano performance at Michigan State University, where he submitted a thesis on the historiography of Franz Liszt’s piano music. A chapter of his thesis is forthcoming (2015) in the Journal of the American Liszt Society. He has presented papers at AMS chapter meetings, the North American Conference on Nineteenth-Century Music, the North American Conference on Video Game Music, and at the “Music, Narrative, and the Moving Image” conference held by the International Association for Word and Music Studies. An avid pianist and rock keyboardist, he has performed throughout his native Michigan and in Italy. His research interests include virtuosity, mysticism, and music and literature studies. He holds a Sproull Fellowship.

Mary McArthur completed her B.M., magna cum laude, with majors in Piano Performance and in Philosophy at Furman University. Her research interests include exploring intersections between philosophy and music, particularly German instrumental music of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Mary is pursuing concurrently a Ph.D. in Musicology and an M.A. in Ethnomusicology.

Jane Sylvester completed her B.M. in Saxophone Performance and a B.M. in Music Education with High Honors at Michigan State University. Inspired by her sixteen years as a saxophonist, Jane is fascinated by issues concerning the performative body.

entered 2014

Gabrielle Cornish completed a B.A. with majors in Music and Russian Studies at the University of Rochester. Following her undergraduate degree, she spent a year living in Russia as a Fulbright Scholar. Her research interests include music and politics in the Soviet Union, Russian cinema and sound, and protest music in post-Soviet society.

Austin Richey received an M.A. in Ethnomusicology from Eastman School of Music in 2014. His research interests include diasporic and transnational musics, with a particular focus on the emergent Zimbabwean diaspora. Austin is active as a performer and is a member of Eastman’s Gamelan Lila Muni and the Serevende Mbira Ensemble.

entered 2013

Alexis VanZalen is a candidate for the Ph.D. in musicology at the Eastman School of Music of the University of Rochester. Alexis has long been interested in historical keyboard music, both as a scholar and performer, and she has completed Bachelors degrees in history and organ performance from Lawrence University and Masters degrees in musicology and early music performance from Eastman. She has presented her work on topics ranging from Hildegard to Buxtehude, Lully, and Nivers at several leading conferences in her field, including those hosted by the American Musicological Society, the Institute de Recherche en Musicologie, the Society for Christian Scholarship in Music, the Society for Seventeenth-Century Music, and the Westfield Center for Historical Keyboard Studies. Grants from the Presser Foundation and Eastman’s Elsa T. Johnson fellowship have supported Alexis’s dissertation, which is titled “Beyond Registration; Timbral Variety and the Rhetoric of Attention in French Baroque Organ Music.” Here Alexis explores the influence of the French Catholic Reformation, as well as contemporary rhetorical and sensory theories, on the compositions of Guillaume-Gabriel Nivers and other late seventeenth-century organists.

entered 2012

Gail Lowther completed an MM in Music History and an MM in Music Education at Bowling Green State University. Her current research interests include twentieth-century French music and opera.

entered 2011

John Green completed a BM in Saxophone Performance from SUNY Fredonia and enters Eastman with the Fehn award to support his doctoral studies.  His current research focus includes John Cage and twentith-century American music.

entered 2006

Naomi Gregory completed the BA and MPhil at Cambridge University. She is a double-degree student, PhD in Musicology and DMA in organ, and she is a Sproull Fellow. In 2008 she received one of Eastman’s teaching assistant awards.[return to top]

MA Students in Musicology

entered 2017

Rachel Neece completed her BM and MM degrees in classical guitar performance at the Eastman School of Music. She furthered her studies at the Conservatorio della Svizzera Italiana with Lorenzo Micheli in Lugano, Switzerland. Her research interests include early music and religion in Italy.

MA Students in Ethnomusicology


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