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University of Virginia
Critical and Comparative Studies in Music

Type of Program and Degrees Offered

The Doctorate in ethnomusicology/musicology in the McIntire Department of Music is within the Critical and Comparative Studies in Music program. Students may focus in ethnomusicological topics and methods, but through their course work are exposed to a wide range of approaches to music and performance studies. Ph.D. degrees are offered in this program. The undergraduate degree is in Music (which includes exposure to Critical and Comparative Studies as well as to the Composition and Computer Technologies in the music program).

Program Focus

This program encourages students to develop interdisciplinary perspectives on music and musical culture. Seminars and independent projects examine diverse musical traditions along with the research techniques of musicology, ethnomusicology, theory and analysis, and popular music studies. Working closely with faculty mentors, students approach their own research interests with a combination of the most appropriate methods from these and related fields such as performance studies, feminist and queer studies, aesthetics, religious studies, and critical theory. Students currently in the program are writing on a range of modern and historical, "popular” and "classical,” American, European, and non-Western topics, and have been well represented in national and international conferences.

Special Resources

African Music and Dance Ensemble, Klezmer Ensemble, Virginia Center for Computer Music, Ethnomusicology-focused Graduate Student Research Group. Instruction available in many musical genres and tradition including jazz and bluegrass. Students are encouraged to affiliate and take courses in departments related to their research interests. Ph.D. qualifying exams are designed by students on three broad topic areas of their choosing.

Full-Time Faculty in Ethnomusicology

Michelle Kisliuk. Ph.D. New York University (1991); Associate Professor; Music (with affiliations in Anthropology, The Woodson Institute for African and African American Studies, Dance, and Jewish Studies). Research Interests: Ethnographic writing/poetics, performance theory, the integration of theory and practice, dance, African studies, Central Africa (CAR) and West Africa (Ghana/Togo), bluegrass, ensemble dynamics, aesthetics, traditional and experimental performance, African Jews.

Joel Rubin. Ph.D. City University of London (2001); Assistant Professor, Music and Director of Music Performance. Research interests: Jewish instrumental klezmer music, the cultural and musical milieu of Eastern European Jewish immigrant wedding instrumentalists in New York in the early 20th century. Further research interests include: music and trauma; music and professionalism; music and diaspora; music and identity; music and religion; folk music revivals; musical hybridity; hasidic music; American Jewish popular music; Jewish musical traditions of the Middle East and beyond; and art and urban popular traditions of the Balkans, Turkey and the Middle East.

A third ethnomusicology (replacement) hire is in process.

Affiliated Faculty

Ted Coffey. Ph.D. Princeton University. Assistant Professor. Research interests: Acoustic, electronic and mixed composition; experimental aesthetics; interactive technologies; installation; sound design; popular music; art & activism.

Scott DeVeaux. Ph.D. University of California, Berkeley. Associate Professor, Music. Specializes in jazz and American music, with secondary interests in ethnomusicology (Africa), popular music, and music and war.

Bonnie Gordon. Ph.D. University of Pennsylvania. Associate Professor, Music. Early Modern Italy, Gender and Sexuality, History of Science, Monteverdi, Castrati. The affective potential of the human voice. She uses vocal music written for sixteenth and seventeenth century Italian singers to illuminate our understanding of the music, science, and culture of that period. She has explored similar issues in articles about contemporary singer-songwriters Kate Bush and Tori Amos.

Bruce Holsinger. Ph.D. Columbia University (Comparative Lit). Professor of Music and English. Research interests: musical and literary relations in the European Middle Ages, with particular interests in liturgical studies, the history of sexuality, and the premodern roots of modern critical thought.

Fred Maus. Ph.D. Princeton University. Associate Professor, Music. Theory and analysis, gender and sexuality, popular music, aesthetics, dramatic and narrative aspects of instrumental music.

Richard Will. Ph.D. Cornell University. Associate Professor of Music. Specializes in European music of the 18th and early 19th centuries, as well as American folk and roots music. Current projects include Mozart Live: Performance, Media, and Meaning, an examination of Mozart performance in the 20th century, and studies in the ideology of folk music collecting and arranging.

General Program Statement

Critical and Comparative Studies

This program encourages students to develop interdisciplinary perspectives on music and musical culture. Seminars and independent projects examine diverse musical traditions along with the research techniques of musicology, ethnomusicology, theory and analysis, and popular music studies. Working closely with faculty mentors, students approach their own research interests with a combination of the most appropriate methods from these and related fields such as performance studies, feminist and queer studies, aesthetics, religious studies, and critical theory. Students currently in the program are writing on a range of modern and historical, "popular” and "classical,” American, European, and non-Western topics, and have been well represented in national and international conferences.

Financial Support

Jefferson Scholars Graduate Fellowships were established in 2001 through private donations to the Jefferson Scholars Foundation and the College Foundation. Candidates demonstrating exceptional potential as scholars and possessing a willingness to share their passion with a broad audience are nominated by departments and selected based on a national competition conducted in Charlottesville each February. Usually an incoming Critical and Comparative Studies Ph.D. student is awarded a Jefferson Fellowship every other year.

Graduate School Fellowships are awarded on a merit basis to students in all Ph.D.-granting departments at the University. Nominations are made to the Dean of the Graduate School. Usually two or three incoming students in Critical and Comparative Studies in Music are awarded Graduate School Fellowships.

Mellon Fellowships are available to students of the humanities at all U.S. universities. Applicants in Critical and Comparative Studies are encouraged to apply.

Further Information

Fred E. Maus, Director of Graduate Studies. Email: fem2x@virginia.edu

Michelle Kisliuk, Associate Professor. Email: mk6k@virginia.edu

Program Website

http://artsandsciences.virginia.edu/music/graduate/index.html

Ethnomusicology Student Group

Maria Guarino, graduate student ethnomusicology group chair. Email: msg9j@virginia.edu

Related Websites

McIntire Department of Music: http://artsandsciences.virginia.edu/music/

The content for University of Virginia was last updated June 30, 2010.

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