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Department News

Musicology graduate student Zoe Weiss’ early music ensemble LeStrange Viols’ recording William Cranford: Consort Music for 4, 5 and 6 Viols (New Focus Recordings, 2015) was listed as one of the Notable Recordings of 2015 by Alex Ross in the New Yorker.

More about LeStrange Viols here.

Associate Professor Alejandro L. Madrid was named new editor of Oxford University Press’s award-winning series Currents in Latin American and Iberian Music (CLAIM).

Founded in 2008 by Walter Clark, CLAIM is recognized internationally as the most prestigious and influential Ibero-American music scholarship series. Its books have received prizes from the American Musicological Society, the ASCAP Foundation, the California Mission Studies Association, and the International Association for the Study of Popular Music. Having published three books in the series, professor Madrid’s academic endeavors were central in establishing CLAIM’s impeccable reputation and success. His main task is to reinvigorate the series by redrawing the borders of Ibero-American music and by identifying and attracting cutting edge research while maintaining the highest quality of scholarship.

Professor Emeritus Don M. Randel, was named an Honorary Member of the American Musicological Society at the Society’s 2015 Annual Meeting in Louisville, Kentucky.

Honorary members of the AMS are those scholars “who have made outstanding contributions to furthering its stated object and whom the Society wishes to honor.”

The award presentation for Professor Randel included the following commendation:

The Board and Council wish to honor you for your substantial body of scholarly writings, including your magisterial work on Mozarabic chant, your groundbreaking study of Panamanian popular artist Rubén Blades, and your contributions to discussions of the musical and musicological canon. In the remarkable sequence of Harvard Dictionaries you edited, you opened the field to include non-Western traditions and popular music, and in your elegant articles on Dufay you taught us how a Renaissance composer reads a text through music. We also wish to recognize your dedicated service to the Society as a member of the AMS Council; as Chair of Board Nominating Committee and Stevenson Award Committee; and as Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of the American Musicological Society (not to mention a few other administrative chores you taken on elsewhere).

The American Musicological Society was founded in 1934 as a non-profit organization to advance “research in the various fields of music as a branch of learning and scholarship.” In 1951 the Society became a constituent member of the American Council of Learned Societies. At present, 3,300 individual members and 1,200 institutional subscribers from forty nations are on the rolls of the Society.

HsuMemoirProfessor Emeritus John Hsu and his wife Martha Hsu have recently released his memoir, about his early days in China, his training at the New England Conservatory and his subsequent career at Cornell and internationally as a cellist, gambist, barytonist and conductor. Titled “It’s All About Music,” the book is available for purchase on

“I am grateful to have had a life full of music,” is how John Hsu ends this memoir that documents his long, successful career. Born in China, he received his early musical training in Shanghai in the 1940’s with Jewish émigrés from Europe. Leaving China in 1949, just as the Communists were taking over the country, he came to the U.S. for college. After receiving his Master’s degree from the New England Conservatory (which awarded him an Honorary Doctorate in 1971), he joined the faculty of Cornell University, where he taught for 50 years.

While teaching cello as his primary responsibility at Cornell, Hsu learned to play the viola da gamba and had an acclaimed career specializing in the difficult French solo repertoire. He is the editor of the complete instrumental works of Marin Marais, the most prolific composer of the time. In 2001 the French government conferred on Hsu the Chevalier de l’ordre des arts et des letters for his concerts, recordings and edition of French music.

An accomplished performer on the viola da gamba, the cello, and the baryton, he became a conductor along the way, leading the Apollo Ensemble (a period instrument orchestra he founded) in Haydn symphonies and the Cornell Symphony Orchestra in works from the 18th to the 20th centuries. After retiring from Cornell in 2005, he guest-conducted the Vivaldi Project Ensemble and became Artistic Director and Conductor of the Atlanta Baroque Orchestra.

Told in short chapters, full of anecdotes, copiously illustrated, this memoir will be of interest to anyone curious about the development of the period instrument movement, music at Cornell University, the viola da gamba, Jews in China during the war, Haydn baryton trios, or the life of an extraordinary musician who captivated audiences for decades with his artistry, expressiveness, and eloquence.

By: Linda B. Glasser, A&S Communications
November 18, 2015

On her debut solo album, “Routes of Evanescence,” violinist Ariana Kim showcases six works by pioneering American women composers spanning three generations. Kim and guests Ieva Jokubaviciute (piano, harpsichord) and Jennifer Curtis (mandolin, violin) will perform live excerpts from the album and offer commentary on the pieces at a pre-release concert Sunday, Nov. 22, at 7 p.m. at the Carriage House Café, 305 Stewart Ave., Ithaca.

The album features world premiere recordings of “The Moon and the Sand” by Curtis and “Still Life Crumbles” by Tonia Ko, a Cornell graduate student in the field of music; as well as sonatas by Ruth Crawford Seeger and Ellen Taaffe Zwilich and solo pieces by Augusta Read Thomas.

More at:

Pianist Stacy Joo was named winner of the 12th annual Cornell Concerto Competition on Sunday night, December 13, 2015, with her performance of the first movement of Sergei Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 3, accompanied by Blaise Bryski, who teaches and performs both at Cornell and Ithaca College.

From San Jose, California, Stacy is a senior majoring in chemistry and biology. She began to play piano at the age of four under the tutelage of her mother. A winner of multiple competition prizes during her high school years, she also played in her school’s wind ensemble and symphony orchestra as well as the California All-State Band. At Cornell, she has played piano for the Cornell Symphony Orchestra and Wind Symphony, for a cover band and for a rock musical, and is currently studying with D.M.A. student Ryan MacEvoy McCullough. Stacy plans to attend medical school in the future and hopes to stay involved in music. She will perform Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 3 (first movement) with the Cornell Symphony Orchestra on Saturday, March 12, 2016 (3 PM, Bailey Hall).

Of the 12 competitors, four other finalists were named following the first round of competition in the afternoon: cellist Jeremy Gershonowitz (Materials Science and Engineering ’18, student of John Haines-Eitzen); pianist Matthew Peraza (Biology ’18, student of Blaise Bryski); and two flutists, Jae Baek (Biological Engineering ’17) and Ellie Bayles (Biometry and Statistics ’17), both students of Elizabeth Shuhan. All five undergraduate musicians performed in the finals, beginning at 8 PM in Barnes Hall.

The panel of three judges included Ithaca College School of Music retired faculty pianist Phiroze Mehta and Director of Music Admissions Shea Scruggs (MBA ’15, The Johnson School, oboist), as well as James Tapia, Director of Orchestral Activities at the Setnor School of Music, Syracuse University.

In Search of Julián Carrillo and Sonido 13, written by Alejandro L. Madrid has been published by Oxford University Press (August 2015).

In the 1920s, Mexican composer Julián Carrillo (1875-1965) developed a microtonal system he metaphorically called El Sonido 13 (The 13th Sound). Although his pioneering role as one of the first proponents of microtonality within the Western art music tradition allowed him to achieve a cult figure status among European avant-garde circles in the 1960s and 1970s, his music and legacy have remained largely ignored by scholars and music critics. Most of what we know today about him or his ideas comes directly from Carrillo’s own propagandistic writings or the vitriolic or petty disparagement from his critics. In this book, Madrid takes a critical stance to both of these representations and explores the composer’s ideas not only in relation to the historical moments of their inception but also in relation to the various cultural projects that kept them alive and re-signified them through the beginning of the twenty-first century. This project emphasizes a dialogue between Sonido 13 as the expression of an imaginary future for Carrillo and his followers and Sonido 13 as imaginary past for artists and musicians to validate a variety of alternative cultural projects throughout the twentieth century. The author argues that by establishing a critical conversation between the composer’s rhetoric, an analysis of his music scores, a serious assessment of how and why the Mexican musical mainstream has neglected his ideas, and the use of these ideas by contemporary alternative cultural projects, one can better appreciate the profound cultural meaning of Julián Carrillo and Sonido 13.

This monograph is professor Madrid’s eighth book, following award-winning monographs about dance culture in Mexico and Cuba, avant-garde and modernist music in Mexico, electronic dance music from the US-Mexico border, and a textbook about music in Mexico, as well as edited volumes about transnational and postnational musical experiences in Latin America and the US-Mexico border. Madrid is Associate Professor of Musicology and a member of the graduate fields of Music as well as Performing and Media Arts at Cornell University.

The Cornell University Department of Music seeks a composer, broadly defined–from concert and popular musics to sound art–for a full-time, tenure-track or tenure-eligible position to begin July 1, 2016. Salary is commensurate with experience and qualifications. The ideal candidate will be someone maintaining an active professional career with an international reputation or the clear potential for one.

The position demands excellence in teaching, including composition courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels, as well as seminars that reflect and amplify the candidate’s research interests and creative practices. This individual should be capable of advancing the scope and influence of composition at Cornell.

Applicants must possess a doctorate or equivalent professional experience and be qualified to supervise doctoral students in Composition. Preferred candidates should demonstrate the highest standards of professional and artistic accomplishment, research, teaching, and service, complementing and extending the strengths of the current faculty and joining a vital community of scholars, composers, and performers at Cornell. As an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer, the Department of Music seeks to foster a musical community that is rich with cultural, social, and intellectual diversity. We particularly welcome applications from those whose gender, racial, or ethnic identities are underrepresented in higher education.

Review of applications begins on October 15. To receive full consideration, please submit a letter of application, a curriculum vitae with a list of works, links to a website or other audiovisual online resources, and three letters of recommendation via Academic Jobs Online: Please do not send scores or other materials at this time. Additional materials may be requested at a later date.

Any letters that must be sent hard copy may be sent to: Composer Search Committee, 101 Lincoln Hall, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853

Questions regarding the position may be addressed to Professor Kevin Ernste at Please indicate Composition Search in the subject line of your email.

Diversity and Inclusion are a part of Cornell University’s heritage. We are an employer and educator recognized for valuing AA/EEO, Protected Veterans, and Individuals with Disabilities.

Ko-Tonia-BMI AwardThird year graduate student Tonia Ko is one of nine young composers to win a BMI 2015 Student Composer Awards.  The competition, now in its 63rd year, is designed to recognize and encourage young composers who exhibit superior musical compositional ability. Deirdre Chadwick, BMI Foundation President, commented that she hopes, “winning this award helps them trust their instincts, take chances, and move forward with confidence.”  The winners receive scholarship grants to be applied toward their musical education.  More at:

Anaar Desai-StephensAnaar Desai-Stephens has been awarded the  American Musicological Society’s Howard Mayer Brown Fellowship. The highly competitive prize was created to promote an increased presence of underrepresented minorities in the field of musicology.  The fellowship supports a graduate student at the dissertation writing stage of their program for a full year. Anaar is one of two recipients of the fellowship, nation-wide.  Congratulations Anaar!