Panel #12: Histories and Mysteries
Panel #13: Applied Musicology and Ethnomusicology
Panel #14: Innovative Methods in Music Education
Panel #15: Innovative Opera Education
Christine Kyprianides (Baroque cellist and viol performer): “John Hullah and Musicology for the Million in Victorian England”
Public musicology was a traditional aspect of musical culture in nineteenth-century England. Nowhere is that better demonstrated than in the life and work of one of the era’s more influential musicians, John Hullah (1812-1884). Hullah is remembered today as an ultimately unsuccessful opera composer (collaborating with Charles Dickens) and sight-singing teacher, while his important contributions to scholarship have been largely overlooked. My presentation focuses on those little-known aspects of Hullah’s career and his outreach to the larger community.
Specifically, I will be looking at the wide range of Hullah’s public interactions as a conductor, teacher, and scholar. He collected music manuscripts and rare editions, using the material in his concerts and publications of vocal music. He established one of the first music libraries accessible to the public. He was a proponent of both ‘ancient’ and new music, as shown in his innovative concert programming. A firm believer in the scientific study of music, Hullah was on the managing committee of the Bach Society of London, founded in 1849; founded himself the short-lived Musical Institute of London in 1851; and was a founding member of the Musical Association in 1874, now the Royal Musical Association. In addition to his singing classes, he lectured widely, wrote popular books on music history, and contributed articles to general periodicals.
I argue that John Hullah, despite his present obscurity, was a central figure in the advancement of music in England during the mid-Victorian period. He waged a life-long campaign to bring music to every class of citizen and to expand the concert repertoire beyond the accepted conservative canon. Hullah’s efforts to promote musical literacy were instrumental in the raising of musical standards in Britain, leading to the so-called English Musical Renaissance of the 1880s and validating the importance of musical scholarship in the public sphere.
About Christine: Christine Kyprianides performs internationally on Baroque cello and viol. She received a DM degree from Indiana University (2009), where she was a visiting scholar in musicology (2010-12). Christine has served on several nonprofit boards, run a music festival, and founded the American Friends of Finchcocks, supporting an English collection of historical keyboard instruments. She has contributed to a book on performance practice, and written reviews and translations for performance journals. Her recent research has focused on the social history of nineteenth-century music in Britain; an article on music in the Charles Dickens journals is forthcoming in Victorian Periodicals Review.
Frederick Reece (Harvard University): “Winfried Michel’s ‘Haydn’: Authorship and Authority in the Strange Case of a Musical Forgery”
Musical forgeries are surprisingly common. From the controversy surrounding Mozart’s Requiem following his death in 1791 to the 2014 scandal of the fake “Japanese Beethoven” Mamoru Samuragochi, public interest in scholarly expertise is consistently piqued in cases where authorship is called into question. Compellingly, forgery pits the musicological method against deceptive objects in a forum where public faith in academic authority lies in the balance. Yet Charles Cudworth  has asserted that in such instances “the public…often has a sneaking admiration for [the forger], as one who has managed to hoodwink the experts, those dastardly enemies of the common man.” Detailed examination of this relationship between forger, scholar, and musical public yields significant insights into the function of musicological expertise in broader society.
Evaluating Cudworth’s claim, this paper explores a case from 1994, when, at the height of the new-musicological moment, the news broke that six recently rediscovered Haydn sonatas were not by Haydn at all. The response was electric: having dubbed the story “The Haydn Scoop of the Century” in BBC Music Magazine, H. C. Robbins-Landon himself was forced to rebrand the sonatas as a brilliant hoax; meanwhile, The Guardian [Lennon, 1994] decried musicology as a discipline where “the status of a document is apparently conferred not by its own antecedents so much as by the status of the messenger who delivers it.” In addressing the competing authorities of physical score and abstract work within and beyond musicology and theory, my own stylistic analysis of these forgeries is complemented by original interviews with Sotheby’s manuscript specialists whose testimony was responsible for their falsification. Juxtaposing scholarly analysis of the objects in question with media coverage illuminates the role that musicology is seen to play in safeguarding authenticity, asking, ultimately, what faith there is that it is up to the task.
About Frederick: Frederick Reece holds a first-class BA in Music from Oxford University and a Diploma in Viola Performance from Trinity College, London. He is currently a fourth-year PhD candidate in Music Theory at Harvard University, where he is completing a dissertation exploring analytical epistemologies of style and authorship through the reception of twentieth-century musical forgeries. Other research interests include the history of tonal theory, media-theoretic approaches to musical transcription, and the representation of speech impediments in popular song. Frederick has presented at conferences across the US and the UK, and his research is published in the Mosaic Journal of Music Research.
Elissa Harbert (Macalester College): “Teaching the Wisest Among Us: Musicology as Elder Care”
Retirement villages and senior living centers offer appreciative, eager audiences for musicologists. From graduate students to experienced faculty, any musicologist can find rich rewards through teaching senior citizens. This form of public musicology enriches the lives of our elders while enhancing our skills and furnishing us with new perspectives on music history.
This talk draws from my experiences volunteering at Carondelet Village in St. Paul, Minnesota, an organization that combines a comprehensive senior living center with a congregation of Catholic Sisters. My 10-week courses, “Romantic Music 101” and “The History of Sacred Music,” became a popular addition to the facility’s Therapeutic Recreation and Life Enhancement programming. Teaching elderly Religious Sisters about the history of sacred music has transformed how I engage with these repertoires in my college classroom, and seeing the emotional catharsis Western art music can inspire reinforced my faith in the vast benefits of this music in a cynical age.
In addition to offering guidance about how to propose, plan, and carry out this kind of class, I will detail how I adapted my teaching strategies to work best for an elderly audience, based on current theories of geriatric education, known as geragogy. When we learn to teach to a group with an astonishing array of cognitive and physical (dis)abilities as well as backgrounds, we can better serve our diverse undergraduate students.
As a rapidly growing industry, many senior living centers will welcome the intellectually stimulating and life-affirming kinds of programming musicologists can provide. This talk presents tools and encouragement to consider offering a one-time lecture or engaging more extensively. By witnessing how much meaning and solace elderly adults find in the music and stories we have to share, our own sense of the power of music history can be revivified and our communication skills honed.
About Elissa: Elissa Harbert is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow at Macalester College, and in the fall she will begin work at DePauw University as Assistant Professor of Music History. She earned her PhD in Musicology at Northwestern University, supported by the American Musicological Society’s Alvin H. Johnson AMS 50 Dissertation Fellowship. She specializes in music of the United States, focusing on the ways U.S. history has been remembered and recreated through music. Her first book project examines how the American Revolutionary War era has been represented musically in film, television, and stage productions from World War II to the present.
Rebecca Dirksen (Indiana University): “Unsound Music on Unstable Ground? The Adventures of Starting a Record Label in Post-quake Haiti”
As a scholar who has spent more than a decade working with Haitian musicians from diverse backgrounds, I have long harbored a dream to start a record label as a parallel track to my “ordinary” academic endeavors. Many of the musicians with whom I have engaged seem to view this venture as entirely reasonable and indeed as expected: why shouldn’t the “wealthy” foreigner with a PhD serve as their manager, publicist, producer, financier, webmaster, and international liaison? But even as Haiti’s dynamic creativity is routinely upheld against prevalent “failed state” and “poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere” narratives, the cultural sector in Haiti, as in many other countries, suffers from entrenched social, political, and economic pressures. To wit, artists are bedraggled by lax copyright laws, and, with a purported 80% of the population living in poverty, piracy is the normative mode of transmission for media materials produced in and outside of Haiti, making any profit from CD and DVD sales a laughing matter. Besides this, the international music industry is apparently bust, and across the globe indie artists have struggled to gain traction as they confront widespread demands that they give away their music “for free.” Despite all of this, in October 2013, I partnered with a Haitian entrepreneur to begin Manoumba Records, now nearing its public debut with an album release by an internationally acclaimed musician. In this presentation, I aim to dig into some of the challenges posed by my role as an interlocutor in the Haitian music scene—including the ethics of my presence and intervention in the aftermath of the devastating 2010 earthquake, which tremendously altered the cultural landscape. This requires examining cultural expectations from both sides of the equation (mine, and “not mine”), and evaluating the relationship between academic and public musicology.
About Rebecca: Rebecca Dirksen is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology at Indiana University. Her primary research concerns music and grassroots development in Haiti before and after the 2010 earthquake. Concurrent projects revolve around creative responses to crisis and disaster, intangible cultural heritage protection, cultural policy, research ethics, and Haitian classical music. Broader research interests expand across the Caribbean and Latin America and include issues of (mis)representation and musical articulations of poverty and violence. Dirksen’s work has appeared in the Yearbook for Traditional Music and the Ethnomusicology Review, and elsewhere.
Su Yin Mak (Chinese University of Hong Kong): “Dramatizing the Musical Experience: Analysis and Performance in an Interactive Approach to Classical Music Appreciation”
Those of us who have engaged in public musicology are often faced with frustration at the inadequacy of programme notes, lectures, and other conventional literary formats as means for communicating musical understanding. On one hand, because lay audiences do not possess specialist vocabulary, we often must rely on verbal descriptions; on the other hand, because music and words are fundamentally different media, verbal descriptions, however detailed, can only approximate the musical experience.
It is my belief that public musicology should aim towards engaging audiences in the direct and visceral nature of musical communication. Drawing upon Christopher Small’s concept of ‘musicking’, which views music as an activity rather than an object for study, I have developed an interactive approach to classical music appreciation that is based on the process of dramatic enactment. The present paper offers a brief illustration of my approach through specific examples: Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 and Piano Sonata in G major, Op. 31 No. 1, 1st movement; ‘Samuel Goldenberg and Samuel Schmuyle’ from Mussorgsky/Ravel’s Pictures at an Exhibition; and an excerpt from Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet overture. For each excerpt, both the musical meaning at stake and the interactive activity I have designed for audiences to enact such meaning will be described. I will demonstrate how dramatic enactment can serve as a means of showing, rather than telling, lay audiences how music may depict actions, ideas and feelings through the interplay of sounds, regardless of whether a programmatic title or description is present. I will also report on how audiences have responded to this approach in my experience.
In conclusion, I will suggest how theoretical and practical perspectives of musical structure might be mediated through (1) embodied descriptions of music, (2) real-time, listening- and experience-based analysis, and (3) non-verbal musical communication.
About Su Yin: Su Yin Mak is Associate Professor of Music Theory at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. A Schubert scholar of international repute, she has published her research in major journals and university presses, and is recipient of the 2008 Emerging Scholar Award from the Society for Music Theory in the USA. Mak’s approach to musical scholarship and pedagogy is interdisciplinary in nature. She has a strong interest in the relationship between musical structure and expression in music, as well as the interactions between analysis and performance. Mak is an active promoter of classical music to the public and is an Artist Associate of the Hong Kong Sinfonietta in the 2014/2015 concert season.
Jonathan Waxman (Hofstra University): “Public Musicology in the Concert Hall: The Evolving Role of Program Notes in Educating 21st-Century Audiences”
While major American symphony orchestras have distributed program notes to audiences since the late nineteenth-century, there have been several recent changes in both their presentation and dissemination. Annotators of the early twentieth-century used a common four-five paragraph format which included a biography of the composer and blow by blow description of the piece often with musical examples. Today, program notes rarely, if ever, provide examples, and instead focus on compositional features that a listener with no musical background can understand before the concert.
This paper will discuss both how program notes in the American concert hall have evolved over the past one hundred years, and how new media is changing the way symphony orchestras provide this information. In today’s notes, non-musical aspects are emphasized. Biographies of composers are longer, and the performance histories of pieces are more thoroughly explained. When musical details are included, they describe the sound on a basic level. While the early twentieth-century program note described important aspects of subsidiary musical themes in prose, today’s notes simply direct listeners to pay attention to broad musical aspects such as instrumentation.
Orchestras are also taking advantage of new media to present program notes. Almost all major symphony orchestras provide these notes on the internet before the concert, but others have done even more to keep their increasingly technologically oriented listeners involved. In 2005, the Kansas City Symphony helped create a proprietary device called the “Concert Companion” that enabled audiences to follow program notes in real time. In 2009, the National Symphony introduced their own version of real-time program notes using the social networking site Twitter during a performance of Beethoven’s Sixth Symphony. Although notes using these new technologies provide similar information found in written program notes, their ability to provide this during the performance makes the experience of listening and learning about music profoundly different for the audience.
About Jonathan: Jonathan Waxman recently completed a Ph.D. in historical musicology at New York University. His research interests include nineteenth- and twentieth-century music, concert life in the United States from 1890-1940, film music, and words and music. He serves on the faculty at Hofstra University, where he teaches a one-semester course in music history and courses in twentieth-century music. Waxman has published an article in the journal Popular Music History, which examines the influence of Ives’s music on the film scores and concert works of Bernard Herrmann. He has presented papers at the annual meeting of the American Musicological Society, the Society for American Music, and several film music conferences. As Vice-President of the Greater New York City chapter of the American Musicological Society, he have supervised several scholarly conferences for the society.
Naomi Barrettara (CUNY-Grad Center / Metropolitan Opera Guild): “Developing Educational Programming for the Opera-Going Public: A 5-Year Retrospective of Program Evolution at the Metropolitan Opera Guild”
Paper: In the Lectures and Community Engagement Department at the Metropolitan Opera Guild, we develop and execute over 100 events per season, designed as a variety of educational experiences for the public. Relying predominantly on ticket sales and registration fees to fund the events, we are constantly striving to create innovative programming that brings the public into our classroom, and engages the audience with critical analysis of musical and interpretive concepts. Drawing from my experiences with the Guild over the past five years, this paper will examine two different educational programs I have been responsible for developing and teaching: Opera Boot Camp, and Score Reading. Opera Boot Camp started as a basic introductory lecture series on operatic terminology, and has expanded to include more interactive courses on the instruments of the orchestra, the history of the art form, surveys of vocal categories, analysis of different interpretive issues, and in-depth studies of ornamentation in different historic periods. Looking for an alternative to the lecture format, the Score Reading program was developed as a classroom style course on basic music reading; it has since evolved into a series of classes focused on compositional structure and techniques in specific operas, and paired with score desk tickets to live performances for practical application of lessons learned in the classroom. While the format and content for each program differs, both programs rely on the integration of technology in a variety of ways, and have experimented with making content available outside the classroom for continued learning. Through an examination of the development behind each program, this paper will specifically analyze how fostering an environment of lifelong learning, the strategic use of technology, and the incorporation of musicological scholarship in accessible ways have formed the core of each program’s success.
Workshop: Following the paper presentation described above, this workshop will focus on the creative process of developing public programming, working through the building blocks of successful planning and execution. With the guidance of workshop leader Naomi Barrettara, workshop attendees will participate in the process of brainstorming possibilities for public programming linked to a variety of musical performance genres, and workshop the development process behind the planning, creation, and execution of educational musical events geared towards public audiences. Discussions of topic selections, content coverage, program cohesion, and formatting of events will be addressed, as well as brainstorming basic strategies for marketing, awareness, and audience building. The workshop is designed to be interactive and collaborative, with a goal of providing participants with inspiration and a practical framework of program development that can be adapted to their own organizations and initiatives.
About Naomi: Currently a Ph.D. student in Musicology at the CUNY Graduate Center, Naomi Barrettara works as a staff lecturer and Program Development Consultant at the Metropolitan Opera Guild. Her research focus areas include opera studies and classical music in the digital age. Naomi’s work at the Met Opera Guild has spanned from family workshops to adult score reading classes, and she is the resident instructor of Opera Boot Camp, a popular introductory lecture series that has expanded to cover a variety of opera-related topics. In addition to her public lecturing, Naomi works as a copywriter for the Met HD Live in Schools Educator Guides.