Achievements News

Congratulations to Dr. Nicholas Chong!

The Department warmly congratulates Dr. Nicholas Chong, who successfully defended his PhD dissertation, Beethoven's Catholicism: A Reconsideration, on Friday, June 3, 2016. Dr. Chong's dissertation was advised by Professor Elaine Sisman, and his committee included Professors Susan Boynton, Euan Cameron (UTS), James Hepokoski (Yale), and Walter Frisch.

Congratulations, Dr. Chong!

Carl Bettendorf's and Kate Soper's String Quartets Premiered by Mivos Quartet at Miller Theater

The Mivos Quartet will premiere Carl C. Bettendorf's (DMA, Composition, 2009 & current adjunct professor) String Quartet No. 2, Yggdrasil (commissioned by the Ralph Kaminsky Fund for New Music) and Kate Soper's (DMA, Composition) Nadja on Tuesday, June 7 (tomorrow!) at 6 p.m in Miller Theater.

Admission is free and on a first come, first served basis. Check out more information about the concert here on Miller Theater's website.

Mary Kouyoumdjian Pieces Premiered by Hotel Elefant, Brooklyn Youth Chorus, Alarm Will Sound, Kronos Quartet

This summer, pieces by Mary Kouyoumdjian, current DMA student in composition, will be premiered and/or performed by a number of ensembles, including Hotel Elefant, the Brooklyn Youth Chorus, and the Kronos Quartet.

On June 9 at 7pm, her work Become Who I Am, presented by the New York Philharmonic, will be performed at Lincoln Center by the Brooklyn Youth Chorus along with the contemporary ensemble Hotel Elefant. Later this summer, Mary will be in residence at the Mizzou International Composers Festival, where the ensemble Alarm Will Sound will premiere her work Paper Pianos.

Also taking place this summer: the Kronos Quartet will perform Mary's piece Bombs of Beirut in Poland and will give the Bay Area premiere of Silent Cranes at Cal Performances. This spring, the Kronos Quartet performed Bombs of Beirut and an arrangement of Mary's piece Groung [Crane] in the UK and Canada, receiving a very favorable review by The Guardian.

Mary has also received support from the Brooklyn Youth Chorus' MAP Fund, and a piece of hers will be featured in the Chorus' 25th anniversary season in 2016-2017.

David Bird Wins Student Composer Award from BMI Foundation

David Bird (DMA, Composition) was named a winner in the 64th annual BMI Student Composer Awards, one of the world's foremost talent competitions for young classical artists, for his composition Dropfor string octet, strobe lights, electronic sounds.

The awards were presented at a private ceremony held on May 16, 2016, at the J. W. Marriott Essex House Hotel in New York City. More information about the award, the ceremony, and David are available in the BMI Foundation's press release. Congratulations, David!

2016: An Incredible Year for the Department of Music!

Columbia University Music Department graduate and undergraduate students, alumni, and faculty have been having an incredible year in 2016! Below is a partial listing of some of the highlights of the year -- a full list of more exciting news from our community will be available in our 2016 newsletter, which will be available in November 2016.

If you have some news you'd like to see included in the newsletter, please email Isabella Livorni at iml2110 [at], or Susan Boynton at slb184 [at]


Lauren Flood was appointed Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at MIT.

Timothy Mangin was appointed assistant professor of music at Boston College.

Matthew Morrison was appointed assistant professor of recorded sound at NYU.

Tyshawn Sorey recently accepted a tenure-track assistant professorship in music composition and creative improvisation at Wesleyan University that is scheduled to begin in fall 2017.

Sara Snyder was appointed visiting assistant professor of anthropology and sociology at Western Carolina University for 2016-2017.


David Bird was awarded a Student Composer Award from the BMI Foundation in May 2016.

Emily Clark was selected to participate in the intensive two-week Taalunie Dutch Summer Course at the University of Ghent in August.

Maria Fantinato Géo de Siqueira was awarded a Pre-Dissertation Field Research Travel Grant for summer 2016 from Columbia’s Institute of Latin American Studies.

Andrés García Molina was awarded a Pre-Dissertation Field Research Travel Grant for summer 2016 from Columbia’s Institute of Latin American Studies.

Paula Harper won the 2016 Meyerson Award for excellence in Core teaching.

Orit Hilewicz received a GSAS Teaching Scholars award to teach the course “Music in Multimedia: Analytical and Critical Approaches to Music in Songs, Dance, Drama, Films, and Video Games” in Fall 2016.

Qingfan Jiang has been awarded a Weatherhead PhD Training Grant for her summer research project.

Adam Kielman was awarded the Julie How Fellowship by the Weatherhead East Asian Institute.

Sky Macklay won a 2016 Morton Gould Young Composer Award from the ASCAP Foundation for her piece Many Many Cadences. She was also awarded a New Music USA project grant for her next installation, MEGA-ORGAN.

Will Mason received a GSAS Teaching Scholars award to teach the course “Music and Technology in Critical Perspective” in Spring 2017. His debut album “Beams of the Huge Night” (New Amsterdam) was named “Album of the Year” by Avant Music News, and he was voted one of the top 5 debut artists of 2015 in the El Intruso International Jazz Critics Poll.

Matthew Ricketts was named Composer/Collaborator-in-residence through East Carolina University's NewMusic Initiative, a long-term commissioning and pedagogy project spanning the next 3 years and culminating in a new work for piano and orchestra to be premiered by the student orchestra with faculty soloist (2018). Other upcoming commissions include the Montreal Symphony Orchestra's organist-in-residence, Jean-Willy Kunz, pianist Julia Den Boer, the Aspen Contemporary Music Ensemble and Chartreuse Trio. In summer 2016, Matthew will be a fellow at the Aspen Music Festival.

Tyshawn Sorey received the George Wein-Doris Duke commissioning grant to compose a new work for his piano trio, to be performed at the Newport Jazz Festival in July 2016.

Maeve Sterbenz has been awarded the Lead Teaching Fellowship from the Center for Teaching and Learning for 2016-2017.

Didier Sylvain was selected for a Graduate Research Assistantship to a five-year NSF-funded study in Haiti, entitled "CAREER: Assessing Long-Term Sociocultural Impacts in Disaster Recovery Efforts," coordinated by Professor Mark Schuller at Northern Illinois University, starting June 2016.

Trevor Reed’s paper, entitled “Reclaiming Networks of Indigenous Song: Ontologies of Property, Politics and Transformation in Boulton’s Taatawi Recordings,” won the Charlotte Frisbie Student Paper Prize at the 2015 SEM Annual Meeting. Trevor was selected as a Summer Teaching Scholar this year and will be teaching a new course, Music and the Indigenous Experience in North America, during the Summer D session.

Christopher Trapani won the 2016-2017 Rome Prize in composition from the American Academy of Rome. In February 2016, Marilyn Nonken performed Chris’ piece “The silence of a falling star lights up a purple sky” (2005) in the Spectral Salon.

Nina Young was a fellow at the American Academy in Rome this year, after winning the 2015 Rome Prize.


Nandini Banerjee presented “Film Music and its Layers of Modernity: The Role of Tappa in Satyajit Ray’s ‘Joy Baba Felunath’” at the 35th Meeting of the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the Society for Ethnomusicology, March 5-6, 2016 (University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA).

Eamonn Bell presented the poster “Mining the Performance History of the New York Philharmonic from 1842–2015: Programming Trends and Performer Networks” at Data Science Day, April 6 2016 at Columbia University.

Elliott Cairns presented a paper entitled “The Berliner Phonogramm-Archiv: Where Musicology Met Anthropology” at the Annual Meeting of the Society for Ethnomusicology in Austin, Texas.

Emily Clark presented a paper, “The Towa-Towa in Queens: A Caribbean Bird Community in Diaspora” at the Yale Graduate Music Symposium in March, and will present a paper entitled “The Towa-Towa and the Gamelan: Using Musical Objects in Caribbean Diaspora to Rethink Materiality” at the Caribbean Philosophical Association in June.

Maria Fantinato Géo de Siqueira presented the paper "Choro in New York: borders of genre as a conceptual tool of analysis" at the 35th Meeting of the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the Society for Ethnomusicology, March 5-6, 2016 (University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA).

Andrés García Molina presented “El Paquete: Digital Circulation, Circumvention, and Exclusion in Cuba,” at the Neil Postman Graduate Conference at NYU’s Department of Media, Culture, and Communication in February 16, 2016.

John Glasenapp presented “The Earliest Irish Notation from the Drummond Missal” at the Cantus Planus Study Group of the International Musicological Society, August 2-7, 2016 (Dublin, Ireland).

Beatriz Goubert presented “Muisca Sounds: Indigenous Music in the construction of a Multicultural Colombia” at the International Association for the Study of Popular Music IASPM-Latin America Conference, March 7-11, 2016 (Havana, Cuba).

Marc Hannaford presented “Trust and Subjective (re)Positioning: Analyzing the Work of Five Female Improvisers” at the Rhythm Changes: Jazz Utopia conference, April 14–17, 2016 (Birmingham, England).

Paula Harper presented "Watching Cell Phones, Listening to Video: 'Bus Uncle' Goes Viral" at the Yale Graduate Music Symposium, March 4-5 2016 (Yale University, New Haven CT); and "UNMUTE THIS: Ubiquitous Listening and Vernacular Media Theory" at the Theorizing the Web conference, April 16-17 2016 (Museum of the Moving Image, Queens NY).

Orit Hilewicz gave a lecture on Morton Feldman’s Rothko Chapel in the course “Form and Chromatic Harmony in 19th-century Music (and its influence on early Modernism)” at the Department of Music in Harvard University on March 29, 2016. She also presented “Using Mediathread in the Music Theory Classroom” at the Celebration of Teaching and Learning Symposium at Columbia in March 2016; “Musicalizing the Twittering Machine: Multitextual Listening in Analysis” at the joint conference of Music Theory Southeast and South Carolina Society of Music Theory at Kennesaw State University in Georgia in April 2016; and “Reciprocal Interpretations of Music and Painting: Representation Types in Schuller, Tan, and Davies after Paul Klee” at the joint conference of the Rocky Mountain Society for Music Theory, the Southwest Chapter of the Society for Ethnomusicology, and the American Musicological Society Rocky Mountain Chapter in April 2016.

Qingfan Jiang presented her web exhibit in in the Celebration of Teaching and Learning Symposium at Columbia in March 2016.

Adam Kielman presented “Translocal Media Flows and Local Language Music in Contemporary China” at the Association for Asian Studies Annual Conference held March 31 – April 3, 2016 in Seattle, Washington.

Sky Macklay gave a talk entitled “The Analog Robotic: The Liminality of Naturalness in Harmonibots” at the Women in Music Technology Symposium at UC Irvine in February 2016.

Will Mason gave the invited presentation “Spectralism, Modernism, Representation: The case of Grisey’s Les Chants de l’Amour” at the Paul Sacher Archive in March 2016.

Toru Momii presented “Lost in Translation: Exoticism as Transculturation in Saint-Saëns’s Africa” at the Annual Meeting of the New England Conference of Music Theorists, April 8–9, 2016 (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA) and at the McGill Music Graduate Symposium, March 18–20, 2016 (Montréal, QC).

Russell O’Rourke presented his web exhibit in in March 2016 as a part of the Celebration of Teaching and Learning Symposium at Columbia.

Ralph Whyte was invited to give a guest lecture on the “roots of visual music” for a seminar in the visual studies department at Harvard University.

Michael Weinstein-Reiman presented a paper, “I’m a Monster!: Nicki Minaj and Queer Posthumanism,” at the Gender and Music: Practices, Performances, Politics conference in Örebro, Sweden in March 2016. He was invited to present the same paper at the H. Wiley Hitchcock Institute for Studies in American Music at Brooklyn College in May.

Whitney Slaten gave the following conference papers: “Jazzmobile and the Urban Soundscape" at “Locations and Dislocations: An Ecomusicological Conversation,” Westminster Choir College of Rider University (April 2016), “Liveness, Sonic Color and Transparency: The Creative Agency of Mixing Recorded and Live Broadway Productions of Porgy and Bess,” at the Art of Record Production Conference (November 2015) and "Amplifying From the Shadows: Representation and Metarepresentation in Live Music Production" at the University of Toronto conference on “Music and Labor” (April 2016). He was an invited panelist on the "Art, Citizenship and Community” roundtable for the Columbia Black Law Students Association Paul Robeson Conference in February 2016, and moderated a master class “Gnawa and the Trance Music of Morocco” featuring Abdellah El Gourd of Dar Gnawa of Tanger and Randy Weston at The New School in October 2015.

Trevor Reed presented a lecture and had two of his works performed during the John Donald Robb Composers’ Symposium at the University of New Mexico.

Tom Wetmore presented his paper “‘I’m Telling You This is True": Constructing History and Authenticity in Harlem Jazz Tourism” at the Mid-Atlantic Section of the Society for Ethnomusicology Conference in Charlottesville, VA.


Alec Hall defended his dissertation, “Sound, noise, and objecthood: The politics of representation in avant-garde music,” in May 2016.

Ryan Pratt defended his dissertation, “Composition in Relative Intonation, Sadhana and k. tracing,” in May 2016.

Marceline Saibou defended her dissertation, “Popular Music in Lomé, Togo, 1967-2005 – Presence, Absence, and Disjunctures,” in May 2016.

Sara Snyder defended her dissertation, “Poetics, Performance, and Translation in Eastern Cherokee Language,” in May 2016.

Lucie Vágnerová defended her dissertation, “Sirens/Cyborgs: Sound Technologies and the Musical Body,” in May 2016.


Susan Boynton won a 2016 Lenfest Distinguished Faculty Award for her work as an educator. The award was presented on April 7 in a ceremony at the Italian Academy. Professor Boynton discussed her book, co-edited with Diane Reilly, Resounding Images (Brepols, 2015), in an event at Faculty House in February 2016.

Deborah Bradley-Kramer performed “An American Menagerie” concert with SPEAKmusic, the ensemble of Columbia and Juilliard students that she recently formed, at the Roerich Museum in March 2016. In the same month, SPEAKmusic toured Poland. In April 2016, Professor Bradley-Kramer performed in the concert “Echoes of the Russian Jewish Folk Music Society” with SPEAKmusic and the Daedalus Quartet at the 92nd Street Y.

Zosha Di Castri’s piece Anssi de suite was performed by Anssi Karttunen in Paris in February 2016, as part of “Columbia Sounds: A New Concert Series” at the Columbia Global Centers. In April 2016, her piece Near Mute Force (commissioned by the Women’s Musical Club of Toronto) was premiered in Toronto as part of violist Steven Dann’s concert “Dannthology.”
Professor Di Castri also won the 2016 Yvar Mikhashoff Trust Competition, along with pianist Julia Den Boer; over the next year, Professor Di Castri and Dr. Den Boer will be collaborating to write a new piece for solo piano that will then be performed at the Banff Center for the Arts. In December 2016, she will be featured in a Miller Theater Composer Portrait concert.

In May 2016, Julia Doe wrote an exhibition review of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s exhibition of Vigée Le Brun for AMS’ Musicology Now.

In April 2016, Aaron Fox discussed the Center for Ethnomusicology’s indigenous music repatriation projects for BBC Radio 3’s Sunday Feature, “Taking It All Back Home.”

Georg Friedrich Haas’ music was performed by the JACK Quartet and the Talea Ensemble in the Austrian Cultural Forum’s March 2016 concert “American Immersion.” Professor Haas will be the composer-in-residence for the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival in November 2016.

In March 2016, Ellie Hisama gave a “Feminist to the Core” talk on “Feminist Critical Listening.”

In February 2016, Fred Lerdahl’s pieces There and Back Again (2010) and Give and Take, for violin and cello (2014) were performed by Anssi Karttunen (cello) and Mariana Chiche (violin) at “Columbia Sounds: A New Concert Series” at the Columbia Global Centers in Paris.

Ana Maria Ochoa’s book Aurality: Listening and Knowledge in Nineteenth-Century Colombia (Duke University Press, 2014) won the 2015 Alan Merriam Prize from the Society for Ethnomusicology.

Terence Pender was interviewed by the Columbia Spectator in March 2016, resulting in an article praising his skills as a musician and as an educator.

Magdalena Stern-Baczewska gave a lecture recital, “The Goldberg Variations in Context,” at Quest University in Squamish, British Columbia in March 2016. Also in March 2016, Professor Stern-Baczewska performed at the University of Connecticut's Jorgensen Center for Performing Arts, in a recital with violinist Solomiya Ivakhiv, featuring Bartok's Roumanian Dances, Beethoven's 'Kreutzer' Sonata, and Sonata in A major by Franck. In May 2016, she performed Tan Dun's piano concerto The Banquet in China at the Shenzhen PolyTheater and the Guangzhou Opera House with the Macao Orchestra, conducted by maestro Tan Dun.

Peter Susser curated the “Hearing is Believing” exhibition in the Music & Arts Library in spring 2016, which displayed original student and faculty work, as well as textbooks, training manuals, and compositions from around the world that are used to enhance and inspire the musical imagination.

Chris Washburne participated in a dialogue on “Jazz and Thought” with Columbia neuroscientists as a part of Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Science of Jazz lecture series in April 2016.


Kasia Borowiec was most recently an Artist in Residence with Dayton Opera, where she sang the role of Kate Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly and covered the role of Desdemona in Otello.

Courtney Bryan performed in “Relation: A Performance Residency” by Vijay Iyer in the Met Breuer Gallery in March 2016. Also in March, she held an online concert and discussion with Eun Lee entitled “Counterpoint: Classical Music and Nina Simone,” and she performed with HER (in honor of) at Princeton’s Paul Robeson Center for the Arts. In April 2016, she performed her piece A Presence at Harvard in the concert “Creative Music Convergencies.”

Edmund Campion was awarded a 2016 Guggenheim Fellowship. In February 2016, his piece Something to go on was performed by Anssi Karttunen (cello) and Mariana Chiche (violin) in Columbia Sounds: A New Concert Series at the Columbia Global Centers in Paris.

Anthony Cheung was awarded a 2016 Guggenheim Fellowship.

Gerald Cohen released Sea of Reeds, an album of chamber music featuring clarinet:

The recording of Mario Diaz de León’s “The Soul Is The Arena” by Claire Chase, Joshua Rubin, and the International Contemporary Ensemble (Denovali) was on Alex Ross’ list of Notable Performances and Recordings of 2015 in the New Yorker.

Natacha Diels’ piece Child of Chimera (2015) was performed in Ensemble Pamplemousse’s concert This is the Uplifting Part in Paris, March 2016. In May 2016, Natacha was interviewed by Columbia News.

Tina Frühauf, along with her co-editor Lily E. Hirsch, won the American Musicological Society's Ruth A. Solie award this year for their edited volume, Dislocated Memories: Jews, Music, and Postwar German Culture (Oxford University Press, 2014).

Ashley Fure (Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow, 2014-2015) was featured in a Miller Theater Composer Portrait concert in February 2016. In anticipation of the concert, the New York Times published an interview with her in January 2016.

Bryan Jacobs was awarded a 2016 Guggenheim Fellowship. His piece Dialogue II was performed by Anssi Karttunen (cello) and Mariana Chiche (violin) as part of “Columbia Sounds: A New Concert Series at the Columbia Global Centers” in Paris in February 2016. Also in Paris, in March 2016, his piece Organic Synthesis Vol. 1 (2015) was performed by Ensemble Pamplemousse in their concert “This is the Uplifting Part.”

Daniel Lazour was awarded a 2016 Richard Rodgers Award for Musical Theater for We Live In Cairo, the musical he co-wrote with his brother, Daniel Lazour.

Jenny Payne was awarded the prestigious Luce Scholarship from the Luce Foundation, whose goal is to “enhance the understanding of Asia among potential leaders in American society.”

Tristan Perich’s “Microtonal Wall” was featured in the exhibit The Art of Music at the San Diego Museum of Art from September 2015 to February 2016.

Marceline Saibou presented "Musical Evisceration Under State Patronage – The Curious Case of Togo" at the 35th Meeting of the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the Society for Ethnomusicology, March 5-6, 2016 (University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA).

Lucie Vágnerová presented “Black Box, White Box: Electronics Assembly and the Factory Museum” at Sound Limits: Music and its Borders - the Yale Graduate Music Symposium in March 2016.

Congratulations, Class of 2016!

The Columbia University Department of Music extends heartfelt congratulations to our 2016 graduates:

Undergraduate Music Majors

Columbia College

Christopher Browner
Jacob Chapman
Ilana Deresiewicz
Quinn Devlin
Fernanda Douglas
Robert Fernandez
Amber Ferrell
Nansong Huang
Chengxi Li
Javier Llaca Ojinaga
Cameron MacCabe
Hannah Murphy
Maya Priestley
Quinn Squyres
Alessandra Urso

School of General Studies

Katherine Cartusciello
Marion Harache

Barnard College

Esther Adams
Eleanor Debreu
Anna Ehrman
Mark King
Jenny Payne
Delaney Ross
Angela Scorese

Graduate Students

Natacha Diels (DMA, Composition)
Shannon Garland (PhD, Ethnomusicology)
Alec Hall (DMA, Composition)
Geoffrey Holbrook (DMA, Composition)
Bryan Jacobs (DMA, Composition)
Ryan Pratt (DMA, Composition)
Alex Rothe (PhD, Historical Musicology)
Marceline Saibou (PhD, Ethnomusicology)
Sara Snyder (PhD, Ethnomusicology)
Lucie Vágnerová (PhD, Historical Musicology)

Jazz Special Concentration (Columbia College)

Sturdy Adams
Stephanie Gozali
Raphael Gilliam
Samuel Glick
Graham Jacobson
Chester King
Dean Marshall
Sound Arts MFA
Alice Emily Baird
Cameron Perry Fraser
Chatori Shimizu
Frank Andrew Spigner

Paula Harper Wins 2016 Meyerson Award

Paula Harper, fourth-year graduate student in Historical Musicology, has received the Meyerson Award for Excellence in Core Teaching. The award is given in Music Humanities, Art Humanities, Literature Humanities, and Contemporary Civilization to an outstanding graduate student preceptor in each course.

Congratulations, Paula!

Congratulations to Dr. Marceline Saibou!

We warmly congratulate Dr. Marceline Saibou, who successfully defended her PhD dissertation on popular music in Togo on Friday, May 13, 2016. Dr. Saibou's dissertation was sponsored by Prof. Aaron Fox, and her committee included Profs. Alessandra Ciucci and George Lewis (Music, Columbia), and distinguished Columbia ethnomusicology alumniProf. Ryan Skinner (Music and African Studies, OSU) and Prof. Andrew Eisenberg (Music, NYU Abu Dhabi).

Congratulations Dr. Saibou!

Congratulations to Dr. Sara Snyder!

We warmly congratulate Dr. Sara Snyder, who successfully defended her dissertation on Cherokee language translational poetics and early childhood immersion education on Friday, May 6, 2016. Her dissertation was sponsored by Prof. Aaron Fox, and her committee included Profs. Bambi Schieffelin(Anthropology, NYU), David Samuels (Music, NYU),Ana Maria Ochoa (Music, Columbia), and CU ethno alumna Prof. Amanda Minks (Anthropology, Oklahoma).

Dr. Snyder has also recently been appointed as a visiting assistant professor of anthropology and sociology at Western Carolina University in 2016-17.

Congratulations to Dr. Lucie Vágnerová!

The Department warmly congratulates Dr. Lucie Vágnerová, who successfully defended her PhD dissertation, Sirens/Cyborgs: Sound Technologies and the Musical Body on Thursday, May 12, 2016. Dr. Vágerová's dissertation was advised by Prof. Ellie Hisama, and her committed included Profs. George Lewis, Benjamin Steege, Ana Maria Ochoa, and Alondra Nelson.

Congratulations Dr. Vágnerová!

DMA Candidate Christopher Trapani Wins 2016-2017 Rome Prize

The Department of Music warmly congratulates DMA candidate Christopher Trapani who has been awarded a 2016-17 Rome Prize from the American Academy in Rome.

The Rome Prize is "awarded to about thirty emerging artists and scholars who represent the highest standard of excellence and who are in the early or middle stages of their working lives." Mr. Trapani is the second Columbia DMA student to win the Rome Prize in as many years.

Learn more about Mr. Trapani and his music at:

A composer with a genuine international trajectory, Christopher Trapani maintains an active career in the United States, the United Kingdom, and in Continental Europe. Commissions have come from the BBC, the JACK Quartet, and Radio France, and his works have been recently heard at Carnegie Hall, the Southbank Centre, IRCAM, and Wigmore Hall.

Christopher’s music synthesizes disparate influences, weaving both American and European stylistic strands into a personal aesthetic that defies easy classification. Snippets of Delta Blues, Appalachian folk, dance band foxtrots, and Turkish makam can be heard alongside spectral swells and meandering canons. As in Christopher’s hometown of New Orleans, diverse traditions coexist and intermingle, swirled into a rich melting pot. Consonance is a central preoccupation; microtonality and just intonation are often employed. Timbral explorations are also manifold, from experiments with a wide range of mutes and preparations to an unusual instrumentarium, with scorings that call for electric guitar, dulcimer, qanûn, stroh violin, and retuned autoharps. Several of Christopher’s compositions bear the mark of his training in literature, influenced by novelists and poets including Thomas Pynchon, Geoff Dyer, and C. P. Cavafy. Many recent works also incorporate an idiosyncratic use of electronics, expanding the possibilities of color, pitch, and timing beyond the acoustic realm.

Christopher was born in New Orleans, Louisiana in 1980. He holds a Bachelor’s degree from Harvard, where he studied composition with Bernard Rands and poetry under Helen Vendler. He spent most of his twenties overseas: a year in London, working on a Master’s degree at the Royal College of Music with Julian Anderson; a year in Istanbul, studying microtonality in Ottoman music on a Fulbright grant; and seven years in Paris, where he studied with Philippe Leroux and worked at IRCAM, both on the composition cursus and later on a musical research residency.

Christopher is currently based in New York City, where he has worked on a doctorate at Columbia University, studying with Tristan Murail, Georg Friedrich Haas, Fred Lerdahl, and George Lewis.

Christopher is the winner of the 2016 Rome Prize, as well as the 2007 Gaudeamus Prize, the first American in over 30 years to win the international young composers’ award. Other recent honors include an award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters (2015), a nomination for a British Composers Award (2014), and a grant from the French-American Cultural Exchange (FACE) towards a new piece for ICE and Ensemble L’Itinéraire. He has also won the Julius F. Ježek Prize (2013), three Morton Gould Young Composers Awards from ASCAP (2005, 2006, and the Leo Kaplan Award in 2009), and a BMI Student Composer Award (2006). His scores have been performed by ICTUS, Ensemble Modern, the Nouvel Ensemble Moderne, Nieuw Ensemble, Asko Ensemble, Ensemble L’Itinéraire, Ensemble Orchestral Contemporain, Ensemble Mosaik, Talea Ensemble, Argento Ensemble, Wet Ink, Earplay, Yarn/Wire, Atlas Ensemble, pianists Sergey Schepkin and Marilyn Nonken, and the American Composers Orchestra.

tIn March 2011, Christopher was featured in a portrait concert on the Philharmonia Orchestra’s Music of Today series at the Royal Festival Hall in London. His music has also been programmed in international festivals such as the Venice Biennale, Ultraschall Festival in Berlin, Musica Nova Helsinki, and IRCAM’s festival Agora. He has held residencies at Copland House (New York), Récollets (Paris), and Cité Internationale des Arts (Paris), and was a 2013-15 fellow at Akademie Schloss Solitude (Stuttgart).

Recent and upcoming projects include a commission for the Quatuor Béla and GRAME in Lyon, a new orchestral work for the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, a commission for orchestra and electronics (IRCAM) for the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France and Festival Présences 2015, and a new work for Ensemble Modern for the 2015 cresc… Biennial for Modern Music in Frankfurt.

Susan Boynton Wins Lenfest Distinguished Faculty Award

Congratulations to Department Chair Professor Susan Boynton, winner of a 2016 Lenfest Distinguished Faculty Award!

Eight Faculty Members Win 2016 Lenfest Awards Great teachers are an inspiration to their students and admired by their peers. This year’s winners of the Columbia Distinguished Faculty Awards were nominated by department chairs and their fellow faculty members:

Timothy Mangin Appointed Assistant Professor of Music at Boston College

The Department of Music warmly congratulates Ethnomusicology PhD Alumnus Dr. Timothy Mangin, who has been appointed Assistant Professor of Music at Boston College. Timothy Mangin completed his PhD in Ethnomusicology at Columbia in 2013. Prof. Mangin is an ethnomusicologist and musician researching the intersection of popular music, race, ethnicity, religion, and cosmopolitanism in West Africa and the African Diaspora. He has received fellowships from the Columbia University’s Center for Comparative Literature and Society, St. Lawrence University’s Department of Music, Mellon Foundation, the Foreign Language Areas Studies Program and a Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Research Abroad Program. He taught at Columbia University, New York University, St. Lawrence University, and the City University of New York. An improvisational flutist, Tim founded St. Lawrence University’s Jazz and Improv Ensemble and also studies mbira and is a member of Capoeira Brasil. His writings have appeared in the edited volumes Begegnungen: The World Meets Jazz and Uptown Conversations: The New Jazz Studies as well as reviews in The Yearbook for Traditional Music and Ethnomusicology On-Line. Tim is working on a book examining indigenous cosmopolitanism through the intersection of the Senegalese urban dance music called mbalax and the practice of black, Wolof (the dominant ethnic group), gendered, and Muslim identities. He is also exploring blackness in Senegalese hip hop and the dynamics of improvisation in New York City’s underground hip hop and jazz scene. The Digital Humanities is a key part of Tim’s pedagogy and research that began when he worked at Columbia’s Institute for Research in African American Studies on the Malcolm X Project, under the direction Manning Marable, and further developed with students at The City College of New York. Dr. Mangin's Columbia PhD dissertation, on Senegalese mbalax, was advised by Prof. George Lewis.