Music Theory

Activities and Accomplishments 2016–17

This page lists conference activity, publications, and other accomplishments of students and faculty in the music theory department from fall 2016 through spring 2017. See this page for more recent accomplishments.


Spring 2017

Sommer wins Wennerstrom AI Fellowship

The theory department is pleased to announce that PhD student Jessica Sommer is the 2017 winner of the Wennerstrom Music Theory Associate Instructor Fellowship.

Tan article published in JMT

Professor Daphne Tan's article "'As Forming Becomes Form': Listening, Analogizing, and Analysis in Kurth's Bruckner and Musikpsychologie" appears in vol. 61, no. 1 of the Journal of Music Theory, pp. 1–28.

Hook performs at Battersby memorial concert

On April 6, Professor Julian Hook performed Brahms's Capriccio in B Minor, Op. 76, No. 2 at a memorial celebration for Edmund Battersby, Professor of Piano, in Auer Hall. Professor Hook studied piano with Battersby from 1995 to 1999.

Komaniecki wins student paper award at SCSMT

Congratulations to PhD student Robert Komaniecki, whose paper "Coercing the Verse: An Analysis of Relationships between Lead and Guest Rappers" received the Best Student Paper Award at the annual meeting of the South Central Society for Music Theory, which took place at the University of Memphis on March 17–18.

Mead viola sonata premiered

On February 13, Professor Andrew Mead's Second Sonata for solo viola was premiered in Ford-Crawford Hall by Caitlyn Fukai on her master's recital.

Mead presents on Sorabji at Iowa

On February 10, Professor Andrew Mead presented a paper "Gradus ad Sorabji" at the University of Iowa, prior to a performance of Sorabji's Second Organ Symphony, the inaugural concert of a new Klais organ. He also turned pages for five hours of the performance!

Tan receives New Frontiers award

Professor Daphne Tan's project "Music Theory and the Humanities in Mid-Century America: The Case of Victor Zuckerkandl" has been named the winner of a New Frontiers of Creativity and Scholarship award, administered by the IU Office of the Vice President for Research. Her project is devoted to a critical examination of the writings of music theorist and philosopher Victor Zuckerkandl (1896–1965). It focuses on the early decades of music theory in North America, reevaluates music theory as a "public scholarship" discipline, and explores unrecognized connections between music theory (Schenkerian, specifically) and humanistic scholarship.

Tan-Temperley article published in Music Perception

Professor Daphne Tan's article "Perception and Familiarity of Diatonic Modes," coauthored with David Temperley of the Eastman School of Music, has been published in vol. 34, no. 3 of the journal Music Perception.

Komaniecki presents at FSU

On January 21, PhD student Robert Komaniecki presented his paper "Coercing the Verse: An Analysis of Musical Relationships between Lead and Guest Rappers" at the Florida State University Music Theory Forum in Tallahassee.


Fall 2016

Hamm defends dissertation

On December 8, Chelsey Hamm successfully defended her dissertation, "Charles Ives and Democracy: Association, Borrowing, and Treatment of Dissonance in His Music," advised by Professor Marianne Kielian-Gilbert. Congratulations, Dr. Hamm!

Mead composition premiered

Professor Andrew Mead's Concerto No. 2 for Alto Saxophone and 22 Players (2006) received its premiere performance on December 2 at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. The work was performed by saxophonist Jonathan Hostottle with an ensemble under the direction of Braxton Blake.

Samarotto essay included in award-winning collection

Professor Frank Samarotto's essay "Temporal Poise and Oblique Dynamic in the First Movement of Beethoven's 'Archduke Trio" was included in the collection Bach to Brahms: Essays on Musical Design and Structure, edited by David Beach and Yosef Goldenberg (University of Rochester Press, 2015), which won the Society for Music Theory's Outstanding Multi-Author Award at the society's annual meeting in Vancouver.

IU theorists active at SMT-AMS conference

Despite the distant location, the IU theory department was well represented at the annual meeting of the Society for Music Theory, a joint meeting with the American Musicological Society in Vancouver, British Columbia, on November 3–6. Eight faculty, about fifteen current graduate students, and numerous alumni of the department were in attendance.

Faculty and students who participated in the conference included the following:

  • PhD candidate Nathan Beary Blustein presented "Playwriting in Song: 'Reprise Types' in Stephen Sondheim's Sweeney Todd."

  • PhD candidate Devin Chaloux chaired a session titled "Cipriano de Rore's Quincentenary: Looking Back at His Madrigals with Modern Eyes," sponsored by SMT's Early Music Analysis Interest Group.

  • Professor Julian Hook presented "On Intervals, Distances, and Groups" in the meeting of SMT's Mathematics of Music Analysis Interest Group; he also chaired a conference session titled "Concepts, Spaces, Sounds."

  • Professor Gretchen Horlacher presented "Movement in Music and Dance: A Neoclassical Collaboration for Orpheus."

  • Professor Andrew Mead presented "Between Innocence and Experience: How Analysis Might or Might Not Have Affected My Hearing of Milton Babbitt's Music"; he also chaired a conference session titled "Performing Babbitt and Morris."

  • PhD student Ryan Taycher presented "De fundamento discanti."

Alumni of the department who presented or chaired sessions at the conference included Bruno Alcalde (MM 2012), Sara Bakker (PhD 2013), Mark Butler (PhD 2003), Timothy Chenette (PhD 2013), Mitchell Ohriner (PhD 2011), and Victoria Malawey (PhD 2007).

Samarotto article published

Professor Frank Samarotto's article "The Urlinie, Melodic Energies, and the Dynamics of Inner Form" has appeared in a special issue (vol. 21, no. 2) of the Rivista di Analisi e Teoria Musicale devoted to Schenker's Formenlehre. An abstract of his article is available here.

GTA presents annual recital

On October 14, the annual Graduate Theory Association Fall Recital took place in Auer Hall. Performers included theory graduate students Chelsea Brinda (voice), Nicole DiPaolo (piano), Leah Frederick (viola), David Geary (voice), Stephen Gomez (euphonium), John Heilig (saxophone), Robert Komaniecki (voice), Stephen Komer (piano), Nathan Lam (clarinet), Emily Lamb (viola), Sarah Mahnken (euphonium), Jessica Sommer (oboe), and Lauren Wilson (guitar), as well as Professors Kyle Adams (piano) and Julian Hook (piano).

Samarotto presents workshop, lecture at Michigan

On October 7, Professor Frank Samarotto presented a lecture, "What's the Use of Outmoded Theories? Rehearing Brahms's Third Symphony" in the Carrigan Lecture Series at the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance. While in Ann Arbor he also led an analysis workshop.

Kraehenbuehl Prize awarded to Sherrill and Boyle

Congratulations to Paul Sherrill and Matthew Boyle, whose article "Galant Recitative Schemas" has been awarded the 2016 David Kraehenbuehl Prize of the Journal of Music Theory.

Paul completed his PhD in 2016, and Matthew is currently a PhD candidate. They are both students of Professor Roman Ivanovitch.

The Kraehenbuehl Prize, named for the journal's founding editor, is awarded biennially for the best article published in JMT by a scholar untenured at the time of submission—or, in this case, by two scholars who were graduate students at the time of submission! The winning article appeared in vol. 59, no. 1 (2015) of JMT. The award citation written by the selection committee reads as follows:

Some of us might have a tendency to drift off during those “notoriously formulaic” recitative passages especially within opera performances, while looking forward to the next gorgeous aria or ensemble. Thanks to the work of Sherrill and Boyle, we’ll be listening to recitatives more carefully at the next opportunity. Their very readable account provides an immediately useful typology of recitative gestures. As the authors thoroughly acknowledge, individual recitative gestures have been identified by others; Sherrill and Boyle are the first to create an inventory of the fifteen most common stock formulas, or schemas, that arise in recitatives from diverse vocal and instrumental genres in music ranging from Cesti, Carissimi, Handel, Galuppi, Gluck, Haydn, and Mozart to Beethoven, Rossini, Bellini, Mendelssohn, Wagner, and Stravinsky. The authors lay forth prototypical schema characteristics as bases for their categorization—morphological (contour) features, types of harmonic (continuo) support, semantic associations (for a few cases), and syntactic roles within phrase structures expressing initiatory, medial, and closing functions. They range widely through many relevant topics, including discussions of poetic meter, libretti, symbolism, repertoire, and contemporary treatises, and their scholarly apparatus references a wide range of scholarship, both historical and theoretical. They make the character of the schemas vivid by colorful, text-associated names and typical schema roles, placed in playful analogy with actions (ruff and finesse) in old-fashioned card games. The gestures are clear and so recognizable, and so immediately applicable, that we imagine the article will be frequently cited. Sherrill and Boyle’s fine analysis of scenes from the first act of Mozart’s Così fan tutte demonstrates what can happen to this distinct, “forgotten” recitative language in the dramatic imagination of an ingenious composer.

New students welcomed

In August 2016, the music theory department welcomed new students into our MM and PhD programs.

New MM students:

Tyler Erickson (Commack, NY). Tyler completed a Bachelor of Music degree in double bass performance at New York University. His interests include musical meter (particularly in Brahms) and post-tonal theory. He enjoys watching movies and dabbling in Korean traditional drumming.

Stephen Gomez-Peck (Orleans, MA). Stephen completed a bachelor’s degree in music education at Ithaca College. His interests include pedagogy, the analysis of music since World War II (with a special interest in Karel Husa), and jazz theory. Stephen loves running and being in nature, and as a trumpet player he particularly enjoys playing in concert bands and jazz ensembles.

Madeleine Howey (Watertown, SD). A percussionist, Madeleine graduated from Concordia College (Moorhead, MN) with a Bachelor of Arts in music and mathematics. Besides percussion, her musical interests include post-tonal theory, performance and analysis, and text setting.

Emily Lamb (Elizabethton, TN). Emily holds degrees in both viola performance and music theory from Furman University. Among her musical interests are string quartets, musical borrowing and quotation, and theory pedagogy. She also enjoys watching cooking shows, practicing yoga, and playing chamber music.

Stephen McFall (Aiken, SC). Stephen holds a bachelor’s degree in oboe performance with a minor in mathematics from Winthrop University (Rock Hill, SC). His interests include music perception and cognition, 20th- and 21st-century music, minimalism, and Nordic music. He also enjoys baking bread, keeping track of the news from Iceland, cheering for Swansea City football club, and spending time with his wife, Angelica, and their one-year-old son, Soren. 

New PhD students:

John Heilig (Cooper City, FL). John completed a bachelor’s degree in music theory at Florida State University and a master’s degree in music theory at IU. As a saxophonist, he is classically trained but also enjoys playing jazz. Besides the saxophone repertoire, his other interests include minimalism, text setting, and “all things pasta.”

Jinny Park (Tallahassee, FL). Jinny received a bachelor’s degree in cello performance from Florida State University and a master’s degree in music theory from IU. Her interests include philosophical approaches to music, medieval and Renaissance music, transformational theory, and twentieth-century sacred music. 

Aaron Sunstein. Aaron is a candidate for the Doctor of Music degree in organ performance at IU as he joins the PhD program in music theory. His interests include music of the 1620s as well as more recent composers such as Gunther Schuller, Mauricio Kagel, and Max Reger. In 2015 he premiered Schuller’s Symphony for Solo Organ in Boston. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Iowa and a master’s degree from Musikhögskolan i Piteå (Sweden). 

Abigail York (Kansas City, MO). Abigail holds a Bachelor of Music in music theory from the University of Missouri–Kansas City. Her interests include music theory pedagogy, rhythm and meter, and the synthesis of hermeneutical approaches deployed in literary criticism with approaches to meaning in music theory.


Previous years

Activities and Accomplishments 2015–16

Activities and Accomplishments 2014–15

Activities and Accomplishments 2013–14