Position Announcement: Two 2-Year Mellon Postdoctoral Teaching Fellowships in Music

Announcement: Two 2-Year Mellon Postdoctoral Teaching Fellowships in Music

The Columbia University Department of Music invites applications for Mellon Postdoctoral Teaching Fellowships for a period of two years, to begin July 1, 2012.  Ph.D. or equivalent required; at the time of appointment candidates must be within four and one-half (4.5) years from the date of certification of the degree.  

Candidates will be expected to sustain an active research and publication agenda and participate in the academic life of the Department of Music; teaching includes one class per semester in Columbia's Core Curriculum, and one class in the candidate's area of specialization during the second year of appointment.  Review of applications begins November 10, 2011.  For more information and to apply, please visit:


Columbia University is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer.


MPP Weekly Announcements (Sept. 26, 2011)

Music Performance Program -- Weekly Newsletter, Sept. 27, 2011

For more information visit:

October 2, 2011
Spring Overlook Concerts
French Cookin' Blues Band
2PM, 116th St. Overlook (on the middle level of Riverside Park)
For more info, visit www.riversideparkfund.org

October 18, 2011
Music Humanities Presentations
Daedalus Quartet plays Beethoven's "Harp" Quartet, Op. 74
10:35AM, 301 Philosophy Hall

October 19, 2011
Music Humanities Presentations
Daedalus Quartet plays Beethoven's "Harp" Quartet, Op. 74
9:10AM and 10:35AM, 301 Philosophy Hall

October 19, 2011
"Night of the Living Daed"
Daedalus Quartet performs quartets by Haydn and Dvorak
10PM-12AM, 301 Philosophy Hall

Miles Davis (Grad Seminar)

Course Information

CU Directory Course Number: 
MUSI G8610
John Szwed

Miles Davis
MUSI G8610
Prof. John Szwed

Miles Davis is one of the five or six most important figures in the history of jazz. This course provides a survey of the life and music of Davis, examining the social history and musical traditions that shaped his work, and exploring his influence on music, performance, literature and other arts.

Important Announcement for all Students: New Music Lesson Fees for 2011-12

Dear Columbia/Barnard Music Students

Beginning in the fall semester of the 2011-12 academic year, the Music Performance Program will begin charging a supplemental fee of $500 per semester for individual instrumental lessons taken at Columbia, and a supplemental fee of $1,000 per semester for individual vocal lessons taken at Barnard. This letter provides more details about this policy. The fee applies only to private instrumental and vocal lessons offered through the MPP, not to ensemble participation or the Columbia University Orchestra.

Lesson eligibility requirements remain unchanged.  Only students enrolled in an undergraduate program at Columbia University or Barnard College, or graduate students in Music, may participate in competitive auditions for a limited number of lesson placements for the coming academic year. However, we will now require everyone who wants to take private lessons at Columbia to (re)audition at the beginning of each year.  Audition sign-up sheets will be available on the door of 618 Dodge approximately two weeks before the first day of classes in the fall semester. Signing up for an annual audition is strictly the student's responsibility.  Failure to do so will mean loss of eligibility for lessons for that year. Students who want to take vocal lessons at Barnard and who have passed the audition will not have to (re)audition at the beginning of each year.

Professor John Szwed becomes Center for Jazz Studies Director

John F. Szwed, Professor of Music and Jazz Studies at Columbia University, has been appointed Director of the Center for Jazz Studies at Columbia. An anthropologist and jazz scholar, Dr. Szwed's publications range from anthropological studies of Newfoundland and the West Indies to record liner notes and jazz journalism. Dr. Szwed has authored or edited 15 books, including Space is the Place: The Lives and Times of Sun Ra (1997), Jazz 101 (2000), So What: The Life of Miles Davis (2002), and Alan Lomax: The Man Who Recorded the World (2010). Doctor Jazz, a book included with the CD set, Jelly Roll Morton: The Complete Library of Congress Recordings by Alan Lomax, was awarded a Grammy in 2005.

Dr. Szwed is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Jazz Studies Online, perhaps the most widely-referenced portal on the Web for jazz research. Most recently, JSO has begun a two-year project to build and test a powerful database tool for research on the history of jazz with the participation of a network of noted jazz scholars. The project has received generous support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.  Dr. Szwed has also received fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation.

Dr. Szwed has appeared in a number of documentaries and television specials. From 1980 to 1982 he was the music commentator on Terry Gross' Fresh Air on NPR, and as a journalist, Dr. Szwed has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Village Voice, Wire, and many other publications in the US and Europe. He is currently General Editor of the Jazz Perspectives Book Series for The University of Michigan Press.

Prof. George Lewis Gives University Lecture

On Monday March 7, Prof. George Lewis, Director of the Center for Jazz Studies and Case Professor of American Music, presented the University Lecture on the subject of "Improvisation as a Way of Life" to an overflow crowd in the Low Library Rotunda. 

Improvisation as a Way of Life: Reflections on Human Interaction
Many musical improvisers have understood their sounds and practices as addressing larger questions of identity and social organization, as well as creating politically inflected, critically imbued aesthetic spaces.  Following a 1964 suggestion by Alfred Schutz that a study of the social relationships connected with the musical process may lead to some insights valid for many other forms of social intercourse, the realization that improvisation is not limited to the artistic domain, but is a ubiquitous aspect of everyday life, can lead humanists and scientists toward new models of intelligibility, agency, ethics, technology, and social transformation.

Learn more about the event here.

Below: Prof. George Lewis delivers University Lecture, March 7, 2011 (Direct Link to Video)

Louis Armstrong Jazz Performance Program Featured in Columbia Record (with video)

Above: Columbia students and program organizers talk about the growth of the Louis Armstrong Jazz Performance Program and the importance of jazz education at the University. (5:30)


Columbia's Louis Armstrong Jazz Performance Program, Directed by Prof. Christopher Washburne, is the subject of a feature article and video in the Columbia Record, written by Nick Obourn.


Also see: LAJPP Travels to Amman, Jordan
(Columbia Spectator, April 13, 2009)


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Position Announcement: Assistant Professor of Music with a Specialization in African-American Music




The Institute for Research in African-American Studies and the Department of Music at Columbia University are pleased to announce the following position:

The Institute for Research in African-American Studies and the Department of Music at Columbia University seek to hire an Assistant Professor with a specialization in African-American Music. The responsibilities of the position include undergraduate and graduate teaching; research and publication; and institutional service. We seek candidates with specializations in musicology, ethnomusicology, or music-centered studies in arts, humanities or social science fields; whose research centers on global Afrodiasporic/circum-Atlantic positions, practices and discourses; and whose teaching and research are informed by critical race/ethnicity theory and postcolonial discourses. Candidates must have earned the doctoral degree by July 1, 2011.  

To learn more or to begin the application process, please visit the following link:


Review of applications will begin JANUARY 1, 2011.  
(Note correction from earlier posting, which had listed an earlier date.)

Columbia University is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer.

About the Center for Jazz Studies at Columbia University

In 1995 Professor Robert O'Meally first convened the Jazz Study Group, a group of scholars, journalists, musicians, writers and others, to share their perspectives on jazz. Unique in its approach, the Jazz Study Group was among the first high-level scholarly research groups to examine jazz not only as a musical form, but also as a cultural phenomenon that has influenced all aspects of American culture. The idea for a Center devoted to the study of jazz as a culture grew out of these meetings, and in 1999, with the support of the Ford Foundation, the Center for Jazz Studies was born. Since then, the Center for Jazz Studies has extended the scope of its activities, embracing a tripartite mission of research, teaching, and public event sponsorship, in the affirmation that understanding jazz can provide a link to the development of new knowledge.

Advice, Policies, and Application Procedures for Prospective Visiting Scholars and Students

NB: Please note that all requests for Visiting affiliations (scholars or students) must be sent to the Department Chair and relevant Area chair directly, require the approval of a majority of the Department's faculty, and must be initiated at least one semester before (and ideally a full year before) the proposed visiting period begins. The following description of our procedures for accepting Visiting Students and Visiting Scholars is very detailed and specific; but you should read it very carefully before requesting such an affiliation with the Columbia University Department of Music. 

The Department is often approached by scholars and graduate students from other institutions who have plans to spend time in New York and who are seeking a "visiting" (courtesy) affiliation with us.  We are delighted to host several Visiting Scholars and Students annually, under a variety of program auspices, and many of us have been graciously hosted at sister institutions in the past. Visiting Scholars and Students enhance the life of our community and create new connections for future exchanges.