HARVARD UNIVERSITY DEPARTMENT OF MUSIC

NEWSLETTER SUMMER 2001 Vol. 1 no. 2

 

I N S I D E

Music and Ritual in South India
Music and the Aesthetics of Modernity Conference
Web-based Ear Training
Ying String Quartet
Richard M. French 1915-2001
Kao and Burgoyne Receive Hoopes
Adams Directs RISM
Kao: Music and Medicine
Brinkmann Wins 2001 Ernst von Siemens Music Award
Faculty News
Staff News
Alumnae News
Graduate News
Undergradute News

Music and Ritual in South India

Richard Wolf's Indian Studies

In Madras, India, in a bustling knot of streets called Mylapore, vendors sell rubber sandals, bangles, fruit, and vegetables to those who come to visit the area's most famous Hindu temple. Amidst the din and dust is a narrow side alley, home to three or four musical shops, among them, that of C.M. Sambandam. His shop is tiny-8-ft. by 10-ft.-and packed with stringed instruments, vinas and tamburas in every stage of repair. Visitors leave their shoes outside on the steps. Incense smolders under the framed images of local deities, their foreheads smudged with red powder.

To test an instrument in Sambandam's shop, a prospective buyer might close the rattling metal door to shut out street noise. There, in the dark, you can hear the distinctive sound quality of each instrument.

Assistant Professor of Music Richard Wolf has been to visit C.M. Sambandam before. This time, he went hoping to pick up a few instruments for the Music Department to add to its world music collection. He's using the instruments in his classes at Harvard: in his course, Classical Music of South India, for example, students learn to play the mridangam drum and the vina.

It was an overnight train ride to the field site where Wolf had done doctoral research - the Nilgiri Hills in South India. He was hoping to collect more data for a book he's writing about music and ritual and their relationship to time. Questions about large-scale time structures led him back to this part of the world for an ethnographic project that takes account of local Indian calendars, agricultural cycles, and the Western calendar.

 


He'd come to talk with members of a modern peasant tribe called the Kota, who live in a small village nestled in Ketti valley. Wolf was looking forward to a spate of quiet research and interviews in this beautiful and quiet location. But he'd arrived in the middle of religious observances.
"The music begins at sunset," Wolf recounts. "Male Kota drummers and shawm players set the tempo for the dancers, wrapped in white cotton waistcloths and embroidered upper body wraps, who perform around them in a circle."

Wolf donned a waistcloth and shawl and joined in, dancing until early in the morning. After only a few hours' sleep, he woke to the commotion of the festival taking place outside the wattle-and-daub walls of his 7-ft.x7-ft. room.

Says Wolf: "It's important to me to show my commitment, joining in even if I am tired or cold. It's also an appropriate means for demonstrating affection and comradarie."

Wolf's research goes deep into local rituals to study changes in Kota representations of time: "There have been environmental changes over the last 100 years like deforestation, widespread cultivation of tea, a huge influx of people, and pollution. These things affect the seasonal calendar, in that people eat different things now, are no longer at the subsistance level, and agriculture as a basis of understanding the passing of time is not the same as it was. I'm trying to see how this effects the way rituals are scheduled. I'm interested in the ways in which people move between flexible and fixed representations of time, which you can find in both music and in the calendar."


Music and the Aesthetics of Modernity Conference, November 9-11

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 9

Karol Berger: Time's Arrow and the Advent of Musical Modernity
Lydia Goehr: The Double Take: on Music, Dissonance, and Humor
Charles Rosen: Berg's Kammerkonzert: Uniform Mapping of the Chromatic Space
Leo Treitler: "Vom Pfeifen und alten Dampfmaschinen," Kurt Schwitters, Virgil Thomson, A Reply to Milan Kundera, and My Galoshes: Reflections on Modernity
Martin Warnke: Graphic Warfare
David Lewin: Some Theoretical Thoughts about Aspects of Harmony in Mahler's Symphonies
Karen Painter: Beyond the Bourgeoisie

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 10

Henri Zerner: A propos of Bufon's Discours du style
Horst Bredekamp: Iconography of Chance
Hermann Danuser: The Textualization of the Context: Comic Strategies in Meta-Operas of the 18th and 20th Centuries
Scott Burnham: On the Beautiful in Mozart
Klaus Kropfinger: Modernity and the Dialectics of Artistic Freedom
Anne Shreffler: Ideologies of Serialism: Political Implications of Modernist Music, 1945-1965
Hans-Ulrich Gumbrecht: Music, A Non-hermeneutic Art?
Judith Ryan: Schoenberg's Byron: the "Ode to Napoleon," the Antinomies of Modernism, and the Problem of German Imperialism

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 11

Peter Burgard: Of Aprons, Buses, and Bridges: Kafka's Judgment
Anton Kaes: Avant-Garde and Agitprop in Film Music: Eisler's Collaboration with Brecht
Anthony Newcomb: The Anxiety of Allusion
Carolyn Abbate: Modernist Dishonor

This conference is dedicated to Reinhold Brinkmann.

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Web-Based CAI: a New Ear-Training Resource

The Harvard Music Department has begun tapping the resources of the FAS computer network in its music theory curriculum by providing an ear-training facility on the web. The Earlab Website--the first of its kind in the department--is a resource that provides ear-training drills to students at all levels of musical proficiency.

The resource is web-based, so any student with a web-browser and a connection to the FAS network can use the site and its programs, regardless of their computer platform (Mac or PC). And because the software was designed and written specifically to complement Harvard's music theory curriculum, the drills and exercises reinforce that course work better than any commercially available software.

The site was conceived and created by Ed Gollin, Preceptor in Music at Harvard. It became clear that the ear training exercises undertaken in Music A, the department's basic musicianship course, needed daily reinforcement to be of maximum benefit. The website provides a partner and drill instructor to any student, 24 hours a day, allowing them to maximize their classroom instruction at home.

The site will soon be integrated into other music courses, and will feature exercises aimed at non-music concentators: students in the rudiments courses as well as others in the Harvard community interested in improving their musical skills.

Interested in exploring the site? Visit http://www.courses.fas.harvard.edu/~earlab/index.html. An additional tutorial is available at http://www.courses.fas.harvard.edu/~earlab/tutorial/index.html

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Ying String Quartet Named Blodgett Artist-in-Residence

From the world's most prestigious stages to the rural farm towns of America, the Ying Quartet has earned recognition for both its brilliant concert performances and its enterprising promotion of chamber music's larger role in society. Winners of the 1993 Naumburg Chamber Music Award, Quartet-in-Residence at the Eastman School of Music since 1996, and creators of LifeMusic, we are pleased to have the Yings join the Music Department as Blodgett Artists-in-Residence for 2001-2002. The Yings replace the Avalon String Quartet, who are undergoing personnel changes.


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Richard F. French, Musicologist
1915-2001

The music community is saddened by the loss of Richard French S.B. '37 and A.M. '39. French initiated the first endowed professorship in the U.S. in the field of music librarianship--the Richard. F. French Librarianship Chair--at Loeb Music Library in 1988. Assistant Professor of Music at Harvard from 1947 to 1951, French retired from the Yale faculty in 1985, where he received two of its highest honors: the Samuel Simons Sanford Medal (1991) and the Gustave Jacob Stoeckel Award (1999). Memorial services will be held this fall on both the Yale campus and at the Juilliard School.

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Kao and Burgoyne Named 2001 Hoopes Prize Winners

Seventy-three undergraduates have won the Thomas T. Hoopes Prize for outstanding scholarly work or research. The prize is funded by the estate of Thomas T. Hoopes '19. Recipients from the Music Department are John Ashley Burgoyne ("Cinderella Stories. Vladimir Propp and the Analysis of Opera") and Grace Kao ("Performance Pitch of Sixteenth Century English Sacred Music: An Interdisciplinary Approach").

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Sarah Adams Directs RISM

Dr. Sarah Adams, Keeper of the Isham Memorial Library in Loeb Music Library, was appointed Director of the U.S. Office of Répertoire International des Sources Musicales (RISM) in July 2000. RISM is an international inventory of musical sources, dedicated to identifying, cataloging, and describing sources of music and writings about music from the earliest times through about 1850.

Housed in the Loeb Music Library, the U.S. RISM Office was first moved to the Harvard College Library from the Library of Congress in 1977. The U.S. Office is charged with receiving data from U.S. libraries and archives, updating the RISM database, and supplying information to the international RISM office.

The major project of the Office since 1985 has been RISM Series A/II, Music Manuscripts, 1600-1800, the largest RISM project to date. Dr. Adams will complete the transition of the Office from the principally production-based facility it was under the NEH-sponsored work on Series A/II to a service facility that assists U.S. librarians and archivists in reporting and cataloging materials relevant to the RISM resources.

Adams has identified her immediate goals: "I have two key projects right now: I am looking to mount a website linked to the main RISM site where librarians can submit new data, and I will begin collaborating with the Yale Music Library for the cataloging of Yale's music manuscripts, which have to date not been included in the RISM database."


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Grace Kao '01: Practicing Music and Medicine

Grace Kao graduated with a joint concentration in chemistry and music. She'll be spending a year in Taiwan before going on to medical school. Grace Kao graduated with a joint concentration in chemistry and music. She'll be spending a year in Taiwan before going on to medical school.

Your commitment to music must be strong to earn a joint concentration with chemistry. How do the two work together?

I'm not sure if chemistry itself really works together with music, but science and a quantitative approach to things in general is very useful. My thesis was sort of an interdisciplinary approach to a musical problem--I was using medical, anthropological, and statistical data to determine the performance pitch of 16th-century English sacred music. Also, I often use science/math analogies when I'm conducting, like "No, I want an exponential crescendo there," or "This should have an periodic feel to it, like a sine wave." The orchestra usually finds it really funny, but it works!

Tell me about volunteering in Taiwan--what does the next year hold for you?

I'll be volunteering for the Tzu-Chi Compassionate Relief Foundation. It's a group, sort of like the Red Cross, that sends medical teams to help at international disasters, builds hospitals, spreads awareness on public health, and tries to improve the spiritual well-being of people all over the world. I will be working at the main hospital in Hualien, on the eastern coast of Taiwan. I will also be doing some public health work, teaching English and possibly music, and hopefully organizing a music group of some sort. And, I'll be applying to medical schools.

How do you see music fitting in with your life at medical school?

I'm not sure yet how medical school and music will work together. At the very least, I hope to be a doctor during the day and a musician by night. I'd like to find a nice church choir and maybe a community orchestra to conduct or play in. I'm also interested in using medicine to benefit musicians--many people have sustained injuries as a result of their playing and perhaps I could do something with that. Or, I could specialize in treating musicians, since they value their hands and voices in a different sort of way from most. I'm also interested in learning more about how the voice works and other physiological aspects of music production. As part of my thesis I was studying the changes in vocal production from the 1400s to the present (changes in larynx size, etc). I would really enjoy some sort of interdisciplinary research, or medical research aimed to benefit musicians, but I guess I will wait to see how this all fits together for me. No matter what, it's bound to be interesting.

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Brinkmann Receives Ernst von Siemens
Foundation 2001 Music Award

"In all highly evolved cultures," write the directors of Ernst von Siemens Foundation, "thinking, talking and writing about music and coming to terms with it analytically have a significance inseparable from the actual invention of music itself. In Reinhold Brinkmann, the Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation has singled out a figure whose areas of interest range from the Middle Ages to the present day. But in order to understand and recognize music in such all-embracing terms one has to have supreme musicality, intelligence, and an unrelenting passion for great works of art and their history--all qualities that distinguish this year's Siemens laureate."

In the late 1960s Brinkmann, along with Carl Dahlhaus and Rudolf Stephan, was a leading force in the reinterpretation and revaluation of modern music, a field previously ostracized by scholars. The von Siemens Foundation found Brinkmann's contribution noteworthy for five reasons: the penetration of his musical analyses, which still set standards today; his interpretation of modern art in light of the modernization of society; his co-establishment of music in exile as a field of research; his open-mindedness toward avant-garde music divorced from roots in tradition; and finally, his study of German romanticism to reconstruct the early history of musical modernism.

The Ernst von Siemens Music Prize rewards the work of both music scholars and performers in the way the Nobel Prize does for science or literature; the award lauds achievement apart from its commercial potential. Past laureates include Benjamin Britten, Pierre Boulez, Elliott Carter, Yehudi Menuhin, Leonard Bernstein, Luciano Berio and Gyorgy Ligeti.


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Faculty News

Professor Ingrid T. Monson, formerly Associate Professor of Music at Washington University, has been named the first Quincy Jones Professor of African American Music at Harvard University, a tenured chair. This is the first time a corporation (Time Warner Inc.) has ever funded a permanent professorship in African American studies at an American university. And it is the first time since Eileen Southern's retirement in 1986 that there will be a permanent, full-time joint professor of music and African American Studies.

Professor Monson won the Sonneck Society's 1998 Irving Lowens Prize for the best book in American music for her 1996 Saying Something, Jazz Improvisation and Interaction. She was also a founding member of the nationally known Klezmer Conservatory Band, and has many years of experience playing trumpet with jazz and salsa bands. Prof. Monson will begin teaching in the spring semester of 2002.

Professor of Music Emeritus Donald Martino celebrated his 70th birthday with a series of two Fromm Players concerts, February 16 and March 16th. Martino's seminal Triple Concerto (1977) was given two performances.

Given Martino's early career as a jazz clarinetist, it wasn't hard to spot the threads of autobiography running through the piece--that is, in the sense of its being "about" everything the composer has learned, dreamed, thought, or taught with respect to the instrument.

--Boston Globe

Mario Davidovsky's Fifth Quartet was premiered by the Mendelssohn String Quartet at the 92nd Street Y in January. Writes The New York Times: "Mr. Davidovsky offers not a polished whole but a handful of glittering shards. Described as one movement, this piece is in fact many movements, a chain of episodes in which the instruments establish a fragile mood only to break it with an outburst of a new, contrasting effect."

Dwight D. Robinson Professor of the Humanities Robert Levin replaced an injured Alfred Brendel for a Boston Symphony Orchestra concert on only a few hours' notice. Upon entering the stage, Levin addressed the audience: "I should warn you. The cadenzas are going to be improvised!" What followed, by all accounts, was an extraordinary concert. Says Globe critic Richard Dyer, "...both conductor and orchestra seemed to enjoy every element of this performance, the steeplechase and the storytelling. Levin received the tumultuous ovation his musicianship and his courage deserved."

Assistant Professor Mauro Calcagno helped initiate, with a group of graduate students, weekly events called Friday Lunch Talks. Spearheaded by Calcagno and Thomas Peattie, the series consists of informal colloquia given by grad students, faculty and associates of the department who present works-in-progress.

Music of My Future: The Schoenberg Quartets and Trio, edited by Reinhold Brinkmann and Christoph Wolff, is now available from Harvard University Press or directly from the Music Department. The volume includes papers from speakers at the Schoenberg conference held in Paine Hall, 1999; it is dedicated to David Lewin, Walter W. Naumburg Professor of Music at Harvard.

Schoenberg's quartets and trio, composed over a nearly forty-year period, occupy a central position among twentieth-century chamber music. The first part of the book provides an historical context to these works, examining Viennese quartet culture and traditions, Webern's reception of Schoenberg's Second Quartet, Schoenberg's view of the Beethoven quartets, and the early reception of Schoenberg's First Quartet. The second part looks at musical issues of motive, text setting, meter, imitative counterpoint, and closure within Schoenberg's quartets and trio.

To order a copy of Music of My Future send a check for $28.95 ($25 plus $3.95 postage) to the Department.

 

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Staff News

We welcome Fernando Viesca as Building Manager for the Department. Fernando comes to Harvard after 20 years in his post at the Academy of Arts and Sciences and several years in the building industry in Mexico.

Mary Gerbi joins us as Assistant to the Chair; she previously worked in the Dean's Office and the Office of Career Services at Harvard.

After six years of exceptional work, Ann Steuernagel, Events Coordinator, has left to become Visiting Associate Professor of Film and Video at Mt. Holyoke College.

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Alumni News

Claude Palisca, Ph.D. '54, died at age 79 in New Haven, Connecticut on January 10th. Palisca, a musicologist who specialized in the Renaissance, was one of the outstanding scholars of his generation. He was the Moses Professor of Music at Yale, emeritus.

Kenneth Mansfield, A.B. '54, A.M. '55, played an inaugural concert for the new console of the 46 rank organ at Lafayette-Orinda Presbyterian Church in Lafayette, California, where he has served as organist since 1968. The program included his composition, Various and Sundry Treatments of O Shenandoah! Mansfield is retired from the Music Department of California State University, Hayward.

Tonu Kalam, A.B. '69, is currently Music Director of both the Longview Symphony Orchestra in Texas and the Symphony Orchestra of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he is Professor of Music.

Composer Allen Shawn A.B. '70 staged an all-Shawn program at Longy School of Music in February. He premiered Five Pieces, a suite for two pianos. Also on the program were four settings of e.e. cummings poems sung by soprano (and Music Department staff assistant) Beth Canterbury.

Louis Karchin, Ph.D. '78, received the American Academy of Arts and Letters Goddard Lieberson Prize. In addition, a compact disc comprising six of his works was recently released by New World Records. Karchin is Professor of Music at New York University, where he directs the advanced graduate program in Music Composition.

Ferdinand Gajewski, Ph.D. '80 , former Teaching Fellow in the Music Department and the Department's first Sidney B. Heywood Fellow, divides his time between Chopin's pen scratchings (some things never change) and his class of fledgling piano virtuosi. Gajewski's longtime students Peter and Allen Yu will be freshmen at Harvard this fall.

Sergio Durante (A.M. '85, Ph.D. '93) has been appointed full professor at the University of Padua, where he has been associate professor since 1991. He is responsible for redesigning the musical curricula for two different programs: an interdisciplinary program in the visual arts, theatre, cinema, and music, and one centered around music as a cultural resource.

Dr. Philip Lasser, A.B. '85 is a professor at the Juilliard School and President of the European American Musical Alliance, Inc. He is currently running a summer program for young American composers in Paris at La Schola Cantor, dedicated to maintaining the Boulanger tradition in compositional training.

Eric Kramer A.B. '87 has been invited to be a Student Assistant Conductor with the Budapest Festival Orchestra and the Opera National de Lyon for 2001-02. He continues his work as Music Director of the Collegium Westchester, and is serving this year as Assistant Conductor for the Bronx Opera.

Anthony Brandt Ph.D. '93 and Karim Al-Zand Ph.D. '00 are both on the faculty of Sheperd School of Music at Rice University. Karim and Dereth Phillips were married this past December in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Charles McGuire Ph.D. '98 is now Assistant Professor of Musicology at Oberlin. He has a book forthcoming from Ashgate Press on Elgar's Oratorios.

Noël Bisson Ph.D. '99, her husband Alan Cooper, and daughter Josie announce the arrival of Caroline Ellen Cooper on March 1st, 2001.

Brian Hulse Ph.D. '99 and his wife Rebecca welcomed Finn Edward Hulse (8-lbs. 2-oz.) on May 5, 2001. Hulse was recently appointed Visiting Assistant Professor of Music at Wellesley College.

Christoph Neidhofer Ph.D.'99 starts a tenure-track appointment as Assistant Professor of Music Theory at McGill University in September, 2001.

Ed Gollin Ph.D. '01 delivered a paper to the annual meeting of the New York State Music Theory Society: "From Tonoi to modi: A set-transformational approach to reception history." He will also participate in the first annual Mannes Institute Workshop on the history of music theory.

Alan Gosman Ph.D. '01 will be taking the position of Assistant Professor in Music Theory at Michigan State University.

Jonathan Holland Ph.D. '01 and Caprice Corona A.B. '97 were married last December in a ceremony in Sacramento, California.

Patty Tang Ph.D. '01 was appointed Assistant Professor Music in the Music and Theater Arts Department at MIT. She assumes her post in the fall.


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Graduate Student News

Arni Ingolfsson recently spent time in Berlin studying the reception of Scandinavian music in Nazi Germany. This summer he will travel to Bayreuth for additional study on a student fellowhip from the International Richard Wagner Foundation.

David Kaminsky won fellowships for fieldwork in Sweden from the American Scandinavia Foundation and the Harvard Center for European Studies to pursue research on Swedish folk music.

Ken Ueno took part in Wellesley College's "Cultural Friction" lecture series with a concert and discussion entitled, "Democratization of Classical Music: The Use of Technology to Liberate 'Non-Privileged' Sound."

Stephan Hakenberg premiered his Five Scenes for Vibraphone with the Auros Group for New Music.

Julie Rohwein participated in the Composers Symposium at the Oregon Bach Festival in June, 2000, where they performed her work, Triton, a piece for clarinet and computer-generated sounds. The final version of Triton was recently played both at Harvard and at Digital Polyphony at Brandeis.


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Undergraduate News

Jesse Billet '01 has been accepted as a choral scholar at King's College, Cambridge, England, the first graduate of an American university to receive such an honor. Beginning in the fall, he'll join what's considered the finest choir in the world, the King's College Chapel Choir, and sing in regular services, concerts and recording sessions including the famous Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols, broadcast live by the BBC on Christmas Eve.

Christopher Trapani's '02 Piano Sonata received its Boston premiere in a concert featuring pianist Sergey Schepkin at Williams Hall, New England Conservatory.

David Salvage '01 is the recipient of the Louise Donovan Award, which annually recognizes Harvard students who have worked behind the scenes in the arts. Salvage is a member of the Harvard-Radcliffe Collegium Musicum, music directed and composed for several stage productions, and is currently president of the Harvard-Radcliffe Contemporary Music Ensemble. Salvage also won the 2001 Bach Society Orchestra Composition Competition.

Ayano Ninomiya '01 was the featured violin performer on a recent program of the Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra at Sanders Theatre.


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