Welcome! I am a musicologist whose interests include 20th-century American music, problems in editing, the digital humanities, and historiography of the recent past. I have taught at Binghamton University since the fall of 2012. Some parts of this website are publicly viewable, others require you to log in. Please email me if you need access or if you are having trouble logging in. I'm easy to reach:
Designed and led a semester-long survey of music from Beethoven to the present for approximately 180 non-concentrators. Also responsible for managing a five person teaching staff.
Designed and led a semester-long survey of music from Beethoven's Ninth Symphony to the present for approximately one dozen music majors. This course was part of the required music history sequence for concentrators.
Survey of Western Music: Designed and led a semester-long survey of music from antiquity to 1750 for approximately twenty music majors.
Developments in New Music: Designed and led a semester-long overview of trends in concert music since 1945 for fourteen non-majors.
Designed and led a seven-week intensive course for approximately thirty music majors, covering the core repertory and main themes in music of the United States from the colonial era to the present. This course was part of the required music history sequence.
For most of the twentieth century, commentators have drawn on tropes of space and timelessness to describe the music of Carl Ruggles (1876-1971). A collective vision, as articulated by Dane Rudhyar, Charles Seeger, Lou Harrison, Virgil Thomson, and others, has emerged that presents Ruggles as a composer in touch with the infinite, able to render the mysteries of the universe in thimble-sized musical spaces. This essay explores Carl Ruggles's creative process in his only work for solo piano, Evocations (1937-1943; rev. 1956), as revealed through his editorial collaboration with John Kirkpatrick (1905-1991). I argue that Ruggles's compositional approach shows a gradual refinement of how he sought to represent the "timeless" and "resonant" in these pieces. Ruggles's use of both register and the overtone series are particularly clear cases that show the connection between his musical materials and broader aesthetic goals. By concentrating on these aspects of Evocations, this approach complements existing scholarship on Ruggles. Moreover, exploring how commentators on his music sought to position Ruggles as a composer with special access to "ancient" truths, and how Ruggles's collaboration with Kirkpatrick on Evocations complements that critical discourse, does more than broaden our perspective on Ruggles's music. It shows that Ruggles was not simply "Ives without the tunes," as music critic Alex Ross once described him. Rather, Ruggles assumes renewed significance for helping to articulate the nature of American modernism's relationship to the Western musical canon.
In spite of the publicity generated at times by the politics of the mature Leonard Bernstein, the roots of his entanglement with political causes have been little-explored. As part of a larger collaborative project investigating Bernstein's ties to Boston, this article traces his role in the Harvard Student Union's theatrical productions. These shows were important because they represented some of Bernstein's earliest efforts at writing and directing for the theater. Bernstein worked on two shows sponsored by the Union: the production of Marc Blitzstein's Cradle Will Rock in 1939, during Bernstein.s senior year at Harvard, and that of Aristophanes's play Peace in 1941, two years after he graduated. Although the Harvard Student Union was a major progressive political force on campus, Bernstein's relationship with the group appears to have been surprisingly casual. Examination of archival materials surrounding the productions, as well as selected interviews from the larger collaborative Bernstein project of which this article is but one part, reveals Bernstein as a man who was primarily interested in the Harvard Student Union insofar as it was an organization amenable to supporting his musical activities. As the heat of Bernstein's celebrity cools with time, such findings are an important aid in avoiding drawing overly deterministic conclusions about the significance of Bernstein's affiliations while ignoring his own immediate aims, political or otherwise.
Although scholars already understand that the issue of revisions in the music of Charles Ives is fraught paleographically, the intellectual history of attitudes towards Ives's revisions has remained underexplored. This essay examines the major voices in the debate about Ives's revisions between the activation of the Charles Ives Society in 1973 and the publication of Maynard Solomon's 1987 article "Charles Ives: Some Questions of Veracity." Unpublished letters by John Kirkpatrick and Elliott Carter, which shed crucial light on the issue, are discussed and are reproduced here in their entirety. This debate influenced the way the Ives Society approached their complete critical edition. The Society, which sought to represent "the composer that Ives was at the time of composition," disregarded later versions of Ives's music in approximately one fifth of the editions issued during Kirkpatrick's tenure as Executive Editor. Taken as a whole, what emerges is a discussion that was much more active than existing scholarship has acknowledged. By approaching Ives's revisions from a historiographic standpoint, future Ives scholarship, which includes editorial projects, has the opportunity to assess more fully its own assumptions about the composer as he has come to be known.
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