In July 2020, Dr. Jordan Musser completed and submitted his doctoral dissertation, which he had successfully defended earlier in the spring. Titled “Managing the Crisis: Music, Neo-liberalism, and the Popular Avant-Garde in Britain, 1975–84,” the project offers a critical and historical study of the ways in which popular music, avant-garde performance, and political life intersected within the context of burgeoning Thatcherism. With case studies on the anarcho-punk collective Crass, dub poet Linton Kwesi Johnson, performance troupe COUM Transmissions, and free improvisation cooperative London Musicians Collective, Dr. Musser analyzes the transformations of the avant-garde in the reconfiguration of cultural politics in the 1970s. The Graduate Field in Music awarded Musser the Donald J. Grout Memorial Prize for his dissertation. An excerpt, “The Avant-Garde Is in the Audience: On the Popular Avant-gardism of Linton Kwesi Johnson’s Dub Poetry,” appeared in Twentieth-Century Music in 2019. Jordan has also published an article (“Carl Czerny’s Mechanical Reproductions”) in a secondary research area, nineteenth-century instrumental music, in the Journal of the American Musicological Society last year.
A gifted educator, Dr. Musser has designed and taught courses in music fundamentals, global popular music and politics, film music, and punk. Since 2019, he has been an instructor in the Department of Art and Music Histories at Syracuse University. He is a 2017 recipient of the Don M. Randel Teaching and Research Fellowship from Cornell University, as well as travel and research grants from the American Musicological Society, the Westfield Center for Historical Keyboard Studies, and the Society for the Humanities at Cornell University.