Benjamin P. Skoronski

Graduate Student in Music

Summary

A native of Rochester, NY, Benjamin P. Skoronski (b. 1997) did not have an educational experience typical of an academic. He had no formal schooling prior to college, and earned his bachelor’s degree in music at a small state university in rural Pennsylvania. He nevertheless immersed himself in education, history, and music, and was named his university’s 2018–2019 Presser Scholar. Striving for answers to his many questions about music, Skoronski pursued his master’s degree in musicology at the University of Arizona. There he studied under Matthew Mugmon, who instilled in him a deep love of archival research. He thrived in this academic environment, and won a 2020 Medici Scholar Award for his research on neglected modernist pianist and lecturer Marion Rous. He ended his enrollment at Arizona by winning the music department’s 2021–2022 Distinguished Graduate Student Award. Skoronski matriculated into Cornell’s Ph.D. program in musicology in August of 2022.

Skoronski’s research focuses upon the overlooked histories of women modernists, particularly in terms of their transmission of European modernism to the United States. His study of Marion Rous, a forgotten pianist who allied modernism with music appreciation, is the subject of his first peer-reviewed article which is currently underway. He has presented his work at numerous conferences, ranging from regional (various AMS chapter meetings) to national (SAM 2022) to international (IMS 2022). Skoronski is also an active educator, having designed and regularly taught his own music appreciation course at the University of Arizona, which attempts to critique music appreciation through dismantling dominant narratives of how music and musicians are valued. Furthermore, he serves as program annotator for the Tucson Symphony Orchestra, where he aims to decrease the distance between composer and listener. Moving forward at Cornell, Skoronski looks forward to taking more opportunities to engage with the public and bridge the gap between music scholarship and the world around us.

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