2012 Commencement: Congratulations to All Our Grads!

The Department of Music at Columbia University warmly congratulates all of our graduating majors, concentrators, and graduate students and their families on the occasion of the 2012 Columbia University Commencement.

Alumnus Profile: Graduating Music Major Matthew Star Wins Louis Sudler Prize!

Above photo: Matthew Star (CC '12) and Sarah Dooley (BC '11) in the recording studio. Click to enlarge.

Graduating Music Major Matthew Star wins Louis Sudler Prize

The Department of Music congratulates graduating senior and music major Matthew Star, who has been awarded Columbia's prestigious Louis Sudler Prize in the Arts.  The Sudler Prize is awarded annually to a graduating Columbia College senior who, in the opinion of the Faculty, has demonstrated excellence of the highest standards of proficiency in performance or execution or in the field of composition in one of the following general areas of performing and creative arts: music, theatre, painting, sculpture, design, architecture, or film.

Mr. Star was awarded the Sudler Prize for his senior honors thesis, which entailed producing a new album of music by Sarah Dooley's (herself a Barnard College alumna, 2011). This project grew out of conversations Mr. Star had with the Computer Music Center's Terry Pender about what it means to be a 21st century music producer, especially with the advances in recording technology.   Star writes that "after [these] discussions, I read as much as I could about record producing and recording techniques to learn how to use all of the Computer Music Center's recording equipment and microphones. Sarah had always wanted to record an album of her original songs; she's an amazing songwriter but she's always been a solo artist, meaning each song only has vocals and piano parts. In producing her album, I arranged and recorded instrumental parts, and then mixed them all together."  He also worked extensively with Prof. Brad Garton, Director of the Computer Music Center.

Two of the completed songs produced by Mr. Star for Ms. Dooley's album may be heard at Ms. Dooley's website: http://sarahdooley.bandcamp.com/

Mr. Star is spending the summer in New York City, recording, building up his music library and doing freelance jobs, as well as scoring a web series and a video game, and recording as much music as he can. He plans to continue his career in music and media production.

Mr. Star is also bassist for the band Capital, which features fellow Columbia graduating seniors and Jazz Performance Program students Jesse Chevan and Evan Johnston.

Matthew Star Biography:
Mr. Star got his first taste of music with piano lessons when he was 6 years old.

Columbia DMA Alumni Alex Mincek, Kate Soper, & Huck Hodge Win 2012 Guggenheim Fellowships

The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation has awarded Fellowships to Columbia Composition (DMA) alumni Kate Soper, Alex Mincek, and Huck Hodge.  Appointed on the basis of prior achievement and exceptional promise, the 181 successful candidates for 2012 Guggenheim Fellowships were chosen from a group of almost 3,000 applicants.

World Music Ensembles for Fall 2012 -- Bluegrass, Gagaku, Hogaku, Middle Eastern, Klezmer, Latin! (MUSI V1625)

Course Information

Course Title: 
World Music Ensembles (ALL)
CU Directory Course Number: 
MUSI V1625
Varies by ensemble

For Fall 2012, the Department of Music and the Music Performance Program are pleased to offer six "World Music" ensembles, including Bluegrass, Klezmer, Japanese Gagaku/Hogaku (separate ensembles), Middle Eastern, and Latin groups.  All four are offfered as 1 or 2 credit ensembles under the course number MUSI V1625. (Click on each section number to go to the associated Directory of Classes listing.)

NB: For most participants, these ensembles expect a year-long commitment (fall and spring semester registration) and hold auditions for new members ONLY in the Fall.

For more information on these ensembles, contact:
The CU Music Performance Program (Becky Lu, Program Coordinator)
Office Hours: Tuesday-Friday, 12:00 to 5:00PM in 618 Dodge
Email: mpp@columbia.edu         Phone: (212) 854-1257
Website: www.music.columbia.edu/mpp/

Section 001

Call Number: 64457 Points: 1-2 
Instructor: Jordan Shapiro


Orchestration (MUSI W4526, Fall 2012)

Course Information

Course Title: 
CU Directory Course Number: 
MUSI W4526

Fall 2012 Music W4526
Section 001 Call Number: 65942 Points: 3
Day/Time: TR 8:40am-9:55am
Location: To be announced
Instructor: TBA

Classical and Romantic music is normally studied with an eye to the vertical and horizontal organization of tones (harmony and counterpoint) and to the organization of form and rhythm (musical analysis), as well as from a historical perspective. Rules of orchestration are also crucial to fully understanding a work of music.

The goal of this course is to study different principles of "functional" orchestration, with examples taken mainly from eighteenth and nineteenth century music (Haydn, Beethoven, Schubert, Brahms, Wagner, Mahler, etc.). "Functional orchestration" designates different instrumental techniques for organizing the musical work such as crescendos, contrasts, opposition of themes, climax, melodic movements, counterpoint and voice leading, distinction and fusion, resonance, "wet"/"dry" sounds, doubling and mixtures, complex textures, etc.

Students will also write practical exercises "in the style of" various composers under the instructor's supervision.This seminar is for undergraduate students as well as for graduate students in composition, historical musicology, and music theory. It is given once a year only. The ability to read and write orchestral music is required.

Techniques of Twentieth-Century Music

Course Information

Course Title: 
Techniques of 20th Century Music
CU Directory Course Number: 
MUSI V3310

Fall 2012 Music V3310
Section 001 Call Number: 22386 Points: 3
Time/day, location, instructor TBA shortly
Materials, styles, and techniques of 20th-century music. Topics include scales, chords, sets, atonality, serialism, neoclassicism, and rhythm. Prerequisites: MUSI V3322 or instructor's permission.

This course fulfills the requirement of the 3000-level advanced theory elective, or the non-tonal repertoire course (not both) for the Major.

The prerequisite for this course is V3321x Chromatic Harmony and Counterpoint I.

Theories of Heinrich Schenker & Introduction to Schenkerian Analysis (MUSI V3305/6305, Fall 2012)

Course Information

Course Title: 
Theories of Heinrich Schenker/Intro to Schenkerian Analysis
CU Directory Course Number: 
MUSI V3305 / MUSI G6305

Undergraduate Section: (MUSI V3305)

Fall 2012 Music V3305
Section 001 Call Number: 26154 Points: 3  
Day/Time: M 9:10am-11:00am Location: To be announced
Day/Time: W 9:10am-10:00am Location: To be announced
Notes: (This is a "SWING" class w/G6305, and may only be taken by graduate students under that number.)
Instructor: TBA
Bulletin: http://www.columbia.edu/cu/bulletin/uwb/subj/MUSI/V3305-20123-001/
Courseworks: https://courseworks.columbia.edu/public/20123MUSI3305V001

Graduate Section:  (MUSI G6305)

Fall 2012 Music G6305
Section 001 Call Number: 13288 Points: 3
Day/Time: M 9:10am-11:00am Location: To be announced
Day/Time: R 10:10am-12:00pm Location: To be announced
Notes: ("SWING" CLASS W/V3305)
Bulletin: http://www.columbia.edu/cu/bulletin/uwb/subj/MUSI/G6305-20123-001/
Courseworks: https://courseworks.columbia.edu/public/20123MUSI6305G001

An examination of Schenker's concepts of the relation between strict counterpoint and free writing; "prolongation"; the "composing-out" of harmonies; the parallels and distinctions between "foreground," "middleground," and "background"; and the interaction between composing-out and thematic proesses to create "form." This course fulfills the requirement of the 3000-level advanced theory elective for the Major.

The New Republic: Columbia Musicians Honor the Legendary Nick Hathaway

The current blog of The New Republic features a story on the legendary songwriter and composer Nick Hathaway, described by his discoverer and Columbia Journalism Professor David Hajdu as "the genre- and taste-defying songsmith known for having the kind of talent that is truly not to be believed."

The blog post is in honor of the first anniversary of Hathaway's death at the piano in Chester, Pennsylvania, on April 1, 2011. It features a riveting video performance of Hathaway's best-loved unheard piece of work: the words and music he wrote for "Man in a Mousetrap," the conceptual production directed in 1953 by the avant-gardist Jeffrey Cordova. Here, in the piece's debut, Theo Bleckmann, the esteemed experimental vocalist, performs "Man in a Mousetrap" at Columbia University, with Jon Weber (pianist and host of the NPR radio series "Piano Jazz Rising Stars"), Chris Washburne (respected trombonist and director of the Jazz Performance Program at Columbia), and the violinist and scholar (and Columbia musicology PhD candidate) Matthew Morrison.  The performance also features a consideration of Hathaway's historical importance by Columbia's Edwin Case Professor of Music, George Lewis, who concludes that "in the history of the American avant-garde, Nick Hathaway stands out as a figure of rare conventionality."

Prof. George Lewis Receives USA Walker Fellowship

On Wednesday, December 7th, 50 outstanding performing, visual, media and literary artists were awarded with USA Fellowship grants of $50,000 each, in Santa Monica, CA.

Professor George Lewis, the Edwin H. Case Professor of American Music, was one of the awardees, receiving the USA Walker Fellowship.

George Lewis is a composer, trombonist, improviser, educator, and a pioneer of computer music. Lewis has been a member of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) since 1971, and studied at its school under USA Prudential Fellow Muhal Richards Abrams. Lewis's work with musicians from Count Basie to John Zorn is documented in over 140 recordings. He has also created and performed with interactive computer systems since the late 1970s and has collaborated with visual artists, roboticists, and turntablists in sound installations. He is the Edwin H. Case Professor of American Music at Columbia University and won a MacArthur Fellowship in 2002.

Photo credit Eileen Barroso

Spring 2012 -- Courses in the Department of Music

Explore our course offerings for Spring 2012!

V2014 Popular Musics- Americas: Country Music    
Instructor: Aaron Fox Call #: 68348, 3 pts, TR 2:40pm-3:55pm, 405 Dodge
This is an undergraduate lecture/discussion survey course that combines a detailed musical and social history of "country" as an American and global popular music genre with an introduction to key issues in the academic study of popular music as exemplified by the growing scholarly literature on country. Inarguably, the genre (formerly known as "hillbilly" and "country and western" and sometimes "folk" music) constitutes a crucially important strand in the history of music in the 20th century, both in the United States and globally.

V3030 Asian American Music    
Instructor: Ellie Hisama Call #: 62292, 3 pts, MW 10:35am-11:50am, 404 Dodge
Examination of the diverse ways in which Asian Americans have understood and shaped their musical prac- tices. We will explore the ways in which Asians have been represented via sound, text, and image, and will consider Asian Americans' participation in composed music traditions, jazz, traditional/folk music, diasporic music, improvised music, and popular musics. The course will reflect on readings from musicology, ethnomu- sicology, and music theory as well as fields outside of music in order to consider Asian American music in relation to critical issues of diaspora, race/ethnicity, gender/sexuality, polyculturalism, and political activism.