MA/PhD in Theory
Kiyomi Kimura Andoh
Benjamin Baker is a third-year Ph.D. student and Sproull Fellow in music theory. He holds a B.A. in music and mathematics from St. Olaf College (2009) and a M.M. in jazz piano performance from NYU (2011). Ben’s research focuses primarily on improvisation, including the development and modeling of improvisational fluency, the role of improvisation in jazz and popular music, and related issues of embodiment and flow. He also studies mathematical models of musical spaces. Ben has presented his work at the annual meetings of Music Theory Midwest and the Music Theory Society of the Mid-Atlantic. He also serves on the board of Music Theory Society of New York State, and the editorial staff of Intégral. He received Eastman’s TA Prize after his first year teaching in the undergraduate curriculum.
Prior to coming to Eastman, Ben worked for five years as a full-time freelance pianist in New York City. He remains active as a pianist, both in NYC and in Rochester. Outside of music, he enjoys running and following politics. He also recently completed a four-year term as the New York City representative on the St. Olaf College Alumni Board.
Alyssa Barna is a fourth-year Ph.D. candidate in music theory. She completed a MM in music theory at Indiana University (2014) and a BM in music theory and a BM in music education and clarinet performance from Ithaca College (2012), where she was a member of Pi Kappa Lambda. Her current research interests include the study of American popular music, specifically examining how contrast is defined and categorized in the analysis of form. Additionally, she is interested in the music of 20th and 21st century composers, and post-tonal analytical techniques. She has presented her research at the Music Theory Society of New York State, and the European Music Analysis Conference 9 (EuroMAC) in Strasbourg, France, as well as several conferences in the Midwest. At Eastman, Alyssa serves on the editorial staff of Intégral. Committed to pedagogy, she has enjoyed teaching a variety of written and aural skills courses covering fundamentals through post-tonal analysis. Alyssa currently serves as Visiting Instructor of Music Theory at Appalachian State University in Boone, NC.
Owen Belcher is a fifth-year PhD candidate in music theory. He received his BM from Furman University (summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Kappa Lambda) in 2011, and his MM from the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music in 2013. His research interests include analytical approaches to the music of J.S. Bach, 19th century German harmonic theories, and transformational theory. He has presented his research at conferences including the Music Theory Society of New York State, Music Theory Southeast, and the Rocky Mountain Society of Music Theory. His dissertation develops a framework for the interpretation of J.S. Bach’s cantatas. Outside of music, he enjoys playing chess, Ping-Pong, and rabidly supporting the Duke Blue Devils.
Sam Bivens is a final-year Ph.D. candidate in Music Theory currently on the music theory faculty at the Cleveland Institute of Music. Alongside his dissertation on form in Wagner’s Die Walküre, research interests include the music of the late-nineteenth century more generally, music theory pedagogy, and a nascent pet project addressing issues of data visualization in music theory.
During his time at Eastman, Sam received the Eastman-specific Teaching Assistant Prize for Excellence in Teaching; the University-of-Rochester–wide Edward Peck Curtis Award for Excellence in Teaching by a Graduate Student; and the prestigious Presser Graduate Music Award, which provided the means for a three-month trip to Bayreuth, Germany to perform archival dissertation research during the summer of 2016.
Outside of music theory, Sam is a private pilot and an avid reader currently stumbling his way through beginner’s Spanish.
Michael Blankenship is a sixth-year Ph.D. student in Music Theory and a Sproull Fellow. Before coming to Rochester, he received his B.A. in music from Grinnell College (2010), in beautiful Grinnell, Iowa, and spent the remainder of the year studying the early music of Penderecki as Grinnell’s Ninth Semester Music Fellow. His dissertation attempts to unravel the various structural relationships, common practices, and intersections of music and meaning in American rap music. Other research interests center on the grain of the voice, especially by examining form, song writing, and harmony in the magnificent diversity of American pop/rock music since 1950, as well as in art song since Beethoven. Beyond his academic interests, Michael is an avid culinarian, karaoke singer/rapper, and film watcher, as well as being an increasingly rabid supporter of Tottenham Hotspur Football Club.
Amy Fleming is a fifth-year Ph.D. student in music theory and a Sproull Fellow. Her primary research interests lie in the music of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, especially the music of George Crumb and post-tonal pedagogy. Amy holds a Master of Arts degree in Music Theory and History from The Pennsylvania State University, where she received the Creative Achievement Award from the College of Arts and Architecture and was elected to membership in Pi Kappa Lambda. She also holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Wheaton College (IL), where she graduated magna cum laude with a double major in Music Composition and Music History. While at Wheaton, Amy was commissioned to write a composition for the Wheaton College Women’s Chorale, and the resulting piece, “Plegaria a Dios,” was included on the Chorale’s most recent CD, “View Me Lord, A Work of Thine” (2009). This piece also won the Ellen Taaffe Zwilich Prize from the International Alliance for Women in Music in 2010. Amy’s non-musical interests include Philadelphia Flyers hockey, canoeing, tennis, and deep dish pizza.
Anna Fulton is a Ph.D. candidate in music theory at Eastman and a Sproull Fellow. Her dissertation, “Other Voices: listening to musical (dis)embodiment,” studies experimental vocal music from an embodiment-informed perspective. Her broader research interests include feminist theory, popular music, and sound studies. She holds an M.A. in music theory from Eastman (2015) and a B.A. in music and Russian studies from St. Olaf College (2012, summa cum laude). Anna is currently an instructor of music at St. Olaf, where she teaches undergraduate theory and aural skills classes. She also serves on the Society for Music Theory’s Committee on the Status of Women. When time allows, Anna enjoys running, reading about the Space Race, and exploring national parks.
Aaron Grant is a Ph.D. student in Music Theory and a Sproull Fellow. His dissertation engages issues of formal function, narrative, and style in Schubert’s sonata form. In it, Aaron explores Schubert’s treatment of secondary thematic areas and idiosyncratic formal practices used therein—focusing, in particular on his inclusion of three or more tonal areas within an exposition.
Aaron’s work has been presented at multiple regional, national, and international conferences including the Allegheny Chapter of the American Musicological Society (2010), the Music Theory Society of New York State (2013), the New England Conference of Music Theorists (2014), the 18th Biennial International Conference on Nineteenth-Century Music (2014), the Music Theory Society of the Mid-Atlantic (2014), the Society for Music Theory’s National Meeting (2015), and the inaugural music theory pedagogy conference, Pedagogy into Practice (2017). Aaron’s work on Schubert and Stravinsky have earned him multiple graduate student paper awards, most recently winning the 2015 Dorothy Payne Best Student Paper Award.
Prior to his studies at Eastman, Aaron graduated from The Pennsylvania State University with a B.M. in flute performance and an M.A. in music theory. His Master’s thesis examined Igor Stravinsky’s compositional process in his opera The Nightingale, which allowed him to travel to the Paul Sacher Stiftung in Basel, Switzerland to examine the composer’s sketch materials for the work. Aaron has continued to incorporate sketch studies into his work, recently traveling to Europe to examine manuscripts for Schubert’s instrumental works through a grant awarded by the Presser Foundation.
In addition to his work on Stravinsky and Schubert, his current research interests include Schenkerian analysis, popular music, opera analysis, and scale theories. In addition, his commitment to pedagogy earned him the Eastman School of Music Teaching Assistant Prize for Excellence in Teaching in 2016.
Outside of music theory, Aaron enjoys rock climbing, running, playing chess, cooking, candy making, and attempting to perfect the chocolate-chip cookie. For more information, please visit: www.aaronbgrant.com.
Trevor Haughton is a Ph.D. student in music theory at Eastman. Originally from New Jersey, Trevor graduated summa cum laude with high honors in both Music and History from Colgate University in 2007, and was also elected to Phi Beta Kappa. He earned his M.M. from the Boston University School of Music in 2010, where he was elected to Pi Kappa Lambda, before coming to Rochester. His diverse research interests include tonal theory, thoroughbass/improvisation, and mathematical modeling.
David Hier is a third-year PhD student in Music Theory. He holds a B.Mus in Composition and Theory and an M.Mus in Composition from McGill University in Montreal, Canada. His research interests include harmony and form in late romantic and early 20th century music, particularly in the work of Max Reger and Arnold Schoenberg. David is also an active composer whose music has been played throughout North America. He came second in the 2012 Sejong Composition Competition and has been commissioned by McGill University and the Transmission Ensemble. In addition to music, David is a film buff, board game fiend and avid cook.
David Keep is a fourth-year Ph.D. candidate in music theory at the Eastman School of Music. He earned a Bachelor of Music degree in piano performance from Lawrence University and a Master of Music degree in piano performance from the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University. His research interests include Brahms, music of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, musical meaning, and the connections between analysis and performance. In addition to music, David’s interests include theology, hiking, and the artwork of J.M.W. Turner.
Daniel Ketter recently completed a DMA in Cello Performance and Literature at Eastman School of Music, and is currently a third-year PhD candidate in Music Theory. Since 2013 at Eastman he has been a classroom instructor for aural skills and music theory, and has served as teaching assistant for Alan Harris’s cello studio. His current research interests include analytical approaches to solo melodic instrumental music, essential voices in Schenkerian theory, and a collaboration with the Natural History of Song (https://www.naturalhistoryofsong.org/). Recent performance projects have included a lecture recital, titled “Heinrich Schenker, Author of J. S. Bach’s Solo Cello Suites,” co-director and cellist for Sunset Concerts of Rochester, NY, and co-director and cellist for a new music initiative called Music in the American Wild (www.musicintheamericanwild.com). The American Wild Ensemble recently recorded a two-hour album of eleven original works commissioned and performed for a national tour with support from the National Endowment for the Arts for the centennial of the National Park Service in 2016, which will be released in February 2018 in partnership with ArtistShare. He has a MM in cello performance and pedagogy from the Peabody Conservatory and graduated with high distinction from both the Eastman School of Music (BM ’10, cello performance) and from the University of Rochester (BA ’10, mathematics).
Catrina Kim is a fifth-year Ph.D. student in music theory and a Sproull Fellow. She holds the B.M. in Piano Performance from the University of Houston (2013, summa cum laude) and the M.A. in Music Theory from Eastman (2016). She has presented papers on formal and aesthetic issues raised in works by Beethoven and Mendelssohn at the annual meetings of the Society for Music Theory (2015 & 2016), the Music Theory Society of New York State (2016), the New England Conference of Music Theorists (2016), and the Texas Society for Music Theory (2013). She currently serves as co-editor of Intégral (Vol. 32).
Braden Maxwell is a second-year Ph.D. student in music theory. He holds a B.M. in music theory from the Eastman School of Music (Pi Kappa Lambda) and a B.A. in Brain and Cognitive Sciences from the School of Arts and Sciences at the University of Rochester (Phi Beta Kappa). Braden studied piano at Eastman with Tony Caramia, and previously with Lisa Simon.
Braden’s current research aims to depict contrapuntal and timbral variety in the music of Maurice Ravel. On the contrapuntal side, he is interested in understanding how individual contrapuntal elaborations in Ravel’s music gain meaning by contrasting with other elaborations that might have occurred instead. On the timbral side, he is interested in investigating whether computational models of neural responses in the auditory nerve and inferior colliculus can be used to depict the diversity of timbres and sonorities that are perceived in Ravel’s music. In both cases, the notion of variety is based on a semiotic understanding of meaning in music. Braden is also interested in understanding more broadly how sound is processed in the auditory midbrain and modeling the impact of this processing on the perception of music.
Braden has presented at meetings of the Music Theory Society of New York State (MTSNYS) and the Association for Research in Otolaryngology (ARO). He currently works for the Carney Lab and as a teaching assistant for theory and aural skills classes at Eastman, where he is continually blown away by the passion and dedication of the students who walk into his classroom.
Molly Murdock is a second-year music theory Ph.D. student. She holds degrees from Michigan State University, University of Virginia, University of Central Florida cum laude and a conducting diploma from the Kodály Institute of the Liszt Academy in Hungary. In 2016, Molly received Eastman’s Annual Teaching Assistant Prize.
Molly’s primary research is 20th-century Hungarian composers, Erzsébet Syőnyi and Béla Bartók. She has presented her research for the International Kodály Society and is preparing an English edition of Bartók’s Twenty-Seven Choruses for Women and Children.
Molly created and runs MusicTheoryExamplesbyWomen.com, a database of compositions by women. At Michigan State University, she created the Women in Music Lecture Series, an ongoing project to showcase extraordinary musical women.
She spent many years in the Washington, D.C. area as a choral director in Fairfax County Public Schools and is the Founding Music Director of Riverbend Opera.
Aside from music, Molly volunteers at the Susan B. Anthony Museum & House in Rochester, trains in jiu-jitsu, and is a part-time political activist.
Lissa Reed is a first-year PhD student and Provost’s Fellow in music theory. She previously earned a BM in music theory from Florida State University and a MA in music theory from Ohio State University, where she received the Outstanding Graduate Teaching Associate award for music theory. Her research interests include emotion and meaning in music; intersections between analysis and perception: how perception of music might change one’s analysis and how analysis might change one’s perception; 20th- and 21st-century art music; protest and political expression in music; and music theory pedagogy. She has presented research at the Society for Music Perception and Cognition (2017).
Sam Reenan is a third-year Ph.D. student in music theory. He holds the M.A. in music theory from Eastman (2018), and the B.M. in music theory and the B.S. in biological sciences from the University of Connecticut (2014). Current research interests include harmony and form in the modernist music of Mahler, Strauss, and Zemlinsky; pitch organization in French post-war music; and transformational analysis. Sam is co-author of a 2016 article exploring seventh-chord voice-leading transformations, published in Music Theory Online. He has presented spoken papers at the annual meeting of the Music Theory Society of New York State and the Ninth European Music Analysis Conference (EuroMAC IX). Sam is currently an editorial assistant with Music Theory Online as well as a co-editor of Intégral. Outside of music theory, Sam enjoys sampling local coffee roasters, hiking in the Adirondacks, and attending operas at the Met.
Alan Reese is a fifth-year Ph.D. candidate in music theory. He holds an M.M. from the University of Colorado at Boulder (2013) and a B.M. in piano performance and music theory from the University of Georgia (2011). Research interests include transformational theory, the study of 19th and early-20th century music, and the middle period compositions of Karol Szymanowski (the focus of his dissertation). Alan has presented work on Szymanowski and impressionist harmony at the Music Theory Society of New York State (April 2016, 2014) and the Rocky Mountain Chapter of the Society of Music Theory (April 2013). He currently serves as Reviews Editor for Intégral.
Joseph’s research interests include phrase rhythm and musical form in 18th- and early 19th-century music, music cognition and perception, and music theory pedagogy. Joseph has presented his music theoretical works at the meetings of the the European Music Analysis Conference (2017, 2014), the Canadian University Music Society (2017, 2016, 2014), the West Coast Conference of Music Theory and Analysis (2017), the South Central Society for Music Theory (2017, 2014), the Music Theory Society of New York State (2016), Music Theory Midwest (2016), and the Rocky Mountain Society for Music Theory (2014). Joseph was the recipient of the SOCAN Foundation/George Proctor Prize at the 2017 conference of the Canadian University Music Society and also the recipient of the Best Student Paper Award at the 2014 conference of the South Central Society for Music Theory.
As an interdisciplinary researcher, Joseph has collaborated with faculty and students from the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, the Department of Biomedical Engineering, and the Department of Linguistics at the University of Rochester on projects funded by the UR Provost’s Multidisciplinary Award (2012-2013) and other projects. In summer 2016, Joseph was awarded an all-inclusive travel award sponsored by the National Science Foundation to present at the International Conference on Mobile Brain-Body Imaging and the Neuroscience of Art, Innovation, and Creativity in Cancun, Mexico. In the same summer, Joseph was selected as a Music Fellow by the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University to participate and to give a public TED-style talk at the 3rd International “Exploring the Mind through Music” Conference. In addition, Joseph has also presented his music cognition research at the Society for Music Perception and Cognition (2015, 2013), the Center for Research on Brain, Language and Music (2013), the New England Conference of Music Theorists (2013), and the Northeast Music Cognition Group (2012). Joseph served as the manager for the Eastman Music Cognition Lab from 2012-2014, and his co-authored article “Multiple Perspectives on Art-Science Collaborations” was published by the SciArt Magazine in June 2017.
A dedicated pedagogue, Joseph taught graduate and undergraduate courses in music theory at Eastman as a Teaching Assistant (2011-2016) and as a Summer Session Faculty (2016-2017). To recognize Joseph’s effective teaching, the Eastman School of Music awarded him the Teaching Assistant Prize for Excellence in Teaching in 2015. Currently, Joseph is on the faculty at the University of Maryland Baltimore County teaching theory and keyboard skills, he also serves as the academic advisor for the Department of Music there.
Eron Smith (IPA [iɹən]) is a second-year Ph.D. student and a Sproull Fellow in music theory. Originally from Decatur, Georgia, she graduated in 2016 from Pomona College (B.A. in music, cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa).
James Sullivan is currently ABD and working on a dissertation on meter perception in post-tonal music. He lives in Evansville, IN, where he is Assistant Professor of Music Theory and Double Bass at the University of Evansville. He holds a D.M.A. and M.M. in double bass performance from the Eastman School of Music, as well as a B.M. in double bass performance and a B.S. in mathematics from Indiana University.
James is especially passionate about teaching. He has received the University of Rochester’s Edward Peck Curtis Award for Excellence in Teaching and Eastman’s Teaching Assistant Prize. He has presented at numerous conferences, including those of the Society for Music Theory, the Society for Music Perception and Cognition, and the International Society of Bassists. James’s performance interests center around new music. He is currently revising his Post-Tonal Method Book for the Double Bass, which won Eastman’s Lecture Recital Prize.
Joseph VanderStel is a graduate student in music theory by day, freelance guitarist and web developer by night. As a theorist, he draws inspiration from questions related to cognition, style, and improvisation, with a focus on jazz and American popular music. As a developer, he is partnering with local entrepreneurs to build an online platform for music theory learning, and has designed several web-based tools for music teachers. Joseph is also an instructor in Eastman’s Institute for Music Leadership, where he offers a course on web design. Get in touch: email@example.com
A dedicated researcher, performer, and pedagogue, Stephanie Venturino is currently a first-year Ph.D. student in music theory at the Eastman School of Music. She recently graduated from Eastman with a B.M. degree—awarded with highest honors—in saxophone performance and music theory and a minor in German language studies; she is also a recipient of Eastman’s coveted Performer’s Certificate, an award given for outstanding jury and recital performance. Other honors include grants from the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD) and the Mildred R. Burton Fund (University of Rochester), as well as election to Pi Kappa Lambda. Her research interests include contemporary French composition, German harmonic theory, computational analysis, and music theory pedagogy. She teaches theory and aural skills at the Eastman Community Music School and for Summer@Eastman’s Music Horizons program.
As a saxophonist, Stephanie is an active ensemble musician, chamber musician, and soloist. She is a member of the Eastman Saxophone Project and has frequently played with the Eastman Wind Ensemble, Eastman Wind Orchestra, and Musica Nova. Stephanie has garnered prizes in numerous competitions, including the national WDAV Young Chamber Musicians Competition (with Farrago 4 Saxophone Quartet), the MTNA New York State Chamber Music Competition (with Highland Saxophone Quartet), the Rochester Philharmonic League’s Young Artists Auditions, the David Hochstein Recital Competition, the Virtuosi Woodwind Competition, the MTNA Eastern Division Senior Woodwind Competition, the Jo Amish Young Artists Competition, and the Syracuse Friends of Chamber Music Competition (with Volo Saxophone Quartet). She made her solo debut at the age of 16 with the Penfield Symphony Orchestra and has played at prestigious venues such as the Kennedy Center (Washington, D.C) and the National Centre for the Performing Arts (Beijing, China). Her primary teachers include Douglas O’Connor and Chien-Kwan Lin.
Lauren Wilson is beginning her first year as a Ph.D. student in music theory at Eastman after completing an M.M. degree in music theory at Indiana University and a B.M. in guitar performance at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan. She focuses much of her research on 20th and 21st century music, and has presented work on instrumentation and musical structure in the music of Milton Babbitt at Music Theory Midwest. Recently, her research has centered on questions of timbre, texture, philosophy, and phenomenology, particularly in the context of electroacoustic music. Lauren finds it particularly exciting to study music that she can also play, and has enjoyed remaining an active guitarist in the process.
As a teacher, she strives to equip her students to engage critically with music, and she jumps at the chance to learn from them, as well. In addition to music, Lauren loves outdoor activities including running, hiking, and traveling. She also enjoys reading poetry, listening to heavy metal, and petting her cat, Florence.
MA in Theory Pedagogy
Myles Boothroyd is a performing artist dedicated to promoting the versatility of the saxophone and its relevance to music both new and old. He is the alto saxophonist for East End Quartet, an award-winning ensemble founded at the Eastman School of Music. Most recently, the ensemble took first price in the 30th Annual Chamber Music Yellow Springs Competition (2015). Boothroyd’s work as a soloist and chamber musician has garnered him numerous accolades and awards across the United States. He won the 2014-15 Music Teachers National Association (MNTA) Young Artist and chamber Competitions, earned first prize in the 2014 North American Saxophone Alliance Collegiate Solo Competition, and took second place in the 2014 Vandoren Emerging Artist Classical Saxophone Competition.
Along with maintaining an active performing career, Boothroyd distinguishes himself as both an artist and a scholar. He is a Presser Scholar and National Merit Finalist who has shared original research at conferences in Cincinnati, Lansing, Honolulu, Chicago, and Montreal. He has published original research on Miles Davis and the inception of modal jazz, exploring the influence of composer George Russell on Davis’s Kind of Blue album. Today, Boothroyd works as assistant editor for The Saxophone Symposium, a scholarly, peer-reviewed journal of saxophone literature, performance, and pedagogy.
Boothroyd currently teaches as Adjunct Professor of Saxophone at Roberts Wesleyan College. He is also a graduate teaching assistant at the Eastman School of Music, where he is pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts degree (Saxophone Performance and Literature) and a Master of Arts degree (Music Theory Pedagogy). He holds a Master’s degree in Saxophone Performance and Literature from the Eastman School. Boothroyd is a recipient of the Eastman Arts Leadership Certificate and Eastman Performer’s Certificate.
Ryan McKenna is a second year MA Theory Pedagogy student. He holds a B.M. in Music Education from Ithaca College. His major instruments of study were piano and trumpet. After graduating from Ithaca he taught for three years in Clewiston, Florida. He taught K-5 general music for one year and Middle School Band for two years. He looks forward to combining his passions for music theory and education in an effort to help young musicians develop a more meaningful relationship with music.
BM in Theory
Born in Singapore, Jon Lin has been named the Presser Scholar (a prestigious honor bestowed by the Presser Foundation) for the year 2016-17 of the Eastman School of Music, where she is a double major in composition and music theory. She is also a recipient of the Louis Lane Award (2016) and the Bernard Rogers Memorial Prize (2015), in recognition of her excellence in composition. Her teachers in composition include composers Oliver Schneller, Ricardo Zohn-Muldoon, Robert Morris, David Liptak, and Robert Casteels, and she has also participated in a composition masterclass with Moritz Eggert. Jon Lin is also a recipient of the National Arts Council of Singapore Arts Scholarship (Undergraduate).
As a composer, she has worked with groups such as the MusicaNova Orchestra based in Phoenix, Arizona, as the orchestra’s composition fellow for the 2015-2016 season. Other groups she has worked with include the Southeastern Ensemble for Today’s and Tomorrow’s Sounds (SETTS), the Singapore Chinese Orchestra, the Guitar Ensemble of the National University of Singapore, the Zen Ensemble, and has premiered works in festivals such as the National University of Singapore Arts Festival (2012), and the Women in Music Festival (2014). Jon Lin was also invited to presented her paper A Collapse of Musical Categories?: A Closer Look at Ethnic Chinese Music within the Chinese Conservatory Tradition Today at the Composition in Asia International Symposium and Festival held in the University of Florida (2015). Prior to pursuing her degree in music, Jon Lin obtained a B.A. (Hons) in philosophy from the National University of Singapore.