Prof. Georg F. Haas, recently appointed as Professor of Music Composition at Columbia, is featured in a Feb. 20, 2014 profle in the New York Times, entitled Varied Pitches to Fill Empty Spaces: Georg Friedrich Haas's Works Are Rooted in Microtonality. The article was written by Vivien Schweitzer.
Mr. Haas's works are rooted in microtonality -- a system that divides the conventional scale of Western classical music into many more than its usual 12 semitone pitches. (His opera "Thomas" incorporates some 1,600 different pitches.) In Europe, composers like Ligeti and Penderecki used microtones; American composers including Charles Ives, Harry Partch and La Monte Young have also breached the standard division of the octave.
In Mr. Haas's scores, these microtones result in opulent and otherworldly harmonies that at times seem impossible to have been produced by acoustic instruments. On the two occasions I heard the excellent Argento Chamber Ensemble perform his "In Vain," a masterpiece of glistening sonorities that unfurls in hypnotic waves of sound, I had the sense of hearing something unique.
Announcing new and featured courses in Music for Spring 2014!
Click on the image to enlarge the poster (PDF).
V3127 Bach's Vocal Music
Instructor: Laura Weber
Call #: 67320, 3 pts
MW 6:10pm-7:25pm, 404 Dodge
This course will examine the vocal works of J.S. Bach and the historical, cultural, and liturgical contexts in which they were created. We will focus on sacred works through close engagement with a selection of cantatas, the St. Matthew Passion, and the B Minor Mass. Over the course of the semester, students will gain an understanding of their place within Bach's oeuvre; their role in Lutheran devotional practice, particularly in Leipzig; the musical innovations Bach brought to these genres; and his techniques for expressing the texts and enhancing the liturgical contexts in which they were performed.
V3310 Techniques of 20th Century Music
Instructor: Benjamin Steege
Call #: 27445, 3 pts
MW 8:40am-9:55am, 620 Dodge
Intensive analysis and interpretation of selected works from the past century, with emphasis on the historical contexts of compositional technique. Topics include scales, chords, sets, atonality, serialism, neoclassicism, and rhythm.
G4122 Songs of the Troubadours
Instructor: Susan Boynton
Call #: 78449, 4 pts
W 10:10am-12:00pm, 701A Dodge
This interdisciplinary seminar approaches the songs of the troubadours as poetic and musical traditions. Together we will develop methods for analysis and interpretation, situate the songs within literary and social history, and address broad issues such as the nature of performance, the interplay between orality and writing, the origins of troubadour poetry, fin'amor, and gender. Students will learn to analyze the poetic and musical structure of the songs and to transcribe and edit them from medieval manuscripts. Weekly assignments in Paden's Introduction to Old Occitan will familiarize students with the language of the texts; one hour a week will be devoted to going over texts in the original language using Paden's book. Individually designed paper assignments will take students' backgrounds into account;; students from all departments are welcome.
G6205 Billie Holiday: The Origins of a Style
Instructor: John Szwed
Call #: 12904, 3 pts,
R 4:10pm-6:00pm, 701A Dodge
This seminar will introduce students to the life and music of Billie Holiday. Because Holiday's style and repertoire drew on many sources and shifted radically several times throughout her life, attention will be paid to her sources among women singers in European, American, and African-American cabaret, Broadway musical theater, African American folk music, and Tin Pan Alley popular music. The nature of song itself will be considered, especially in terms of its social functions and how singers and audiences understand sung performances. We will also examine Holiday's autobiography, as well as films and documentaries of her life. Prerequisites: A Course in Jazz Studies or the equivalent.
New Currents in Hip-Hop Studies: Theory and Analysis
Instructor: Ellie Hisama
Call #: 72547, 3 pts
R 2:10pm-4:00pm, 701A Dodge
This seminar examines hip hop from a music-theoretical perspective, focusing on close readings of music analyzed alongside recent scholarly workonhip-hop. We will explore some of the key texts that have presented theoretical and analytical work on hiphop music, and students will prepare their own listening-based analyses of selected works throughout the term, culminating with a final presentation and paper. Throughout the course, we will track key words in hip hop studies such as race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, politics, society, class, representation, and diaspora, focusing on recordings, performances, videos, and films. Readings will help to locate music, artists, and genres within their various contexts, which in tum will assist us in our analysis of specific works. The enrollment is open to graduate students only.
G8111 HM-20th Cent.: American Popular Song of the "Golden" Age, 1900-1960
Instructor: Walter Frisch
Call #: 10089, 3 pts
T 2:10pm-4:00pm, 701A Dodge
We will look at American popular song from the early Tin Pan Alley era into the age of recording, radio and television broadcast, Broadway, and Hollywood. Composers will include renowned figures like Berlin, Kern, Gershwin, Arlen, Porter, and Rodgers. Emphasis will be on both historical and cultural contexts and on musical/ analytical methodologies.
The Music & Arts Library has mounted an exhibition of works by Marcelo Toledo entitled Northern Skies. Toledo, an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Music in the Music Department at Columbia University was born in Argentina in 1964. His compositions have been presented at International festivals and new music concerts for over 10 years.
Presented in the exhibition are images of scores entitled Noturno (2010), Dos miradas fugaces a la noche (2012), and Luminous emptiness (2012). All of these works derive their sonic elements from the images of 21 constellations visible in the northern hemisphere for part of the year.
Toledo writes, "A permanent back and forth between sound material and its notation occurs in the representation of musical ideas. The clear representation of visual materials re-injects new possibilities into the compositional process. The flexibility of the mechanism of representation expands the musical materials and opens--in an almost rhizomatic way--the intermediate states of the sound/image relationship."
Toledo's interest in the visual representation in music was first presented in the solo exhibition Sound Object at The LeRoy Neiman Gallery, Columbia University School of the Arts in 2004.
Patricia Carpenter (1923-2000) was a Professor of Music Theory at Barnard College and Columbia University. Her areas of scholarly interest included music theory, the history of music theory, musical analysis, and the aesthetics of music.
Prof. Carpenter was born in Santa Rosa, California on January 21, 1923. She studied several instruments, primarily piano with Ruth Leginska, as well as percussion, bassoon, and conducting. She conducted the San Bernadino Symphony. Learning of Arnold Schoenberg from Leginska, she wrote asking him for lessons (correspondence is preserved in the Arnold Schoenberg Center in Vienna). From 1942 to 1949 she studied with Schoenberg, and in 1944 she gave the Los Angeles premier of his Piano Concerto in the two-piano version. She was initially accepted into the composition program at Columbia University to study with Douglas Moore, and her compositions included several chamber and orchestra works. Under the supervision of Albert Hofstader in philosophy and Paul Henry Lang in musicology, she embarked upon studies in the aesthetics and history of music. She completed her Ph.D. in Music and Philosophy at Columbia in 1972. The first woman to present a keynote address to the Society of Music Theory, she served as its Vice-President from 1992 to 1994.
Hubert A. Doris graduated from The High School for the Performing Arts, New York City. He began his post graduate studies at Harvard College earning a Bachelor of Arts. He continued his studies with Nadia Boulanger in Paris for two years, and completed his education at Columbia University, where he earned the Master of Arts in Music.
He began his career at Columbia University as an instructor in the Department of Music, but soon transferred to Barnard College. During his tenure at Barnard College, he was the interim president of Mannes College of Music for two years, after which he returned to Barnard, where he taught various courses in music history, theory, and composition.
He retired as professor emeritus in 1994. He was born Feb. 13, 1928, in New York City, and died June 8, 2008, at his residence in Hancock, Maine.
Music Department Alumnus Dr. Daniel Schechter (BA 1983/MA 1987) recalls studying with Prof. Doris:
Hubert Doris was a professor with a wry sense of humor whose face brightened when he heard the music of Rameau. He was able to impart the shocking originality and "avant-gardeness" of the ballet Les Indes Galantes. I have copied below the image of the same frontespiece of the score to that ballet that he showed us both by playing it AND by doing a bit of baroque dance. What a trip! Whenever I hear Rameau, Hubert Doris is not far away in my thoughts.
Fall 2013 News and announcements from the Composition Program
Yoshiaki Onishi's Gaudeamus-commissioned work "Tramespace, diptych for large ensemble, Part I" (2012~13) was performed by Asko|Schonberg Ensemble in September 2013 in Utrecht, The Netherlands.
Taylor Brook received an honorable mention from the Jules Leger prize for the second year in a row as well as MIVOS prize for El jardin de senderos que se bifurcan, a string quartet composed for a CC concert.
Zosha di Castri's music received numerous performances. This past September, there were three performances of "Lineage" by the San Francisco Symphony, directed by Michael Tilson Thomas. "The Animal After Whom Other Animals Are Named", commissioned by Ekmeles, received its premiere with the help of the Canada Council for the Arts. She has received a commission for Esprit Orchestra for May 2014. The Toronto Symphony Orchestra, conducted by John Adams, will perform her "Lineage" in March 2014.
Alec Hall was elected for the Ensemble Contemporain de Montreal's "Generation 2014" project. The award consists of a workshop in Montreal this March, followed by a week in Banff in November, then an 8-city/concert cross-Canada tour.
Ashkan Behzadi received Second Prize in the SOCAN young composer competition for 2013. He also won the Sir Ernest MacMillan Awards for "Urban Trilogy" for chamber orchestra, the Fontainebleau Prix de Composition for "Az hoosh mi.." for soprano and violin, and was named the winner of the APNM competition/call for scores for "Az hoosh mi.." for soprano and violin.
Sky MacKlay's orchestra piece Dissolving Bands was awarded the Leo Kaplan Award, the top prize in the ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Awards.
Bryan Jacobs' Dis Un Il Im Ir received Honorable Mention in the Conlon Music 2013 competition (Amsterdam). Le La en Le received First Prize in the Presque Rien 2013 competition (Paris).
Christopher Trapani was named the winner of the Third Jezek Prize in Composition, 2013.
Courtney Bryan's New Work for orchestra and recorded sound was commissioned by American Composers Orchestra Underground Ensemble, for a Carnegie Hall, New York, NY, 2015-16 premiere. Walking with 'Trane, a collaboration, was commissioned by Urban Bush Women, New York, NY, for 2014 premiere. And New Work for String Quartet was commissioned by Spektral String Quartet for Mobile Miniatures Project, for a Chicago, IL, 2014 premiere.
Nina C. Young's Remnants received the Audience Choice Award at the ACO's 2013 Underwood New Music Readings. Tanglewood Music Center has also commissioned new work from Ms. Young for the 2014 TMC Brass Ensemble.
Stylianos Dimou participated in the Royaumont Voix nouvelles composition course 2013, and the 5th Composers' Forum ['tactus 2013] with the Brussels Philharmonic; Mr. Dimou's L'allegorie de la caverne, for orchestra (2011-2012) was selected as the winning piece to be performed again by the Brussels Philharmonic in 2014.
Columbia Music Scholarship Conference 2014 (March 8, 2014)
CLICK HERE to be redirected to the conference website.
Call for Abstracts on the theme: Music and Memory (ABSTRACT DEADLINE DEC. 15, 2013)
The Columbia Music Scholarship Conference invites graduate students and recent Ph.D. recipients to submit abstracts to be selected for presentation at our tenth annual meeting on March 8, 2014 at Columbia University in New York. The theme of the 2014 meeting will be Music and Memory.
Burgeoning interdisciplinary inquiry on memory is enabling scholars to develop new perspectives in a diverse array of fields ranging from history, anthropology, sociology, literary studies, art history, archeology, cultural studies, and media studies, to philosophy, political science, theology, education, psychology, and the cognitive sciences. This conference will add to this growing interdisciplinary conversation about memory in the sciences, arts, and humanities, stimulating a dialogue both on the role of memory in music studies and on the place of music in studies of memory. We are soliciting proposals for twenty-minute presentations from scholars active in all music disciplines as well as from scholars in related fields, aiming to maximize the theoretical and methodological breadth of the discussion.
The Ditson Conductor's Award is awarded for distinguished contributions to American music, and given annually by Columbia University. It was presented to Prof. Milarsky at Alice Tully Hall on November 15, during a concert by the Juilliard Orchestra conducted by Prof. Milarsky. The $5,000 award, which was established in 1945, was presented by the pianist Gilbert Kalish, the head of the Ditson advisory committee.
Hear the CU Orchestra perform music of Debussy, Strauss, and Prokofiev, under the direction of Maestro Milarsky, on Sunday, December 1st (8PM, Roone Arledge Auditorium) and again on Sunday December 8, 2013 (8PM, Miller Theater). Both concerts are free and open to the public!
Matthew Hough (b. 1981) is a composer, guitarist, professor and music theorist currently living in Brooklyn, New York.
Hough's achievements as a composer include commissions from Iktus Percussion, Yarn/Wire, Loadbang, Red Light New Music and the Freeport, New York school district. He has received awards and grants from New Music USA, the Sally Mead Hands Foundation, Pollock-Krasner Foundation, Minnesota Orchestra and the New York Youth Symphony.
Hough's work as a guitarist includes six years with the band Zs, which he co-founded in 2000. He has also performed with the Wet Ink Ensemble, Argento Chamber Ensemble, Dither Guitar Quartet and Matthew Welch's Blarvuster.
Hough's writing has appeared in the journal Guitar Review and the Ear To Mind Newspaper.
Hough holds a DMA in composition from the Manhattan School of Music (2012), where his primary teachers were Reiko Fueting and Nils Vigeland. In addition to his work at Columbia, Hough has taught at New York University, Manhattan School of Music, Wagner College, Nyack College, and SUNY Empire State College.