Past Event

Music & Sound Studies

September 22, 2017 - September 23, 2017
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
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701C Dodge Hall, Columbia University

“Music & Sound Studies: Intersections, Boundaries, Opportunities”  explores the relation between musical disciplines and sound studies through three key sites: sounds of the city and the historically problematic notion of soundscape; music, soundscapes, and the political; and the relationships among acoustics and neuroscience and music/sound. An evening concert of recent compositions will display the current range of work in “sound art,” a richly interdisciplinary creative field.





A Workshop


September 22-23, 2017

 Columbia University

Department of Music

701C Dodge Hall

(Center for Ethnomusicology)

Open to the Public


This workshop has emerged from the desire to formalize disciplinary exchanges among scholars at the intersection of music and sound studies in Paris (Paris Sciences et Lettres) and at Columbia. In the last few years sound studies has emerged as an increasingly institutionalized discipline. Books, journals, readers, courses, and conferences have consolidated this historically transdisciplinary and dispersed field into a broad, albeit still disciplinarily dispersed debate. This increasing attention to sound raises historical and epistemological issues and invites further consideration of the interaction between sound studies and musical disciplines.  The purpose of this workshop is to think together through the questions and issues raised by the intersection of music and sound studies from historically, ethnographically, and scientifically situated research.

 “Music & Sound Studies: Intersections, Boundaries, Opportunities” seeks to explore the relation between musical disciplines and sound studies through three key sites: sounds of the city and the historically problematic notion of soundscape; music, soundscapes, and the political; and the relationships among acoustics and neuroscience and music/sound. Additionally, an evening concert of recent compositions will display the current range of work in “sound art,” a richly interdisciplinary creative field.

"Music & Sound Studies" is supported by the Columbia University Office of the Dean of Humanities of Arts & Sciences, Department of Music, Center for Ethnomusicology, Center for Science and Society, Maison Française, Society of Fellows and Heyman Center for the Humanities, the Fritz Reiner Center for Contemporary Music; and by Paris Sciences et Lettres



 Friday, September 22


9:30 am: Welcome & Opening Remarks

Walter Frisch, Acting Chair, Department of Music, Columbia University

Christopher Cripps, Director of International and European Affairs, Paris Sciences et Lettres

Mathieu Le Traon, Deputy Director of International & European Affairs, Paris Sciences et Lettres



10-11:45 am:  Urban Soundscape, History, and the City

Moderator: César Colón-Montijo (Columbia University)


 Rémy Campos (Conservatoire national supérieur de musique et de danse de Paris)

"Reconstructing Urban Historical Soundscape: A Problem Without a Solution?"


 Walter Frisch (Columbia University)

“'Clang, Clang, Clang Went the Trolley': Tin Pan Alley and the Urban Soundscape"


Respondent: Paula Harper (Columbia University)


 1-2:45 pm: Music, Soundscape, The Political 

 Moderator:  Tom Smith (Columbia University)


Violeta Nigro Giunta (Centre de recherches sur les arts et le langage at the École des hautes études en sciences sociales)

"The Sound of Crisis: Analyzing the Soundscape of Argentina, 2001"


Esteban Buch (Centre de recherches sur les arts et le langage at the École des hautes études en sciences sociales)

"On Music, Sound, and Dictatorship"


Respondent: Lydia Goehr (Columbia University)


3-4:45 pm: Science, Musicology, Acoustics, Sound

Moderator: Andrew Goldman (Columbia University)


Tristan Labouret (Conservatoire national supérieur de musique et de danse de Paris)

"The “Diapason normal” (1859): an Unfinished Standardization of the Musical Sounds at the Crossroads of Acoustics, Politics and Musical Practices"


Nori Jacoby (Columbia University)

"Music and Neuroscience: Cross-cultural Research"


Respondent: Sarah Woolley  (Columbia University)


 7:30 pm: Concert, "The Hear & Now" (Maison Française)

(RSVP Required at



Saturday, September 23


10-11:30 am:  Roundtable Discussion

Moderator: Ana María Ochoa (Columbia University)

Participants:  David Bird (Columbia), Sean Colonna (Columbia), Zosha Di Castri (Columbia), Maria Fantinato (Columbia), Marc Hannaford (Columbia), Karine Le Bail (CNRS/CRAL/EHESS), Miya Masaoka (Columbia), Violeta Nigro Giunta (CRAL)



 David Bird is a composer and multimedia artist based in New York City. His work explores the dramatic potential of electroacoustic and mixed media environments, often highlighting the relationships between technology and the individual. His work has been performed internationally, at venues and festivals such as the MATA festival in New York City; the Gaudeamus Festival in Utrecht, Netherlands; the Wien Modern Festival in Vienna, Austria; the SPOR festival in Aarhus, Denmark; the IRCAM Manifeste Festival in Paris, France; and the Festival Mixtur in Barcelona, Spain. He has composed and collaborated with groups including the Ensemble Intercontemporain, the Jack Quartet, the Bozzini Quartet, Yarn/Wire, the Talea Ensemble, Mantra Percussion, the Mivos Quartet, the Austrian Ensemble for Contemporary Music (OENM), AUDITIVVOKAL Dresden, Ensemble Proton Bern, Loadbang, the TAK Ensemble, Ensemble Moto Perpetuo, and the Nouveaux Classical Project.

 Esteban Buch is directeur d’études (full professor) at the École des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales/Paris Sciences et Lettres (EHESS/PSL) in Paris, France, where he runs de Centre de Recherches sur les Arts et le Langage (CRAL) and the Master’s program in Music. A specialist of the relationships between music and politics in the twentieth century, he is the author of Trauermarsch. L’Orchestre de Paris dans l’Argentine de la dictature (Seuil, 2016), Le cas Schönberg. Naissance de l’avant-garde musicale (Gallimard, 2006), and Beethoven’s Ninth. A Political History (University of Chicago Press, 2003), among other books.

 Rémy Campos is professor of music history at the Conservatoire national supérieur de musique et de danse de Paris and head of research at the Haute école de musique de Genève. His work focused on the history of conservatories (Paris and Genève) and the historiography of music. His current research focuses on music performance practice during the 19th and the 20th centuries.  Recent publications include Le Conservatoire de Paris et son histoire. Une Institution en questions. Un essai suivi de seize entretiens (2016) and Le Piano français et la technique du jeu perlé (1840-1960) (forthcoming), and two documentary films online.

 César Colón-Montijo is a journalist and doctoral candidate in Ethnomusicology at Columbia University. His doctoral dissertation studies the life and music of the foundational Afro-Puerto Rican singer Ismael “Maelo” Rivera through ethnographic research conducted in Venezuela, Panamá, Puerto Rico, and New York. César is the editor of Cocinando Suave: Ensayos de Salsa en Puerto Rico (2015), a collection of scholarly, historical, and journalistic essays, poems, and photo essays about the histories of salsa in Puerto Rico. He published Viaje a La Casita: Notas de Plena en el Rincón Criollo (2016), an ethnographic chronicle based on his research about Puerto Rican music and culture in the South Bronx. 

 Sean Colonna is a second-year doctoral student in historical musicology at Columbia University. Prior to starting his graduate studies he joined Teach for America in 2012, working as a founding music teacher at a charter school in Arkansas. In 2014 he received a Fulbright Scholarship to work in Germany as an English Teaching Assistant. His current work centers on black composers in and around the time of the Harlem Renaissance, exploring how their operatic compositions both participated in and expanded the boundaries of traditional Euro-American compositional practice. He recently gave a paper presentation entitled “H. Lawrence Freeman’s Voodoo: Toward an Aesthetics of 'Negro Grand Opera'" at the 2017 Rutgers University Musicological Society Graduate Conference.

 Zosha Di Castri, the Francis Goelet Assistant Professor of Music at Columbia University, is a Canadian composer/pianist. Her work, which has been performed in Canada, the US, South America, Asia, and Europe, extends beyond purely concert music including projects with electronics, sound arts, and collaborations with video and dance. She has worked with such ensembles as the San Francisco Symphony, Montreal Symphony Orchestra, the National Arts Centre Orchestra, the L.A. Philharmonic, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, ICE, Wet Ink, Ekmeles, the NEM, and Talea Ensemble among others. Zosha is currently.

Maria Fantinato is a PhD student in ethnomusicology at Columbia University. She received her MA in Communication and Culture from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, with a thesis on the relationship between music, communication and aesthetics among experimental musicians in Rio de Janeiro. She continued her work at Columbia University, with a thesis focusing on listening and mediating practices in a local choro scene in New York City. She is currently studying the relationship between music, sonic amplification and sonic coexistence attending to boat routes and the circulation of religious, regional and massive popular music genres in the North of Brazil. 

Walter Frisch is H. Harold Gumm/Harry and Albert von Tilzer Professor of Music at Columbia University, where he has taught since 1982.  He has written widely about music from the Austro-German sphere in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.  Frisch served as general editor of a series of period music histories from W. W. Norton, Western Music in Context.  His own volume in the series, Music in the Nineteenth Century, appeared in Fall 2012 and is being translated into Chinese and Spanish.  A book on Arlen and Harburg’s song “Over the Rainbow” will appear in Fall 2017 in the series Keynotes from Oxford University Press.

 Lydia Goehr is Professor of Philosophy at Columbia University.  She is the author of The Imaginary Museum of Musical Works: An Essay in the Philosophy of Music (1992; second edition with a new essay, 2007); The Quest for Voice: Music, Politics, and the Limits of Philosophy (1998); Elective Affinities: Musical Essays on the History of Aesthetic Theory [ (2008), and co-editor with Daniel Herwitz of The Don Giovanni Moment. Essays on the legacy of an Opera (2006). Her current book project is titled Red Sea—Red Square: Bohemian Tales of Wit and Melancholy. She is co-editor with Jonathan Gilmore of Handbook on Arthur C. Danto, contracted with Wiley-Blackwell.

 Andrew Goldman, a Presidential Scholar in Society and Neuroscience and Adjunct Assistant Professor of Music at Columbia, completed his PhD in 2015 at the University of Cambridge on the cognition of musical improvisation. His current work focuses on developing theories of improvisation that are compatible with explanatory frameworks from cognitive science and neuroscience. He also conducts EEG experiments to test these theories. His work has been published in music theory and music psychology journals. Andrew also co-organizes Columbia’s Embodied Cognition Reading Group and the Comparing Domains of Improvisation discussion group. Andrew is also a concert pianist and composer. In 2014, Andrew’s original musical “Science! The Musical” was premiered in Cambridge, UK.

 Marc Hannaford is a music theorist and improvising musician whose academic interests include improvisation (broadly construed), analysis, critical identity studies, and rhythm and meter. The central focus of his dissertation research is the pianist and composer Muhal Richard Abrams—his music as well as the network of musicians, composers, artists, theorists, ideologies, and aesthetics of which he is a part.  Marc performs regularly in New York and on occasion internationally. His most recent recording, Can You See With Two Sets of Eyes?, was described as what “advanced, contemporary, improvised, virtuosic music might sound like, a decade or more into the future” by the Weekend Australian. His piece, “Fainter, Stronger,” commissioned and performed in 2016 by the Monash Art Orchestra, will appear on record in 2018.

 Paula Clare Harper is a PhD candidate in Historical Musicology at Columbia University. Her work focuses on the intersection of music and sound with issues of circulation, technology and social media, gender, race, labor, and representation. She has presented on topics ranging from Beyoncé, to Taylor Swift, to viral videos and internet musical practices, at conferences across the country and internationally. Paula is currently completing her dissertation, entitled “Unmute This: Sound, Circulation, and Sociality in the Rise of Viral Media," and her work on Beyoncé's 2013 surprise album release will be published in an upcoming issue of Popular Music and Society

 Nori Jacoby is a Presidential Scholar In Society And Neuroscience at Columbia University. His research focuses on the role of culture in auditory perception, using iterated learning alongside classical psychophysical methods to characterize perceptual biases in music and speech rhythms in populations around the world. Other areas of interest include the mathematical modeling of sensorimotor synchronization as well as the application of machine-learning techniques to model aspects of musical syntax, including tonal harmony, birdsong, and the perception of musical form. Before coming to Columbia, he was a postdoc at the McDermott Computational Audition Lab at MIT and at Tom Griffiths's Computational Cognitive Science Lab at Berkeley. His research has been published in journals including Nature, Current Biology, Nature Scientific Reports, Philosophical Transactions B, Journal of Neuroscience, and the Journal of Vision.

 Tristan Labouret studied viola with Bruno Pasquier and Fabienne Stadelmann at the Pôle Supérieur d'Aubervilliers, where he graduated in 2015. Former principal viola of the Orchestre Français des Jeunes (2012-2014) in which he played on many european scenes (Berlin’s Philharmonie and Konzerthaus, Cité de la Musique in Paris, Grand Théâtre de Provence…), he is since 2015 member of the “Ensemble OpEra 12”, a chamber orchestra that performs in Paris.In addition to his activities as a musician, he began studying musicology at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse de Paris, where he obtained two first prices in 2017. Within the framework of the class of history of music, his research principally focused on the history of performing pitch in the nineteenth-century France.

Karine Le Bail, historian and researcher at CNRS, is studies the social history of the artistic professions during the 20th century – scenic fields, music and politics, cultural mediations. At the l’Ecole des hautes études en sciences sociales, she leads a seminar entitled "La voix et ses espaces au théâtre et à l’Opéra”: perception, cognition, interprétation .  She produced Les Greniers de la mémoire (1994-2015) for France Musique, as well as a broadcast based on her EHESS seminar focusing on the voice (À pleine voix).  She has published Pierre Schaeffer, les constructions impatientes (CNRS éditions, 2012); the memoirs of Henry Barraud, Un compositeur à la tête de la Radio. Essai autobiographique (Fayard, 2010); and La musique au pas. Être musicien sous l’Occupation (CNRS éditions, 2016).

 Miya Masaoka, Director of Sound Arts in Columbia’s School of the Arts, works at the intersections of sound, composition, improvisation, spatialized perception and social interaction.  Her work has exhibited internationally including the Venice Biennale, Park Avenue Armory, Merkin Hall, ICA, PA, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago and many others. She was a Fulbirght fellow to Japan in 2016, and has been awarded the Doris Duke Award, the Alpert Award, Gerbode, the MAP Fund, Montalvo Residency and The Centre for Contemporary Art at Ujazdowski Castle.  She has taught composition at NYU and in the Sound program at Bard MFA since 2002, and is currently the director for the MFA Sound Art at Columbia University.  She will premiere piece for the Glasgow Orchestra in 2018.

 Violeta Nigro Giunta is a musicologist and pianist. She is presently a doctoral candidate at the EHESS, where she is studying the transformations in the field of New Music in Buenos Aires from 1990s until the present, analyzing the dialogue between the music, its actors, institutions, and context. She is the author of “Vexations X8, les deux temps d’une oeuvre. Musique et politique à Buenos Aires” (Marges, Presses Universitaires de Vincennes, 2014), “Entendre la Guerre. De 14-18 à l’Irak” (Critique 829-830, 2016) and collaborated with the Routledge Encyclopaedia of Modernism (edited by Eduardo Herrera - music section).  As a performer, she studied with pianist Haydée Schvartz, and at the CEAMC (Centro de Estudios Avanzados en Música Cotemporánea). She has taken master classes with Stephen Drury, Fernando Perez and Dimitri Vassilakis, specialising in 20th and 21st century music.

 Ana María Ochoa is Professor of Music at Columbia University, where she has taught since 2003 She is currently editor of the Latin American branch of the International Association for the Study of Popular Music (IASPM) and a member of the editorial board of TRANS, the Journal of the Iberian Society for Ethnomusicology.  Her research interests lie in traditional Latin American musics and transculturation, music and literature, music and cultural policy and the construction of the popular in Latin America. Her book Aurality: Listening and Knowledge in Nineteenth-Century Colombia (Duke University Press, 2014) was a winner of the 2015 Alan Merriam Prize, presented by the Society for Ethnomusicology. 

 Tom Smith is a PhD candidate in Historical Musicology at Columbia University. Tom came to Columbia in 2011, having previously studied at Cambridge University and King’s College London. His PhD dissertation critically explores how music is heard through contemporary American law as evidence, offense, resource, and contract.

 Sarah Woolley is Professor of Psychology at Columbia University, where she works on the neural basis and behavior of social communication.  Her current research focuses on songbirds as model systems for understanding how sensory signals are encoding and decoded by the brain and how that process results in perception and social communication.  Her publications include “Tuning for spectro-temporal modulations as a mechanism for auditory discrimination of natural sounds” (2005); and  “Stimulus-Dependent Auditory Tuning Results in Synchronous Population Coding of Vocalizations in the Songbird Midbrain” (2006)