Musicologist Michael Alan Anderson Receives National Award

November 20, 2014

Michael Alan Anderson, associate professor of musicology at the Eastman School of Music, has, for the second time in three years, been named a winner of the ASCAP Deems Taylor/Virgil Thomson Award. 

The Deems Taylor/Virgil Thomson Awards are presented annually by the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP) to authors and journalists for outstanding print, broadcast, and new media coverage of music. This year, Anderson was recognized for his article “The One Who Comes After Me: John the Baptist, Christian Time, and Symbolic Musical Techniques.” This article appeared in the Fall 2013 issue of the Journal of the American Musicological Society (JAMS), the flagship journal of the field of musicology.  

In his award-winning article Anderson explores a set of cases in music that shows how the precursor of Jesus—John the Baptist—was ingeniously represented in musical works from the 14th through the 16th century. He demonstrates how John the Baptist inspired late medieval and Renaissance composers as part of a culture of symbolic representation in music. For example, the relationship of John the Baptist (the forerunner saint) and Jesus was reflected in art of canon at this period, with its “leader” and “follower” voice.  

Anderson, who joined the Eastman faculty in 2008, specializes in sacred music of the Middle Ages and Renaissance periods. In addition to Journal of the American Musicological Society, Anderson’s articles have appeared in the Early Music History, Plainsong and Medieval Music, and Studi musicali. He is also the author of the forthcoming book The Singing Irish: A History of the Notre Dame Glee Club (University of Notre Dame Press, 2015). He serves on the editorial boards for American Choral Review, the semiannual journal of the organization Chorus America, and for the W.W. Norton textbooks The History of Western Music, 9th edition (ed. Burkholder) and Concise History of Western Music, 5th edition (ed. Hanning). 

Several other members of the Eastman faculty have been previous recipients of ASCAP Deems Taylor/Virgil Thomson Award. They include Samuel Adler, professor emeritus of composition; David Headlam, associate professor of theory; Donald Hunsberger, professor emeritus of conducting and ensembles; Ellen Koskoff, professor of ethnomusicology; Kim Kowalke, professor of musicology; Ralph Locke, professor of musicology; Jürgen Thym, professor emeritus of musicology; and Robert Wason, professor emeritus of music theory. 

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