Music

Philip V. Bohlman Receives Guggenheim Fellowship

Philip V. Bohlman, the Mary Werkman Distinguished Service Professor of Music, received the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship. Bohlman plans to use the fellowship to work on a new book, Music After Nationalism. In his work as an ethnomusicologist, he studies Jewish music and modernity as well as politics of religion and race in the music of the Middle East and South Asia. He is also the artistic director for the New Budapest Orpheum Society, who were the recipients of the 2011 Noah Greenberg Award for Historical Performance from the American Musicological Society.

To read a full biography and learn more about the fellowship, click here.

Contemporary Music Ensemble CUBE Performs at Fulton Hall

On Feb. 3, 2013, Chicago-based contemporary chamber music ensemble CUBE marked its 25th anniversary with a concert, titled "Hanging From the Edge," at Fulton Hall. CUBE has strong ties to the University of Chicago community: Patricia Morehead, the founder of CUBE, received her PhD in composition from the University, and John Eaton, Professor Emeritus in Music, serves on its advisory board along with Augusta Read Thomas, University Professor in Music.

Steven Rings Wins Emerging Scholar Award

Steven Rings, Associate Professor in Music, was recently awarded the Emerging Scholar Award from the Society for Music Theory for his book Tonality and Transformation. The Emerging Scholar Award is given to books or articles published within five years of the author's receipt of their PhD. Rings, who received his PhD from Yale in 2006, focuses his scholarship on transformational theory, phenomenology, popular music, and questions of music and meaning. Tonality and Transformation uses transformational music theory to examine diverse aspects of tonal hearing, focusing on the listener's experience. For more information on the Society for Music Theory, please visit their site.

UChicago Composers Share Creative Processes

Shulamit Ran, Andrew MacLeish Distinguished Service Professor of Music, Augusta Read Thomas, University Professor of Composition in Music, and Marta Ptaszynska, Helen B. and Frank L. Sulzberger Professor of Music, recently shared what inspires them to create music and their composing processes. Ran, who recently composed a piece inspired by the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts which was performed at the building's launch festival, said “Life informs my music in every possible way, through the people I meet, the sounds I hear, things I see or read, life’s events and passages, its awe and adventure. This feeds into everything I am, and thus everything I compose.”

Ptaszynka and Thomas both commented that ideas for their compositions usually come to them fully-formed, rather than in fragments. “I never start a piece if I don’t know how the piece will end,” Ptaszynska says. “It’s like buying a train ticket without knowing where you’re going.”

Thomas' process echoes this theme of travel. “I usually draw maps—a timeline of the piece, the shapes it’s going to take, its harmonic fields,” she says. “If you’re going to build a huge building or cathedral, you can’t just go to the hardware store and start hammering nails. I actually draft the beginning, middle, and end of absolutely every sound. I want to know, what’s the inner life? Where is it going, why is it going there? How does it relate to what comes next, and why? Gestalt is everything to me.”

All three composers underscored that none of their creativity would be possible without diligent work, which makes the University of Chicago a particularly fruitful setting. “Many people have a talent but don’t develop their craft,” Ptaszynska says. “And talent without craft is nothing.”

Read the full article here.

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