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Department News

The Aizuri Quartet, featuring Assistant Professor Ariana Kim, Miho Saegusa, Ayane Kozasa and Karen Ouzounian, has been named the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Quartet-in-Residence for the 2017-2018 season.

Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Press Release

NY Times Article

Assistant Professor Andrew Hicks has been awarded a 2017-2018 Berlin Prize from the American Academy in Berlin. He will be in residence at the Hans Arnhold Center in Berlin-Wannsee in Spring 2018, working toward the completion of his next monograph, tentatively titled The Broken Harp: Musical Metaphor in Classical Persian Literature.

The full press release is here:

DMA Composition student Charles Peck is the winner of the fifth annual Commissioning Competition of the Boston New Music Initiative, Inc.  His work “Rift and Shade” was selected by an external panel of composers and music professionals, in a two-round blind judging process; it will premiere in BNMI’s 2017-2018 season.

More at:

DMA Composition student Charles Peck and his piece Mosiac, written under faculty Prof. Kevin Ernste, was selected among only seven emerging composers to participate in the Minnesota Orchestra’s 15th annual Composer Institute, Institute Director Kevin Puts announced today.

“I can’t imagine seven young composers who better represent today’s richly diverse musical landscape,” said Composer Institute Director Kevin Puts. “The “Future Classics” concert on Nov. 10 promises to be an absorbing and deeply moving sonic experience with something for everyone.”

The selected composers, whose works encompass a variety of musical styles, were chosen from a pool of 158 candidates through a highly competitive process. They will be in Minneapolis from November 6 through 10, 2017, for rehearsals, seminars and mentoring sessions, as well as a public “Future Classics” performance of their works on Friday, November 10, with Music Director Osmo Vänskä conducting the Minnesota Orchestra in concert at Orchestra Hall in downtown Minneapolis.

Lecturer Annie Lewandowski has released her fourth full-length recording under the name Powerdove. Produced by the French record label Murailles Music, War Shapes features Lewandowski on vocals, sampler, and synthesizer; Chad Popple on vibraphone and drums; and Thomas Bonvalet (L’ocelle Mare) on banjo, small instruments, body percussion, and electronics.

In his review for Magic magazine (France), Vincent Théval writes: “Lewandowski composes from a camp of contemporary music that we like to see contaminate pop.”


Associate Professor and Department Chair Steven Pond is features in episode 48 of the Teach Better Podcast, hosted by Douglas McKee.

Former student of Prof. Kevin Ernste (composition, electronic music), Jeremy Blum was selected by Forbes Magazine as one of 2017’s “30 Under 30” in Manufacturing & Industry.

jeremyblumAn alumni of Cornell’s College of Engineering and a popular author, coder, DIY enthusiast, and YouTuber with over 100,000 subscribers, Blum took courses in computer music at Cornell, including Ernste’s popular Music 2421: Computers in Music Performance, where he designed a glove interface controller for sound, video, and lighting. This device, called the “Sudo Glove” had many novel applications beyond music and was featured at the time on the Discovery Channel.

Jeremy is currently the head of electrical engineering at Shaper Tools, maker of an innovative new tool for computer-assisted design. He was formerly a “Hardware Astronaut” at GoogleX, part of their Google Glass team, and is admired as a prolific inventor and Arduino (open-source hardware) master. His recent book, “Exploring Arduino: Tools and Techniques of Engineering Wizardy”, and it’s companion website has received significant critical attention.

Jeremy’s ongoing work and contributions to the world of engineering, open-source software, and DIY can be seen on his website.

Cornell Remembers Karel Husa

| Mon Dec 19, 2016

Cornell and the Department of Music mourn the loss of Karel Husa, Kappa Alpha Professor Emeritus, who passed away at his home in Apex, North Carolina, December 14, 2016, at the age of 95.

Composer and conductor Karel Husa served on the Cornell University faculty from 1954 until his retirement in 1992. An American citizen since 1959, Husa was born in Prague on August 7, 1921. He studied at the Prague Conservatory and Academy of Music, and later at the National Conservatory and Ecole Normale de Musique in Paris. Among his teachers were Arthur Honegger, Nadia Boulanger, Jaroslav Ridky, and conductor André Cluytens.

Professor Husa was widely acclaimed during his career, and his stature in the composition world was international in scope. He was the recipient of several honors, including the Pulitzer Prize (1969), the Grawemeyer Award (1993) and, in 1995, the Czech Republic’s highest civilian recognition, the State Medal of Merit, First Class. He also received nine honorary doctoral degrees and numerous other composition prizes and fellowships. Commissions came from some of the major arts organizations in the country, including the Koussevitzky Music Foundation, the New York Philharmonic (twice), the Chicago Symphony, and many others. As a conductor he worked with major orchestras throughout Europe, Asia, and America, and as a guest conductor on many college campuses. Several of his works have entered the modern repertoire, led by Music for Prague 1968 (commissioned for wind ensemble by Ithaca College and later transcribed by the composer for symphony orchestra), with over 7,000 performances to date. Husa’s music has been frequently recorded on major classical music record labels.

Composer Roberto Sierra, Old Dominion Foundation Professor in the Humanities, notes that Husa was “one of the most distinguished and admired composers of the second half of the 20th century. At Cornell he taught generations of composers who became important figures in the American musical landscape.” Mark Davis Scatterday, Professor of Conducting and Chair of the Conducting and Ensembles Department at the University of Rochester’s Eastman School of Music, and Husa’s former colleague and mentee, remembers breaking down emotionally at a first performance of one of Husa’s iconic works – Apotheosis of This Earth – in a new arrangement that the composer also conducted. “I was not embarrassed by this moment,” Scatterday reveals, recalling it instead as a “changing point in my career.” Since that life-altering event, Scatterday has “always strived to experience this kind of true emotion” in his own musical work. Sierra adds that Husa “will be remembered for his great music and unique compositional voice.”

The Department of Music sends its best wishes to Professor Husa’s family and his many admirers.

The Cornell Chronicle Obituary

Assistant Professor Andrew Hicks announces the publication of his book Composing the World: Harmony in the Medieval Platonic Cosmos, the first release in Oxford University Press’ series Critical Conjunctures in Music and Sound.

In it, Professor Hicks illuminates how a cosmological aesthetics based on the “music of the spheres” both governed the moral, physical, and psychic equilibrium of the human, and assured the coherence of the universe as a whole. With a rare convergence of musicological, philosophical, and philological rigor, Hicks presents a narrative tour through medieval cosmology with reflections on important philosophical movements along the way, raising connections to Cartesian dualism, Uexküll’s theoretical biology, and Deleuze and Guattari’s musically inspired language of milieus and (de)territorialization. Hicks ultimately suggests that the models of musical cosmology popular in late antiquity and the twelfth century are relevant to our modern philosophical and scientific undertakings. Impeccably researched and beautifully written, Composing the World will resonate with a variety of readers, and it encourages us to rethink the role of music and sound within our greater understanding of the universe.

Composing the World can be ordered from the Oxford University Press website.

Cornell Chronicle article


Professor Rebecca Harris-Warrick announces the release of Dance and Drama in French Baroque Opera: A History, part of Cambridge University Press’ Studies in Opera.

Since its inception, French opera has embraced dance, yet all too often operatic dancing is treated as mere decoration. Dance and Drama in French Baroque Opera exposes the multiple and meaningful roles that dance has played, starting from Jean-Baptiste Lully’s first opera in 1672. It counters prevailing notions in operatic historiography that dance was parenthetical and presents compelling evidence that the divertissement – present in every act of every opera – is essential to understanding the work. The book considers the operas of Lully – his lighter works as well as his tragedies – and the 46-year period between the death of Lully and the arrival of Rameau, when influences from the commedia dell’arte and other theatres began to inflect French operatic practices. It explores the intersections of musical, textual, choreographic and staging practices at a complex institution – the Académie Royale de Musique – which upheld as a fundamental aesthetic principle the integration of dance into opera.

The book can be purchased from the CUP website.

See also: Musicologist Revives Dance in French Baroque Opera in the Cornell Chronicle