Alumni Dissertations

 

Alumni Dissertations

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  • The Woodwind Quintets of Darius Milhaud With an Emphasis on Quintette pour Instruments a vent, op.443

    Author:
    Maureen Keenan
    Year of Dissertation:
    2010
    Program:
    Music
    Advisor:
    Ora Frishberg Saloman
    Abstract:

    In comparison to other common chamber music genres, such as the string quartet or brass quintet, the woodwind quintet possesses a rather small repertory. Darius Milhaud's (1892-1974) La Cheminée du roi René, op. 206 is a staple in that repertory and his quintets Two Sketches, op. 227 b, and Divertissement, op. 299b are performed occasionally. His final quintet, Quintette pour Instruments à vent, op. 443, is relatively unknown and very seldom performed. This dissertation investigates three of Darius Milhaud's four woodwind quintets. La Cheminée du roi René and Two Sketches are discussed, and there is a focused examination of his final quintet, Quintette pour Instruments à vent. This quintet is also Milhaud's last opus, completed in the year before his death and dedicated to his wife in honor of the couple's fiftieth anniversary, factors which contribute to the significance of the work. This study includes a biographical sketch of Milhaud and a discussion of his writings about music as well as other writers' remarks about the composer's music. It contains a brief history of woodwind quintets from the genre's inception to the twentieth century. A previous study's discussion of the form of La Cheminée du roi René is expanded with harmonic insights, and there are thorough formal analyses of Two Sketches and Quintette pour Instruments à vent. Writings about Milhaud's music are reconsidered after the works are discussed.

  • The Art Songs of Tom Cipullo

    Author:
    Elizabeth Kling
    Year of Dissertation:
    2011
    Program:
    Music
    Advisor:
    Norman Carey
    Abstract:

    This study explores the role Tom Cipullo plays in the development of American Art Song 1992-2008. Born in 1956, composer Tom Cipullo has written well over 100 songs. His music is complex and challenging yet firmly rooted in the 20th-century continuation of Romanticism. Cipullo's choice of poetry is almost always contemporary American, embracing a full range of themes. His songs have won top awards in their field, and are well received by audiences and performers. Following a biography, a discussion of the development of the "neo-Romantic" movement in the field of Art Song, and Cipullo's role in this progression is presented. "A Guide to the Songs" provides an annotated catalog and performance guide to 67 published songs written between 1992 and 2007. The performance guide explains non-standard indications in the scores and outlines Cipullo's interpretive preferences. It provides essential information for singers, pianists, coaches, and teachers wishing to access this repertoire. Appendices provide an alphabetic list of songs, a list of authors set by Cipullo, a complete works list 1983-2009, a discography, and a bibliography. This study is informed through interviews with Cipullo. The author prepared, coached, and performed many of the songs; attended coachings and master classes with Cipullo; and attended live performances of Cipullo's songs. The remaining songs are analyzed through both professional and unpublished recordings. Several prominent performers of Cipullo's vocal music provided live interviews. Secondary sources aid in identifying Cipullo's role in the development of American Art Song 1992-2008. This study serves as the basis for further research into Cipullo's life and works, and for successful performances of his songs.

  • Multiple Agency in Mozart's Chamber Music

    Author:
    Edward Klorman
    Year of Dissertation:
    2013
    Program:
    Music
    Advisor:
    William Rothstein
    Abstract:

    This study undertakes an examination of elements of social intercourse encoded in Mozart's chamber music. Since the 1770s, many authors have described chamber music—especially string quartets—as a form of stylized conversation. Although this metaphor still figures prominently in discussions of the Classical style, analyses of individual chamber works rarely capture the interplay among the parts. This dissertation attempts to bridge that divide through the notion of multiple agency, which regards each instrumental part as an independent persona engaged in a seemingly spontaneous interaction with the other parts. Like actors portraying dramatic characters, the players enacting these musical characters may experience the illusion of self-determination, as if they are choosing their own statements, moment to moment, through a process of group improvisation. Multiple agency offers a theoretical model of how players may conceive of their own musical utterances and interactions as the discourse unfolds in time as they play. Harmonic, formal, and metrical events may be construed as resulting from the interaction among the characters, and conflicts or ambiguities arise when they outwit, surprise, or compete with one another. The historical study in Part I of this dissertation provides inspiration for the analytical method developed in Part II. Beginning with accounts of Mozart's own domestic music-making (Chapter 1), the historical survey proceeds to examine eighteenth- and early-nineteenth-century sources that describe chamber music as a metaphorical conversation or social interaction among the instruments (Chapter 2). Chapter 3 contrasts the modern practice of performing chamber music in public concerts with the practices of Mozart's time, when this music was most commonly played at home among friends, who usually sight-read from individual parts. This setting presumably lent the music-making a spontaneous, of-the-moment quality that shares affinities to open-ended improvisation. The analytical portion introduces the concept of multiple agency in detail (Chapter 4). Departing from the traditional, omniscient vantage point for music analysis, which views the score as a unitary whole, multiple agency offers a multivalent perspective on the individual characters' roles in determining musical events. Chapters 5 and 6 examine the implications of multiple agency for the analysis of form and meter, respectively, through close readings of a number of musical excerpts from Mozart's chamber music.

  • The New York Chamber Music Society, 1915-1937: A Contribution to Wind Chamber Music and a Reflection of Concert Life in New York City in the Early 20th Century

    Author:
    Lisa Kozenko
    Year of Dissertation:
    2013
    Program:
    Music
    Advisor:
    Richard Burke
    Abstract:

    The New York Chamber Music Society, founded in 1915, was one of New York City's prominent cultural institutions in the early twentieth century. A vital piece of the classical music landscape, the Society played an important role in the city's development as one of the major artistic capitals of the world. The contributions that the organization made to wind chamber music repertoire and its mission to further the performance of chamber music in New York City are remarkable. The legacy of the New York Chamber Music Society is the works that were premiered or played for the first time in New York, especially those of leading New York City and American composers. The concerts of the New York Chamber Music Society show founder Carolyn Beebe's visionary, innovative and forward-looking approach to programming as demonstrated by the wide variety of music performed during the Society's existence. Time and again, the remarkable accounts of the lives of the musicians and their virtuosity prove that she was able to assemble the finest instrumentalists available in New York City at the time. She was able to present new and unusual repertoire tailored to New York audiences, first in the renowned Aeolian Hall for nine seasons and then, switching to more informal salon concerts, in the Grand Ballroom at the Hotel Plaza for twelve seasons. Beebe believed passionately that chamber music was, alongside other fine arts, an important and essential part of a civilized and cultured society. To this end, she made a concerted effort to establish a permanent place for chamber music in the United States and her blueprint for success is still relevant today. Classical musicians of this and future generations can read her story, discover the hidden gems she uncovered, and realize the possibilities of this rich and enduring musical legacy.

  • Politics, Improvisation, and Musicking in Frederic Rzewski's `Which Side Are You On?' from North American Ballads.

    Author:
    Andrea La Rose
    Year of Dissertation:
    2012
    Program:
    Music
    Advisor:
    Joseph Straus
    Abstract:

    Discussions of the role of politics in Frederic Rzewski's music generally stop at surface elements: the title of the work, the use of a particular song, and guesses as to what left-leaning audience the piece is directed at. Similarly, discussion of the role of improvisation in Rzewski's work begins and ends simply at the mention of its existence. Using transcription and analysis of improvisations from recordings of "Which Side Are You On?" from North American Ballads combined with ideas about modeling from Christian Asplund, musicking from Christopher Small, dialogue from David Bohm, and Rzewski's own writings about music, I demonstrate how the political manifests at every level of the music, enabling listeners and performers to experience a socio-political situation beyond mere sloganeering, and the essential role improvisation plays in creating that experience.

  • THE PEDAGOGY OF YURI YANKELEVICH AND THE MOSCOW VIOLIN SCHOOL, INCLUDING A TRANSLATION OF YANKELEVICH'S ARTICLE "ON THE INITIAL POSITIONING OF THE VIOLINIST"

    Author:
    Mary (Masha) Lankovsky
    Year of Dissertation:
    2009
    Program:
    Music
    Advisor:
    Joseph Straus
    Abstract:

    Abstract THE PEDAGOGY OF YURI YANKELEVICH AND THE MOSCOW VIOLIN SCHOOL, INCLUDING A TRANSLATION OF YANKELEVICH'S ARTICLE "ON THE INITIAL POSITIONING OF THE VIOLINIST" by MARY (MASHA) LANKOVSKY Advisor: Professor Joseph N. Straus Following the revolution of 1917, the center of Russian violin playing and teaching shifted from St. Petersburg to Moscow, where violinists such as Lev Tseitlin, Konstantin Mostras, and Abraham Yampolsky established an influential pedagogical tradition. Founded on principles of scientific inquiry and physiology, this tradition became known as the Moscow Violin School, a component of the larger Russian Violin School. Yuri Yankelevich (1909-1973), a student and assistant of Yampolsky, was strongly influenced by the teachers of the Moscow School. Yankelevich taught at the Moscow Conservatory from 1936 to 1973 and contributed a significant amount of methodological work to the pedagogical literature. His texts document the pedagogical principles of the Moscow Violin School, specifically addressing the psycho-physiological aspects of violin playing and teaching. Despite its importance, Yankelevich's scholarly work is largely unknown outside of Russia due, in part, to a lack of English translations of his texts. This dissertation examines Yankelevich's pedagogy, largely drawing from his posthumously published book, Pedagogicheskoe nasledie [Pedagogical heritage]. Yankelevich's work is placed in context of the traditions of the Moscow Violin School. Also included is an original translation (from the original Russian to English) of Yankelevich's article "O pervonachal'noi postanovke skripacha" [On the initial positioning of the violinist].

  • Mátyás Seiber's Twelve-Tone Technique

    Author:
    Bettina Lee
    Year of Dissertation:
    2010
    Program:
    Music
    Advisor:
    Joseph Straus
    Abstract:

    This dissertation investigates the compositional style of Mátyás Seiber's twelve-tone music through an analysis of three works composed between 1934 and 1960: String Quartet No. 2, Concert Piece for Violin and Piano, and Sonata for Violin and Piano. Chapter 1 provides an overview of the composer's life and his compositional style. Chapter 2, on String Quartet No. 2 (1934-5), examines the subdivisions of the twelve-tone series into smaller pitch-class sets and introduces the concept of families. Chapter 3, on Concert Piece for Violin and Piano (1953-4), demonstrates the permutation of and within tetrachords derived from the prime series and the use of families as "harmonic" areas in the conventional sense. Chapter 4, on Sonata for Violin and Piano (1960), analyzes the prime series according to certain patterns that develop from the combination of ordered positions. This chapter also shows how families, which represent "harmonic" areas, are used for modulation in the classical sense.

  • Anton Rubinstein's Four Piano Sonatas

    Author:
    Jin-Ok Lee
    Year of Dissertation:
    2011
    Program:
    Music
    Advisor:
    L. Burstein
    Abstract:

    Anton Rubinstein's piano sonatas display stylistic features that at its time were characteristic of a conservative Russian approach to composition. Unlike in the works of some of Rubinstein's Russian contemporaries, these works eschew "folkiness" and are firmly embedded in the tonal and formal tradition of Western Europe. Although Rubinstein's sonatas do play with standard tonal and formal structures of the Romantic period to a certain extent, they nevertheless seem to be firmly in dialogue with classical sonata form and traditional tonality.

  • REWRITING THE PAST, COMPOSING THE FUTURE: SCHUMANN AND THE REDISCOVERY OF BACH

    Author:
    Meebae Lee
    Year of Dissertation:
    2011
    Program:
    Music
    Advisor:
    Richard Kramer
    Abstract:

    Robert Schumann's conspicuous penchant for contrapuntal texture and idioms, considered the composer's characteristic musical style, is generally ascribed to the German music tradition in which Johann Sebastian Bach is the most central figure; however, concrete musical extrapolation of Bach's influence on Schumann's repertoire has been confined to rather obvious examples such as his fugal compositions or arrangements of Bach's repertoire for solo string instruments. My dissertation explores how Schumann interpreted and translated J. S. Bach's musical legacy into his own musical idiom, using it as a creative force for developing his own musical style. In this study, Schumann's life will be classified into five periods in reference to his different aesthetical, artistic, and historical imperatives, each with the following narrative pattern. The first section of each chapter lays out a chronology of Schumann's activities regarding J.S. Bach and his study of fugue and counterpoint, based on sources such as diaries, letters, and other writings. The second section discusses the significance of the main sources studied or written by Schumann in each period: Friedrich W. Marpurg's Abhandlung von der Fuge; Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier; Luigi Cherubini's Cours de contrepoint et de fuge; and his own Fugengeschichte and Lehrbuch von Kontrapunkt und Fuge. The third part explores how the historical context and sources are related to particular Schumann's compositions: the Impromptus, Op. 5; Scherzo, Gigue, Romanze, and Fughette, Op. 32; his lieder and the Phantasie for piano and orchestra; Vier Fugen, Op. 72; and Symphony in D-minor, No. 4, Op. 120. The career-spanning trajectory of the changing aspects of Schumann's pursuit of Bach--from a source of creative inspiration to a medium for achieving objectivity--will be discussed with concrete music examples. Ultimately, a reappraisal of Schumann's work in the context of his study of counterpoint and Bach sheds new light on Schumann's position in the nineteenth-century Bach revival and the role of his music as both a public and personal manifestation of Bach's enduring legacy.

  • The Interaction of Korean and Western Practices in Isang Yun's Piri for oboe solo and Other works

    Author:
    Jeong Seok Lee
    Year of Dissertation:
    2011
    Program:
    Music
    Advisor:
    Mark Anson-Cartwright
    Abstract:

    Abstract The Interaction of Korean and Western Practices in Isang Yun's Piri for Oboe solo and Other Works by Jeong Seok Lee Advisor: Professor Mark Anson-Cartwright The Korean composer Isang Yun wrote for Western instruments using Western compositional techniques. Despite his overt dependence on resources developed outside his homeland, Yun took pains to invest his music with Korean emotion and thought. This dissertation explores the interaction of Korean and Western practices in Yun's Piri for oboe solo and other works, with particular attention to Yun's adaptation of twelve-tone technique for his own stylistic purposes. The music discussed in this study is personal in expression, yet at the same time general or universal in meaning: it embodies the ancient Eastern philosophical concept of Tao, that universal principle whereby opposites (yin and yang) may coexist. Among the techniques that are specific to Yun's style, the most important is the main-tone technique, which Yun derived from sigimsae, the melodic ornamentation used in Korean traditional music. Main-tone technique governs the processes of Yun's music, even in those pieces that use serial techniques. To gain a deeper insight into Yun's fusion of main-tone and serial techniques, I examine three of his works in detail: Etude for flute solo, Königliches Thema for violin solo, and Piri for oboe solo. Of the three analyses presented here, that of Piri forms the core of this dissertation, while the other two serve to introduce issues that are relevant to Piri. Etude for flute solo uses main-tone technique but not twelve-tone technique, thus illuminating Yun's approach to main-tone technique independent of other constraints. Königliches Thema for violin solo is serial, treating the 20-note `royal theme' of Mach's Musical Offering as a row: this reveals Yun's personal modification of serial technique, through intense engagement with a pre-existing melody. In Piri for oboe solo, main-tone and twelve-tone techniques are not merely combined, but thoroughly interwoven. A major claim of the analysis presented here is that listeners and performers must attend to tonal patterns and registral connections that are projected on three levels: the phrase, the individual movement, and the four-movement cycle. To understand the structure of Piri is not simply to follow its row structure; rather, one must observe how the melodic patterns formed by main tones and their decorations may project or conceal the row structure.