UVA at the American Musicological Society 2017

Written by Michael Puri

Many members of our Critical and Comparative Studies PhD program attended and participated in the 2017 meeting of the American Musicological Society. Sixth-year PhD candidate Craig Comen delivered a paper that located the origin of the analysis of Western classical music not in Austro-German compositional treatises from around 1800, as is commonly believed, but rather the musical periodical from a few decades before. 

CCS alumni who took part in the four-day affair included Vilde Aaslid (University of Rhode Island), Amy Coddington (Amherst College), Stephanie Doktor (University of Utah), Mary Simonson (Colgate), and Victor Szabo (Hampden-Sydney). Vilde situated important recent efforts to combine spoken word and jazz within a broader tradition of black radicalism, while Amy presented on the importance of Top 40 radio to the dissemination of rap in the 1980s in the US. Stephanie devoted her paper to examining the way that composers took advantage of the unique skills of the vaudeville singer Florence Mills by blending modernist concert music and jazz, and Mary presented on the role that stage prologues and interludes played in American silent film. In his paper, Vic showed how one of the most famous examples of Ambient music—the long-lived, contemplative-music radio program, “Hearts of Space”—is rooted in psychedelic and New Age countercultures, rather than experimental and avant-garde traditions, as is usually thought.

One faculty participant was Bonnie Gordon, who attended meetings of the AMS Board of Directors as a newly elected member. Another was Michael Puri, who gave a paper that showed one might use the thought of Roland Barthes to forge valuable links between the music of Schumann and Ravel. He also represented the department at the Graduate Education Committee Reception for Prospective Students and delivered a report on the work that he and CCS graduate student Justin Mueller have done over the past year in editing book reviews for the Journal of the American Musicological Society.


McIntire Department of Music
112 Old Cabell Hall
P.O. Box 400176 Charlottesville, VA 22904-4176

Email: music@virginia.edu