New and Featured Courses in Music for Spring 2014

Announcing new and featured courses in Music for Spring 2014!

Click on the image to enlarge the poster (PDF).

Spring 2014 Courses in Music
























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.

Congratulations to Columbia DMA Composition Students!

Fall 2013 News and announcements from the Composition Program 

The Department of Music extends congratulations to DMA students from the Composition Program for their many accomplishments in Fall 2013!

Yoshiaki Onishi

Yoshiaki Onishi's Gaudeamus-commissioned work "Tramespace, diptych for large ensemble, Part I” (2012~13) was performed by Asko|Schönberg Ensemble in September 2013 in Utrecht, The Netherlands.



Taylor Brook


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


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

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


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


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


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


Christopher Trapani was named the winner of the Third Ježek Prize in Composition, 2013.



Courtney Bryan


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


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



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'allégorie de la caverne, for orchestra (2011-2012) was selected as the winning piece to be performed again by the Brussels Philharmonic in 2014.

MPP Winter Concert Schedule (Most Events Free and Open to the Public!)

The Columbia Music Performance Program announces a slate of end-of-semester concerts featuring student ensembles and performers.  All events are free and open to the public!

 Click the image for the full-sized poster containing all event listings!

MPP Winter 2014 Concert Schedule

Columbia Music Scholarship Conference 2014 Call for Abstracts (Conference Date: March 8, 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.

CU Alum Matthew Sakakeeny Publishes "Roll With It: Brass Bands on the Streets of New Orleans"

The Department congratulates Prof. Matthew Sakakeeny (Tulane University, Columbia PhD in Ethnomusicology 2008) has just published Roll With It: Brass Bands in the Streets of New Orleans (with artwork by Willie Birch)

Roll With It, which began as Prof. Sakakeeny's doctoral dissertation in Ethnmusicology at Columbia (with support from the National Science Foundation), is a firsthand account of the precarious lives of musicians in the Rebirth, Soul Rebels, and Hot 8 brass bands of New Orleans. The gripping narrative moves with the band members from back street to backstage, before and after Hurricane Katrina, always in step with the tap of the snare drum, the thud of the bass drum, and the boom of the tuba.

Matthew Sakakeeny is an ethnomusicologist and journalist, New Orleans resident and musician. An Assistant Professor of Music at Tulane University, he initially moved to New Orleans to work as a co-producer of the public radio program American Routes.

Read the introduction to Roll With It on Scribd.

Roll With It also features a supplementary website.

Published by Duke University Press in their "Refiguring American Music Series" in  2013

The Ethnomusicology Track in the Barnard College Music Major

Barnard College is one of the few colleges in the US where you can complete an undergraduate major in the field of Ethnomusicology, specifically. This academic major track (please note that it does not focus on the performance of non-western music, although there are opportunities for doing this) provides a unique opportunity for BC students with a serious and scholarly interest in the field of Ethnomusicology. This track is especially intended to prepare students for graduate study and careers in music, anthropology, music business and technology, and library/information science, among other related fields. 

This program offers undergraduates rich access to the faculty and resources of Columbia's highly-ranked graduate (MA/PhD) program in Ethnomusicology. The undergraduate offering has a long and distinguished track record as a "special major" at Barnard.  In 2009, the special major was converted into a pre-approved major track within the BC Music major.  (NB: Columbia College/GS students cannot pursue this track in the Music major; please contact Prof. Fox if you are a CC/GS student with a specific interest in pursuing Ethnomusicology.) 

If you are a Barnard College first or second year student and you are even considering declaring the special Ethnomusicology track in the BC Music major, please get in touch (as soon as possible!) with the BC Ethnomusicology Adviser.  The BC Ethnomusicology Adviser will always be the Columbia faculty member designated as the "head" of the Ethnomusicology Area faculty. For 2013-14, that person is Prof. Aaron Fox, whose email address is:  

Position Announcement: Assistant Professor of Composition (Review of Applications Begins Dec. 1, 2013)

The Department of Music at Columbia University invites applications for a full-time tenure-track position in Composition at the rank of Assistant Professor, to begin July 1, 2014.

The appointee will be expected to carry out creative work; teach composition at undergraduate and graduate levels; teach in music theory or some other area of intellectual interest, as well as in the undergraduate Core Curriculum; and participate actively in the development of the Department's programs. We seek candidates who, through their composing, research, teaching, and service, can contribute to the diversity and excellence of the academic community at Columbia.

An appropriate doctorate or its professional equivalent must be in hand at the time of the appointment. Significant achievement and potential as a composer is the most important qualification. We are open to a wide range of aesthetic and technical orientations. A candidate's potential for working closely with the Computer Music Center would be viewed as an advantage, as would any involvement that would expand the scope of compositional possibility at Columbia.

MPP in the Community

Coming late Fall 2013!

Community resources and news about MPP activities in the community.