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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!


Alejandro L. Madrid, associate professor in the Department of Music at Cornell University, has been invited to present a series of lectures at the Jornadas Universitarias “Julián Carrillo” in Mexico City on June 4-6, 2015. The event marks Mexico’s National University and Fonoteca Nacional’s commemoration of the 50th death anniversary of Mexican microtonal maverick Julián Carrillo. Madrid’s presentations, entitled “‘… y hermosísima patria será’: National and Post-National Transfigurations in Matilde,” “The Thirteen String Quartets: Continuities and Discontinuities in an Imaginary Cycle,” and “Reading Carrillo: The Future that Never Was,” are part of his upcoming monograph, In Search of Julián Carrillo and Sonido 13, which is scheduled to be released by Oxford University Press in early August. Besides the lectures, professor Madrid will present, in collaboration with the Momenta Quartet, a concert featuring Carrillo’s quartets nos. 1, 4, and 8. The events will be broadcast via live stream in the following link:


A live performance in a busy shopping area of Paris by lecturer Annie Lewandowski’s group Powerdove has premiered on la Blogotheque. Started by French filmmaker Vincent Moon in 2006, La Blogotheque’s Take Away Shows are a series of improvised video shoots of live performances in unexpected outdoor locations. The Take Away Shows have a large following online, having captured over 200 performances by bands including REM, Arcade Fire, and Sigur Ros. The performance by Powerdove was filmed in September 2015 following the release of their recording “Arrest.”


Stephen SpinelliThe Department of Music is pleased to announce that Stephen Spinelli will be the Assistant Director of Choral Music starting July 1, 2015.  Stephen is currently working toward a DMA in Choral Conducting (anticipated in 2016) from Northwestern, and will be relocating to Ithaca from Chicago.

Prior to starting at Northwestern, Stephen served as the director of middle and upper school choirs at Abington Friends School in Philadelphia. He also held positions as the choral director at Philadelphia University, and as assistant conductor to the Pennsylvania Girlchoir.   Additionally, Stephen held visiting faculty appointments as director of women’s choirs at Villanova University, and as the Director of Choral Activities at Moravian College. He is an accompanist for the Bennington Voice Workshops in Bennington, VT, sings with The Crossing in Philadelphia, and serves on the board of Roomful of Teeth.

Please join us in welcoming Stephen Spinelli to Cornell’s Department of Music!

The music video for lecturer Annie Lewandowski’s “When You’re Near” has premiered on the French webzines New Noise and Magic, and the US webzine OZY. Directed by Eben Portnoy and filmed in Los Angeles and Costa Rica, the video accompanies the first track from Powerdove’s 2014/2015 release Arrest. In the OZY premiere, music journalist Kate Crane writes: “Don’t look for emotion in this woman’s voice – but don’t think that means you can walk away unmoved. For Lewandowski, virtuosity, or showy technique, ‘is not where the musical nourishment is.’ Rather it lies in sophisticated, sub-basement rhythms and a wiry tension. It’s in the eaves and rafters of vacant sonic space; the charmingly Midwestern straightness of Lewandowski’s delivery; and in the clanging, rushing din of unlikely tools.”



Commissioned for Cornell’s 150th Anniversary, Professor and Interim Chair Roberto Sierra’s latest work, Cantares, premiered at Carnegie Hall on Sunday April 19th, as part of a program entitled Music U created to celebrate five Ivy League composers.  The program was performed by the American Symphony Orchestra with Leon Botstein conducting and Assistant Professor Robert Isaac directing the Cornell Glee Club and Chorus and was a “huge success for all involved,” said Professor Sierra. Cantares will be performed at Ithaca College’s Ford Hall on Saturday May 2, 2015. For more information on all of the outstanding performances, read the review at Oberon’s Grove.

Third year graduate student Tonia Ko has been chosen as the 2015-2017 Young Concert Artists Composer-in-Residence. Ko receives a commission to write a work for pianist Daniel Lebhardt, who will premiere the work in his recital debuts in the Young Concert Artists Series in New York in the Rhoda Walker Teagle Concert at Merkin Concert Hall on February 23, 2016 and at the Kennedy Center on March 1, 2016. She will receive a second commission for a work to be premiered in the 2016-17 season in the Young Concert Artists Series in New York and Washington, DC.
The Young Concert Artists Composer-in-Residence Program began in 1994 as an initiative of the Young Concert Artists, Inc. Alumni Association. It receives support from the Aaron Copland Fund for Music, the William B. Butz Memorial Fund, and the Alumni musicians of Young Concert Artists.
Composers are nominated for the YCA Composer Program by a nationwide committee composed of alumni and current artists of Young Concert Artists, composers and conductors on the program’s National Composer Recommendation Panel, ASCAP, and BMI. Tonia Ko was nominated by composer Ellen Taaffe Zwilich. A panel of YCA Alumni consider the applicants’ recordings and scores. The final selection is made by a current YCA Artist who will premiere the work on tour and in their New York and Washington, DC debuts the following season.

For more information about Tonia Ko, visit her student profile page and her website.