Explorations & Faculty News


 Explorations in Analysis and Performance:
Berio, Childs, Ravel, Weber, and Jazz Composition

As the outcome of a collaboration between the CU theory department and five performance studios, five undergraduate students will present their work linking music theory and performance in short lecture-recitals on Friday, April 19. The music they will present ranges from a Weber clarinet concerto, to a 20th-century trombone work with aleatoric elements (elements in which the performer has freedom of choice), to an original jazz composition. Each student has been mentored by a theory faculty member in conjunction with their performance teacher. In their explorations, the students—as emerging scholars and artists—have been encouraged to develop original scholarly and creative work. The students’ projects are supported by an Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) grant awarded to the theory department.

We welcome you to attend one or more of the lecture-recitals, and to meet the students at a reception afterwards:

Friday April 19, 2019
2:00 – 4:05 p.m. (reception follows)
Macky Auditorium, Room 102

The students and their projects (with approximate start times):

2:00 p.m.      Katherine Scholl (senior), flute, Berio – Sequenza I for flute
2:25 p.m.     Georgia Hastie (first year), clarinet, Weber – Clarinet Concerto No. 1 in F minor
2:50 p.m.     Yutaro Yazawa (senior), trombone, Childs – Sonata for Solo Trombone
3:15 p.m.     Benjamin Thompson (junior), jazz piano, original composition for piano and big band
3:40 p.m.      Sophia Zervas (senior), piano, Ravel – Miroirs

Questions? Contact Daphne Leong (daphne.leong@colorado.edu).


Current composition projects by Mark Arnett include a setting of three poems by W.B Yeats for SATB choir, Machinations for wind ensemble, and a collection of works for jazz trio.

Steven Bruns lectured on the music of George Crumb at the University of Iowa in April 2018. His program note on Morton Feldman’s chamber work For Philip Guston was published in connection with a June 2018 performance by Ensemble Vide at the Aldeburgh Festival, Snape Maltings, England. Bruns also gave a pre-concert lecture for the Philadelphia Orchestra at the Bravo! Vail Festival in July 2018. On September 8, he joined Keith Waters and Philip Chang as one of the speakers for the CU on the Weekend session, “Bernstein as Teacher,” the first event in the College of Music’s Leonard Bernstein at 100 Festival. In October, he was a guest scholar for the lecture series hosted by the North American Studies Center at the University of Bonn, Germany. Soon after, Bruns returned to moderate “Remembering George Rochberg (1918–2005),” with panelists Andrew Jennings (Professor of Violin, Univ. of Michigan), flutist Christina Jennings (CU Boulder), and pianist Margaret McDonald (CU Boulder).

Philip Chang provided a brief review of the first and last chapters of the Norton Guide to Teaching Music Theory in the most recent volume of Journal of Music Theory Pedagogy, published in January. He is organizing a course on American popular music ca. 1880 – 1920 for a seminar next spring. As an ancillary angle regarding music and the horror writer H. P. Lovecraft, Chang is analyzing two songs by composer Harold S. Farnese that set texts by Lovecraft (“The Elder Pharos” and “Mirage”).

Daphne Leong continues her work in both theory and performance. With violinist Michiko Theurer she gave a lecture-recital on Crumb’s Four Nocturnes for violin and piano in Oslo, Norway. She spoke on “ʻWhat makes it go’: Motion in Wuorinen’s Grand Union” as an invited speaker for Charles Wuorinen’s 80th-birthday celebration at the Eastman School of Music; this essay will be published in Perspectives of New Music. Other publications include her book Performing Knowledge: Twentieth-Century Music in Analysis and Performance, slated for release this year from Oxford University Press (supported by a Kayden Research Grant and a subvention from the Society for Music Theory); an article in Music Theory Online on the interest groups of the Society for Music Theory (grassroots groups that develop around particular interests, such as music cognition, film music, or philosophy); and a chapter connecting theory and performance in Norton Guide to Teaching Music Theory. Leong is heading an interdepartmental project entitled Linking Music Theory and Practice, funded by a departmental UROP grant, featuring five theory faculty working with five performance faculty to guide individual undergraduate projects. She is also organizing a conference on the theme Rhythm in Music since 1900, featuring a lecture-recital by the internationally-renowned pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard.

Yonatan Malin is engaged with a research project on klezmer music, including historical recordings made in the 1920s and 30s by the preeminent Soviet ethnomusicologist Moshe Beregovski. He was selected to participate in the first “Archive Transformed” residency at CU Boulder last spring, together with renowned klezmer fiddler Alicia Svigals. Malin and Svigals will present their research and music together with jazz pianist Uli Geissendoerfer on Sunday, May 19 (see 2019 Archive Transformed.) Malin also revised an article on ethnography and music analysis, forthcoming in the journal Analytical Approaches to World Music, and a chapter on songs by Fanny Hensel, forthcoming in an edited volume on her work (The Songs of Fanny Hensel, Oxford University Press). He serves on the Executive Board of the Society for Music Theory, and he is affiliated faculty with the Program in Jewish Studies at CU Boulder.

Keith Waters‘s book, Postbop Jazz in the 1960s: The Compositions of Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, and Chick Corea, will be published by Oxford University Press this summer. This will be his fifth book, and his second published by Oxford. Contributions to journals in 2018 included his German to English translation of Ekkehard Jost’s “New Awakenings Everywhere: Free Jazz Pathways through Western Europe” in Jazz Perspectives and a review of Mervyn Cooke’s Pat Metheny: The ECM Years, 1975-1984 in Music & Letters. He is also currently co-authoring a jazz improvisation textbook with Brian Levy of the New England Conservatory. Waters is frequently heard playing in the house rhythm section for the weekly jam sessions hosted by trumpeter (and CU jazz faculty member) Brad Goode.


We have a few more events you’re welcome to attend!

Monday, April 1, 2:00 – 3:00 p.m., reception following
Imig C113
Michael Callahan, Michigan State University
“What Happens When Music Theory Pedagogy Is Interleaved?”

Is it better to present students with five Impressionist paintings, then five Symbolist ones in block fashion, or to alternate between the styles in an interleaved presentation? Should physics students solve ten problems requiring Equation A, then ten requiring Equation B, or instead be confronted immediately with having to choose the appropriate equation in a mixed set? This presentation explores whether undergraduate music theory, in which topics are usually taught in groups or blocks, could—or should—instead be organized in an interleaved manner instead. The intuitive advantages of blocking (e.g., clarity, scaffolded practice) have been shown by research to be outweighed by the positive effects of interleaving on long-term retention, and that the more effortful, struggle-inducing nature of interleaved pedagogy becomes a “desirable difficulty.”

Sunday, May 19, 7:00 p.m.
Grusin Music Hall
“The Beregovski Archives: Klezmer Stories from Soviet Ukraine to Boulder”

In the 1930s a Jewish scholar from the Ukraine named Moshe Beregovski set out, with eerie prescience, to collect and preserve the deep and rich Jewish musical tradition around him. In this concert, renowned klezmer fiddler Alicia Svigals, jazz pianist and composer Uli Geissendoerfer, and musicologist Yonatan Malin bring Beregovski’s legacy to life. They tell stories of the deep and ecstatic music of Jewish Eastern Europe, blending archival recordings with contemporary arrangements. Seven scenes conjure drama, history, everyday life, rhythm, reverie, dance, and community in the cities and towns of Eastern Europe. At the end of the concert, string players from the Boulder community will join Svigals, Geissendoerfer, and Malin for an imaginative recreation of the 1937 Kiev State Ensemble of Jewish Folk Music.

“Rhythm in Music since 1900”
Sunday-Monday, November 17-18, 2019
University of Colorado Boulder

Keynote (lecture-recital): Pierre Laurent-Aimard, pianist
Invited speakers (and projected topics): Kyle Adams (Indiana University) – rhythm in hip-hop; Brian Alegant (Oberlin Conservatory) – pedagogy of rhythm in recent repertories; Jeanne Bamberger (MIT and UC Berkeley) – action and symbolic description; John Roeder (University of British Columbia) – post-tonal canons

Rhythm in music since 1900 remains a rich and fascinating field of inquiry. This conference seeks to bring multiple perspectives to bear on this field. It will address repertoires ranging from jazz and popular music to world music and art musics, and topics from performance and pedagogy to cognition and theory. The keynote features renowned pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard, acclaimed particularly for his interpretations of music of our time. In addition to his keynote lecture-recital, Aimard will also play a full recital on November 19.

Header image: Excerpt from Sonata for Solo Trombone by Barney Childs (Tritone Press, 1962).

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