Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2018
Published in the series
ed. Robert Hatten.
Publication was supported by the AMS 75 PAYS Endowment of the American Musicological Society, funded in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
My work as a musicologist focuses on musical meaning and narrative and on issues surrounding repertorial canons, especially in music of the past two centuries. These themes are of particular relevance to our contemporary society, in which such notions as "media spin" and "fake news" reflect a heightened concern with the inescapable subjectivity of the way we frame narratives and events.
My first book, Allusion as Narrative Premise in Brahms’s Instrumental Music (Indiana University Press, 2018), examines the ways in which Brahms appears to weave allusions to the music of other composers into broad, movement-spanning narratives. It suggests that these narratives served as expressive outlets for Brahms's complicated, sometimes conflicted, attitudes toward the classical music canon that was coalescing during his lifetime, as he struggled to define his own position in history. The project emphasizes the profound effects the concept of a canon can have on an artist, including a Bloomian “anxiety of influence” and pressures to conform or rebel.
I have authored articles and reviews in journals including 19th-Century Music, Nineteenth-Century Music Review, The Journal of Musicological Research, and Notes. My work has been presented at meetings of the American Musicological Society, Society for American Music, German Studies Association, and Nineteenth-Century Studies Association and at the North American Conference on Nineteenth-Century Music. I have also done interdisciplinary consulting work with neuroscientists at MIT resulting in co-authorship on a publication in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
My current projects continue to explore issues surrounding narrative and the canon, as well as connections between music and literature, film, the visual arts, national identity and politics, mathematics, popular science, and technology in music of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. I am also guest editing an issue of Nineteenth-Century Music Review (Cambridge University Press) focusing on the influence of Beethoven on Brahms and his circle. The issue is based on a symposium I organized for Boston University's Center for Beethoven Research, where I served as Acting Co-Director with Lewis Lockwood in Spring 2018.
I enjoy teaching undergraduate and graduate courses on a wide range of topics, from medieval chant to Post-Modernism, from chamber music to film music, jazz, and Tin Pan Alley. Whatever the subject, my teaching is driven by the aim of providing students with opportunities and resources to develop as creative, self-aware, and socially aware thinkers and communicators. My hope is that students leave my classroom with an appreciation for the value of digging deep, questioning received modes of understanding, listening and speaking up, and finding connections across disciplinary and other socially constructed divides.
I currently serve on the music history faculty at the University of Rochester. I have previously held visiting faculty appointments at Central Connecticut State University (where I headed the program in music history), Boston University, Brown University, Wellesley College, and Williams College. I serve on the Boards of Directors of the Nineteenth-Century Studies Association, the American Brahms Society, and the Phi Beta Kappa Association of Boston; on the Editorial Board for College Music Symposium; and on the American Musicological Society (AMS) Council and recently served two terms as President of the New England Chapter of the AMS. I hold a PhD in musicology from Brandeis University and a degree in music and mathematics from Wellesley College and trained in piano and choral singing at the New England Conservatory of Music.