Alumni Dissertations and Theses

 
 

Alumni Dissertations and Theses

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  • Old World Influence on New World Music: Candelario Huízar's Imágenes

    Author:
    Joshua Feltman
    Year of Dissertation:
    2013
    Program:
    Music
    Advisor:
    David Olan
    Abstract:

    Imágenes, an orchestral tone poem by Mexican composer Candelario Huízar, is an example of early twentieth-century Mexican orchestral writing (ca. 1910-1920) that sits on the cusp between the French-influenced music of the Porfiriato (ca. 1890-1910) and the folk- inflected Nationalism that followed after the 1920's. An historical, stylistic, and analytical study of the work places it in the context of other works of the period. A new annotated edition of the work is based on available resources, including historical information and manuscript sources.

  • HAIRY DRUMS, LIVE SAMPLING: ETHOS PERCUSSION GROUP COMMISSIONS OF 2004 AND THEIR "EXTRA-CONSERVATORY" ELEMENTS

    Author:
    Frederick Files III
    Year of Dissertation:
    2012
    Program:
    Music
    Advisor:
    Shaugn O'Donnell
    Abstract:

    Since 1999 Ethos Percussion Group has commissioned more than two dozen works for percussion quartet. The majority of these commissions incorporate instruments and musical vocabulary not commonly found in the Western chamber music tradition. This aspect of Ethos's commissioned repertoire reflects the ensemble's collective personality, as its members have augmented their conservatory training and "classical" performing experiences with extensive forays into popular and non-Western idioms. Gaby Kerpel's Charangueando and Michael Markus's Suli Ti Nani, the two compositions commissioned and premiered by Ethos in 2004, exemplify the ensemble's efforts to integrate its members' experiences with popular and folk music into a chamber music setting. The pieces incorporate a variety of "extra-conservatory" elements, including hand drumming, folk instruments from Argentina and Guinea, improvisation, ethnic rhythmic concepts, and electronic sampling via a laptop and MIDI controller. The extra-conservatory nature of these compositions extends to the manner in which Kerpel and Markus presented them to Ethos, as they relied heavily on sample recordings or rote transmission. Although these methods were supplemented with limited notation, neither composer produced a traditional score. Many of Ethos's commissions have been published and are often performed by collegiate ensembles. However, the lack of scores for Charangueando and Suli Ti Nani, coupled with a general unfamiliarity with many of the instruments and techniques necessary for their performance, has rendered them inaccessible to other performers. This unfortunate situation has troubled me for years, as the works' musical and pedagogic merits certainly justify inclusion in the percussion ensemble canon. The purpose of this dissertation is to facilitate and promote the performance of Charangueando and Suli Ti Nani by ensembles other than Ethos. The written portion includes scores for each piece, biographical information on the composers, descriptions of how the scores were developed, and examinations of analytical and performance issues designed to help classically-trained performers address the extra-conservatory elements found in each piece. This text is accompanied by a data disc containing a variety of supplemental media that may also be found on the following web pages: http://www.treyfiles.com/charangueando.html and http://www.treyfiles.com/sulitinani.html.

  • The Bernard Ouchard Bow-Making School in Mirecourt, France, from 1971 to 1981

    Author:
    Olivier Fluchaire
    Year of Dissertation:
    2011
    Program:
    Music
    Advisor:
    Ora Frishberg Saloman
    Abstract:

    Although a violin bow may appear less important than a violin, it is the tool that allows string players to communicate musical expression. Not until the late eighteenth century was it considered to be more than just an accessory sold with a violin. From the early nineteenth century, French bow-makers have led the way in bow-making as proven by their legacy. The French bow-makers of the Tourte family are credited with the establishment of what is now known as the modern bow. But following the First and Second World Wars in the early twentieth century, the tradition of French bow-making, which had been transmitted orally from generation to generation, was nearly lost. In 1971, the French government opened the first official bow-making class with a three-year curriculum under the supervision of Bernard Ouchard (1925-1979) at the Lycée Vuillaume in Mirecourt, France. From 1971 to 1981, the school trained nineteen bow- makers and the superior work of its graduates proves that the goal of keeping this long- standing French tradition has been achieved.

  • The Triple Oboe Concerto by Theodor von Schacht (1748-1823): A Critical Edition with Notes on Performance Practice, an Analysis Based on the Theories of Heinrich Christoph Koch, and an Account of the Musical Establishment at the Court of Thurn und Taxis

    Author:
    John Frisch
    Year of Dissertation:
    2011
    Program:
    Music
    Advisor:
    Bruce MacIntyre
    Abstract:

    Baron Theodor von Schacht (1748–1823), who from 1773 to 1805 oversaw the music program for the Thurn und Taxis court based in Regensburg, composed numerous concertos and concertantes for woodwinds, including a work for three solo oboes, his “Concertante a Tre Oboi Principale.” Written ca. 1790, the autograph manuscript of this work is housed in the Fürst Thurn und Taxis Hofbibliothek as “D-Rtt Schacht 46,” and its RISM ID/AN is 450.010.951. This dissertation sets the work in context with a brief history of the court and a more extensive account of its musical establishment drawn from contemporaneous accounts (memoirs, surviving rosters, and lexicon entries), including profiles of many of its illustrious musicians (especially the principal oboist Giovanni Palestrini, 1744–1823). Schacht's autograph score and the editorial principles for the critical edition are described. The critical edition is supported by detailed and illustrated appendixes that expose the editorial process. Additionally, performance matters concerning period practice are addressed, including proclivities of the classical hautboy and archaic notational and interpretive practices. Because the structure of the work is complex and Schacht's compositional style exemplifies many of the phrasal expansion techniques described by the theorist Heinrich Christoph Koch (1749–1816), detailed analyses of the work's three movements are provided in light of Koch's theories to provide guidance for performing this triple concerto. This work is exceptional by virtue of Schacht's prolific melodic invention and virtuosic use of compounding techniques.

  • RUGGERO LEONCAVALLO IN NEW YORK AND OTHER AMERICAN CITIES: 1906 AND 1913

    Author:
    James Greening
    Year of Dissertation:
    2010
    Program:
    Music
    Advisor:
    Richard Kramer
    Abstract:

    Abstract RUGGERO LEONCAVALLO IN NEW YORK AND OTHER AMERICAN CITIES: 1906 AND 1913 by James Greening Advisor: Professor Allan Atlas This dissertation deals with Ruggero Leoncavallo's two trips to the United States--and New York in particular--in 1906 and 1913. It looks at those trips mainly through the lens of the press, both musical and daily, national and local, with the Appendix providing complete press notices drawn from the collection of Leoncavallo materials at the Lincoln Center Library of the Performing Arts. Briefly, Leoncavallo scored an enormous success in New York, as he did throughout the rest of the United States during these highly publicized tours. The study also touches on the New York premieres of Pagliacci and three of Leoncavallo's other operas: La Bohème, Zazà, and Edipo Re. In all, the dissertation sheds new light not only on Leoncavallo's career, but also on a compelling and important time for the growth and development of opera in New York City. Chapter 1 deals with Leoncavallo's 1906 tour to New York and other cities in the United States and Canada. Chapter 2 outlines his 1913 visit to New York (including a lengthy and important interview), as well as the reception of Zazà and Zingari on the West Coast and in Chicago. Chapter 3 discusses the success of Pagliacci, its premiere at the Metropolitan Opera, and its American reception in general. Chapter 4 deals with the New York premieres of La Bohème, Zazà, and Edipo Re. The dissertation concludes with an Appendix of 105 newspaper and journal articles that form the documentary basis of the study.

  • His Jelly Roll Soul: Revising and reclaiming the past, the minstrel mask, and the communal blast in Charles Mingus's Jazz Workshop AND Dream President: a pocket opera

    Author:
    Jennifer Griffith
    Year of Dissertation:
    2010
    Program:
    Music
    Advisor:
    Jeffrey Taylor
    Abstract:

    Composer, bandleader, and bassist Charles Mingus was among the earliest modern jazz figures to dialogue with New Orleans-style jazz. His musical language included the idiom in a continuum of jazz, linking New Orleans collective improvisation to the avant-garde players of the 1960s. During the mid-century jazz wars between modernist and moldy fig, Mingus invoked the early era's heritage through Jelly Roll Morton in "My Jelly Roll Soul," (Atlantic, 1959), "Jelly Roll" (Columbia, 1959), and an arrangement of Morton's "Wolverine Blues" (Gennett, 1923). Mingus commented on contemporary attitudes toward his predecessors within an environment not well-disposed to them. Yet, even as the legacies of minstrelsy in the entertainment styles of Morton, Louis Armstrong, and Fats Waller shaped Mingus's performative identity, his unpublished writings and onstage manner reflect an alternative black male performativity. The testimony of Jazz Workshop members and Mingus's own statements reveal his philosophy and identity as leader and teacher, and emphasize a reverence for the collective spirit. In the intersection of compositional and improvisational techniques in mid-to late-1950s recordings ("Dizzy's Moods," "Jump Monk," and "Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting"), this emphasis shows a progression from short sections of group interplay reminiscent of early jazz to improvisation within extended forms that invoke the ecstatic communal events he heard as a youth in the Holiness church. AND As a former U.S. President sits in a hotel room, watching TV and reflecting, three women--Red, White and Blue--visit him. They muse about the former president and explore their disillusionment around social change, their anxieties about the political climate and their dreams and fantasies about the president. The dream arias reflect benevolently on the President's personal charisma while the waking monologues take moral stock of his presidency.

  • The Piano Works of Pall Isolfsson (1893-1974) - A Diverse Collection

    Author:
    Nina Grimsdottir
    Year of Dissertation:
    2010
    Program:
    Music
    Advisor:
    Peter Basquin
    Abstract:

    Abstract THE PIANO WORKS OF PÁLL ÍSÓLFSSON (1893-1974) A Diverse Collection by Nína Margrét Grímsdóttir Adviser: Professor Emeritus Peter Basquin The piano works of Páll Ísólfsson (1893-1974) form a diverse collection of twenty-six pieces that consists of nineteen character pieces, one set of variations, and six liturgical pieces. They were composed during 1920-1970, and now for the first time, the collection can, in this dissertation, be appreciated in its entirety. The important steps taken along the way have included publication, recordings, research and concert performances. The character pieces divide into four groups according to stylistic influence and maturity. Most of the earlier pieces fall into the "humorous burlesque" or "sentimental lyric" group; the other two groups belong to traditional dance genres, as well as works that express "Weltschmerz" through the tonal and harmonic language of late-nineteenth-century Romanticism. Ísólfsson's only large-scale work for piano, Tilbrigdi, consists of a theme and seventeen variations and is a virtuosic tour de force. The work, a tribute to the composer's father, is a comprehensive essay on variation techniques and is a fine addition to the catalogue of variation sets for piano solo. The six liturgical pieces which complete the Ísólfsson collection represent the composer's religious views and his thorough and admiring position towards the music of J. S. Bach. The premise of the dissertation is that the piano works are sophisticated compositions and that as a collection they form an ambitious and diverse repertoire that belongs to the piano literature of the northern European and Scandinavian countries. To support this, I evaluate Ísólfsson's collection in a larger perspective that entails comparing it with similar works by other composers; furthermore, information as to the style and standing of his piano works in his native country, Iceland, is presented with the aid of a questionnaire and a list of representative works by a selection of his contemporaries; finally, the collective reception history of Ísólfsson's piano works is discussed both in light of the anti-Romantic sentiment in Iceland's music circles around the middle of the twentieth century and subsequently with regard to published reviews about performances of the collection.

  • Different Placements of Spirit: African American Musicians Historicizing in Sound

    Author:
    Casey Hale
    Year of Dissertation:
    2014
    Program:
    Music
    Advisor:
    Stephen Blum
    Abstract:

    This dissertation examines two recent projects by African American musicians that enact critical and historiographic agency by reconstructing the music of the past: William Parker's project The Inside Songs of Curtis Mayfield, dedicated to re-imagining the works of the soul music icon with an ensemble featuring the poetic recitation of Amiri Baraka; and Marcus Roberts's reinvention of the Jazz Age rhapsodies of George Gershwin and James P. Johnson, Rhapsody in Blue and Yamekraw: A Negro Rhapsody. Rooted in African American interpretive traditions, and working both within and against such discursive categories as "jazz," "black music," and "American music," these artists use musical reinvention not only to articulate their identities and forebears, but to construct broader narratives of musical history and genre. Moreover, because they revisit works preoccupied with questions of racial, cultural, and national identity, these revisionist musical projects can also be read as revisionist cultural histories. Through my analyses I argue that Parker's project responds to the collapse of radical movement politics since the 1970s, and that his musical practices become the site of their own spiritual-political liberation, while Roberts's project serves to revise and realign the histories of American art music and political identity with African American cultural production, in dialogue with the writings of Albert Murray.

  • Franz Joseph Rosinack (1748-1823): A Bohemian Oboist and Music Arranger at the Fuerstenberg Court

    Author:
    Jan Homann
    Year of Dissertation:
    2011
    Program:
    Music
    Advisor:
    Bruce MacIntyre
    Abstract:

    The oboist Franz Joseph Rosinack worked at the Fürstenberg princely court in Donaueschingen from 1777 to 1823. He had a range of duties, including performing with the Hof-orchester, Harmonie, and other ensembles, as well as supplying music for court occasions. Chapter I presents a survey of the court's musical activities and principal musicians under Princes Joseph Wenzel (r. 1762-83), Joseph Maria Benedict (r. 1783-96), Karl Joachim (1796-1804), and Karl Egon II (r. 1817-54). Fürstenberg ties to the major cultural centers of eighteenth-century Europe supplied repertoire allowing the court orchestra to perform some of the best contemporary operas often within months of their premieres. Rosinack's involvement in these and other performances gave him a familiarity with pieces he would then arrange as chamber music to accompany banquets, hunting parties, and other court festivities. Over fifty of Rosinack's arrangements are preserved as manuscripts in the Fürstenberg Musicalien Sammlung now housed in the Badische Landesbibliothek in Karlsruhe, Germany. Rosinack arranged music from across the broad spectrum of eighteenth-century genres, from chamber music and symphonies to operas and other works for the stage. Chapter III elucidates the techniques he used to create these works by examining excerpts from three representative pieces. These pieces include versions of Mozart's string quartet K. 575 and wind serenade K. 361, both for oboe, violin, two violas, and cello, as well as an arrangement of Haydn's opera Orlando Paladino for Harmonie octet. Generally, the further afield the genre of the original lay from its arranged form, the more far-reaching were the changes that Rosinack made to bring the music to its new setting. Arrangements of chamber music revolve mostly around issues of texture, tone color, and instrumental capacity. Arrangements of operas, however, can involve changes of form and harmonic structure to bring the music from its original stage genre to a chamber setting. Appendices present a complete list of Rosinack's arrangements as well as a score to the first movement of Rosinack's adaptation of K. 361 for oboe and strings.

  • The Village People: Analysis, Reception History, and Cultural Transformation

    Author:
    Paul Houghtaling
    Year of Dissertation:
    2011
    Program:
    Music
    Advisor:
    Jonathan Pieslak
    Abstract:

    Abstract THE VILLAGE PEOPLE: ANALYSIS, RECEPTION HISTORY, AND CULTURAL TRANSFORMATION By Paul Houghtaling Advisor: Professor Mark Spicer The purpose of this dissertation is to examine the reception history of the four major songs of the 1970s disco group the Village People, namely "Macho Man," "Y.M.C.A.," "Go West," and "In the Navy," and their ironic transformation from gay-oriented pop pieces to iconic songs imbedded in American popular culture. I will trace "Y.M.C.A.," for example, from its beginnings as a camp entertainment targeted at the urban gay male audience at the height of the disco movement, through its transcendence to one of the most famous and, arguably, beloved pop songs of all time. This work will show how a tongue-in-check number parodying the sexual proclivities of gay men in the pre-AIDS era became a song regularly heard at major sporting arenas around the world while the work's original intent lay well beyond the "machismo" of the professional sporting arena. The irony is extraordinary, and, as I will show, the irony itself may be a part of the lasting appeal of the music of the Village People. Gay males in New York City were the initial target audience of the Village People's music, but they were not the consumers responsible for the music's ultimate popularity and commercial success. Still, certain of the tunes have since taken on strong cultural significance within the gay community at large. The meaning of the song "Go West," for example, was transformed by the AIDS epidemic; no ironic evolution here, but merely an adapted secondary meaning brought on by changes in the environment of gay male audiences for whom this music, as well as the disco era itself, began to hold nostalgic significance. The 1992 cover of "Go West" by the British band Pet Shop Boys, an almost reverent remake, stands as a testament to the historical significance of this song and others by the Village People in gay culture. Paradoxically, this "gay music" caught on furiously with the American disco-crazed populace, a majority of whom either did not understand its coding of parodied sexuality or chose to ignore it. The songs were intoxicating and their incredible success can be attributed to a combination of factors, including the cultural function of disco music, the marketing of the Village People, and the distinctive sound and look of the group. But above all, the songs remain extraordinarily popular today because of the music itself --the easy-to-memorize melodies, the verse-chorus structure, the hook appeal of the choruses, and the production and aural design of the records. In addition to tracing the reception history of these iconic songs, this dissertation offers a detailed analysis of the music and recordings themselves in an attempt to account for their lasting appeal.