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Department News

DanzonAssociate Professor Alejandro L. Madrid’s latest book, Danzón: Circum-Carribean Dialogues in Music and Dance has been awarded the 2014 ASCAP Foundation Deems Taylor Béla Bartók Award for outstanding ethnomusicology book. Co-authored by Robin D. Moore and published by Oxford University Press, Danzón explores the development, circulation, and continuous re-signification of danzón music and dance from the end of the 19th century to the beginning of the 21st century.

The winners will be honored at a ceremony in November at the New York Institute of Technology in Manhattan, NY.

For more information about the award, follow this link.

music-for-amplified-keyboard-instruments-500x50033 years after it’s original release, David Borden’s influential work, Music For Amplified Keyboard Instruments, has been digitally remastered and will be reissued by Spectrum Spool in cooperation with Editions Mego.  Borden, along with David Yearsley and Blaise Bryski, will perform selections from this work at the Carriage House Hayloft on November 11, 2014.  Listing information can be found on the Calendar page. For more information on the reissue, follow this link.

Roberto Sierra, professor of music, in his home.

Professor Roberto Sierra has received a new commission for an 8 – 10 minute Overture as part of the Eugene Symphony Association’s 50th Anniversary Commissioning Project.  The piece, along with works by two other American composers, will have it’s world-premiere during ESA’s ambitious 2015/2016 season.  For more information, follow this link.

Nathan EricIn fall 2015, Albany Records will release the debut CD of alumnus Eric Nathan’s (DMA, 2012) chamber and solo music, entitled “Multitude, Solitude: The Music of Eric Nathan.” Nathan, who is serving as an visiting assistant professor of music at Williams College, said he is “thrilled to have Grammy-winning producer Judith Sherman recording and producing my CD, and to have a stellar lineup of artists joining me including the Momenta Quartet, trombonist Joseph Alessi, violist Samuel Rhodes, oboist Peggy Pearson, pianist Mei Rui and trumpeter Hugo Moreno.” Follow this link for more information.

Cello/percussion duo New Morse Code (Director of Percussion Michael Compitello and Hannah Collins) and composer Christopher Stark have been awarded a 2014 Classical Commissioning Grant from Chamber Music America, to support the creation of a new piece for cello, percussion, and electronics to be premiered in the 2015-2016.  The grantees in each of Chamber Music America’s highly selective program were selected by independent peer panels of prominent musicians and composers.

Christopher’s piece, The Language of Landscapes, will leverage the unexpected and unique sonic terrain of cello and percussion to transform real and imagined landscapes into compelling musical spaces, tracing a musical journey starting from Michael’s desert southwest home, traveling through the deciduous hills of upstate New York (Hannah’s home), and finally reaching towards the endless sky of Christopher’s northern Rockies.  Christopher and New Morse Code will spend the next year developing the piece together, generating and refining musical material in a series of residencies, gathering field-recordings and objects from the representative regions, and developing a set of custom-built live electronics.


Lecturer Annie Lewandowski has released her third full-length recording under the name Powerdove. The album, titled Arrest, was issued on CD and LP in France by Murailles Music on September 15th. Arrest features Lewandowski on vocals, accordion, and piano; John Dieterich (Deerhoof) on guitars and bass; and Thomas Bonvalet (L’ocelle Mare) on banjo, small instruments, body percussion, and electronics.

In his review for The Drone magazine (France), Olivier Lamm writes ” “The new album from Annie Lewandowski’s trio is already a classic.”

On October 2–4, 2014, the conference and festival “Sensation and Sensibility at the Keyboard in the Late Eighteenth Century: Celebrating the Tercentenary of C. P. E. Bach” kicks off a new $500,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to the Westfield Center for Historical Keyboard Studies at Cornell.

In concerts and talks over three days, guest performers and scholars, as well as Cornell faculty and graduate students, will explore late eighteenth-century theories of sentiment and feeling in Europe and America, focusing on the music of C. P. E. Bach and the holdings in Cornell’s collection of historic keyboard instruments (fortepiano, organ, harpsichord and clavichord).

Participants will include seven distinguished Department of Music alumni: Tom Beghin DMA ’97 (McGill University), Geoffrey Burgess PhD ’98 (Eastman School of Music), Emily Dolan PhD ’06 (Harvard University), Nick Mathew PhD ’06 (University of California, Berkeley), Pierpaolo Polzonetti PhD ’03(Notre Dame), Andrew Willis DMA ’94 (University of North Carolina at Greensboro), and Steven Zohn PhD ’95 (Temple University). A highlight of the event will be the Atkinson Forum concert, “America in Sentimental Europe,” featuring the celebrated and strange glass harmonica, and given by the award-winning period instrument ensemble Ars Lyrica Houston.

The event is organized by Cornell University Organist and Professor of Music Annette Richards. Richards’s talk, “Sensibility Triumphant: C. P. E. Bach and the Art of Feeling,” will also be featured as a keynote speech next November at the University of Oxford as part of a conference on “C. P. E. Bach and Eighteenth-Century Keyboard Culture.”


The Cornell music department became home to the Westfield Center for Historical Keyboard Studies in 2011 thanks to two initial grants from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation totaling $470,000.The new grant from the Mellon Foundation funds activities on and off campus, including the upcoming festivals “Environs Messiaen: Nature Rendered at the Keyboard” on March 5-8, 2015 and “Forte/Piano: A Festival Celebrating Pianos in History” on August 5-9, 2015, as well as “Technologies of the Keyboard,” a joint multi-year initiative exploring the keyboard arts across the centuries. For more information, see


James Spinazzola, DMA, will serve as Interim Director of Cornell University Winds for the 2014-2015 academic year.

James has extensive conducting experience; he was formerly Associate Professor of Music and Director of Instrumental Activities at the University of Indianapolis, where his duties included the direction of the Symphonic Wind Ensemble and Chamber Orchestra, and the instruction of courses in conducting and woodwind techniques. He also served as Conductor of the New World Youth Philharmonic, and, as a guest conductor, he has worked with numerous regional, all-state, and collegiate bands, orchestras, and jazz ensembles.

As part of a postdoctoral fellowship, James has worked over the past two years under outgoing Director of CU Winds Cindi Johnston Turner, who has accepted a position at University of Georgia, Athens, and Director of Orchestras Chris Younghoon Kim. An accomplished saxophonist, he has also coached combos in Cornell’s Jazz Ensembles program and has provided individual instruction to saxophone students.

shepherd_sean_ Alumnus Sean Shepherd’s Songs will be premiered by the NY PHIL on June 18th as part the Beethoven Piano Concertos Festival.  Commissioned by the New York Philharmonic, Shepard’s Songs will be performed between Beethoven’s Piano Concertos No. 2 and No. 3. Additional performances will be given June 19-21 as part of the month-long festival.  Shepherd earned his DMA in composition in May 2014 and has a Faculty Residency at the Tanglewood Music Center this summer. Congratulations Sean!

julia-webAlumna Julia Adolphe’s Dark Sand, Sifting Light received its world premiere on June 5th by the New York Philharmonic as part of the inaugural NY PHIL BIENNIAL.  The piece was one of three works chosen, out of a field of over 400, as part of American Composers Orchestra’s EarShot: the National Orchestra Composition Discovery Network. Earshot gives emerging composers the opportunity to have their work realized by professional orchestras.  As an undergraduate, Adolphe studied composition with Steven Stucky and voice with Judith Kellock. She is now pursuing her DMA at USC’s Thornton School of Music. For more information about the premiere, read Anthony Tommasini’s article in the NY Times.