Lisa Jakelski of Eastman School of Music Wins Polish Studies Prize

December 1, 2015

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For Media Only: Helene Snihur (585-274-1057,

Lisa Jakelski, Assistant Professor of Musicology at the Eastman School of Music, has been named a recipient of the Polish Studies Association’s 2015 Aquila Prize for the best English-language article in Polish studies. She is one of three humanities scholars to receive the award, which was announced during the Association for Slavic, Eurasian, and Eastman European Studies’s national convention Nov. 19-22 in Philadelphia. 

Jakelski’s winning article, titled “Pushing Boundaries: Mobility at the Warsaw Autumn International Festival of Contemporary Music,” appeared in the February 2015 issue of East European Politics and Societies. Jakelski examined how the festival fostered international contacts among socialist state institutions, resulting in carefully curated performances, as well as informal personal ties that helped circulate musical modernism throughout the socialist bloc during the 1960s. The awards committee noted that her work not only showed music as a way to discuss barriers and borders during the Cold War, but was relevant to those working beyond the field of Polish studies. 

A member of the Eastman faculty since 2009, Jakelski researches the intersections between musical expression and social and political practices in 20th and 21st-century composition, with an emphasis on music post-1945. Her work touches on issues such as cultural diplomacy during the Cold War, the history and reception of the postwar European avant-garde, and socialism and the arts.  

Jakelski’s work has appeared in the Journal of Musicology and twentieth-century music, and she has presented papers at conferences throughout North America and Europe, including the annual meetings of the American Musicological Society and of the International Conference on Music Since 1900.  

A graduate of the University of Georgia, where she majored in music and in English and earned her bachelor’s degree, Jakelski received her master’s degree in the history and literature of music from the University of California, Berkeley, where she was awarded her PhD in 2009. At Berkeley, she received numerous honors and awards for her work, including a Townsend Fellowship at the Doreen B. Townsend Center for the Humanities and a Chancellor’s Dissertation-Year Fellowship.  

At Eastman, Jakelski teaches graduate and undergraduate courses on music in East-Central Europe, music and politics, music and the Cold War, and music since 1900.


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