2017 was a banner year for Cornell's Music Department, as four faculty members were recognized with awards for their accomplishments.
In May, Assistant Professor Andrew Hicks was awarded a prestigious Berlin Prize from the American Academy in Berlin. Hicks is one of 21 scholars, writers and artists awarded Berlin Prizes for 2017-18. Academy president Michael P. Steinberg called them “a particularly stunning class of fellows.”
The highly competitive Berlin Prize is awarded annually to scholars, writers, composers, and artists from the United States who represent the highest standards of excellence in their fields. Fellows receive a monthly stipend, partial board, and accommodations at the Academy’s lakeside Hans Arnhold Center in Berlin-Wannsee.
The Berlin Prize provides recipients with the time and resources to step back from their daily obligations to work on academic and artistic projects they might not otherwise pursue. While in residence at the Hans Arnhold Center in Spring 2018, Hicks will be working toward the completion of his second monograph, tentatively titled “The Broken Harp: Musical Metaphor in Classical Persian Literature.” Hicks describes the project as a richly textured media archaeology of the real and imagined soundscapes of medieval Persian poetry, documenting and detailing the role of the auditory within the poetic imagination. The book will “reframe the history of medieval Persian musical culture through a focus on the technical vocabulary, poetic imagery, artistic visualizations, and philosophical metaphors of music and musical experiences in medieval Persian literary traditions.” (Read more: Musicologist Andrew Hicks awarded Berlin Prize, credit: Linda B. Glaser)
In June, Professor Alejandro L. Madrid was awarded the Royal Musical Association’s Dent Medal.
“This is the highest honor awarded by Britain’s foremost scholarly body in music studies,” said Steven Pond, associate professor and chair of music. “It is a rare honor, indeed.”
The award, honoring Edward J. Dent, has been given annually since 1961 to a mid-career music scholar for their outstanding contribution to musicology. Madrid is only the third Cornell professor and the only Latin American or Latin Americanist/Hispanist to be so honored. (The other Cornell winners were William Austin in 1967 and Kofi Agawu in 1992). The award committee referred to Madrid as "a musicologist of extraordinary intellectual range and breadth; throughout his career so far he has shown deep engagement with transnational and revisionist historical argument across an astonishingly wide range of musical practice." (Read more: Alejandro Madrid receives highest honor from Royal Musical Association, credit: Linda B. Glaser)
In November, Assistant Professor Catherine Appert was awarded the 2017 Richard Waterman Prize, bestowed by the Society for Ethnomusicology for “the best article by a junior scholar in the ethnomusicological study of popular music published within the previous year (in any publication).” Her article, "On Hybridity in African Popular Music: The Case of Senegalese Hip Hop," was published in ethnomusicology’s flagship journal, Ethnomusicology, in 2016 and was voted the Waterman honor by the Society’s Popular Music Section. (Read more: Catherine Appert Receives Richard Waterman Prize)
Also in November, Associate Professor Roger Moseley was presented with the Otto Kinkeldey Award of the American Musicological Society (AMS) for his 2016 book “Keys to Play: Music as a Ludic Medium from Apollo to Nintendo.” Moseley received the honor on November 11 during the Annual Meeting of the AMS in Rochester. The award recognizes a musicological book of exceptional merit by a scholar who is past the early stages of his or her career. It is named for Otto Kinkeldey (1878-1966), the founding president of the AMS. Kinkeldey was a longstanding professor and university librarian at Cornell, where he held the first chair in musicology at any American university.
“Keys to Play” focuses on the interface of the keyboard as a field of play on which the improvisation, performance and recreation of music take place. In the book, Moseley compares composers such as Mozart and Beethoven to game developers who design adventures for themselves and others to play out. He also analyzes digital game franchises such as “Guitar Hero” and “The Legend of Zelda” for what they can tell us about the rules according to which music is played by people, instruments and machines. (Read more: Moseley wins musicological book award, credit: Spencer DeRoos)
The Music Department congratulates Appert, Hicks, Madrid and Moseley on these accomplishments, and looks forward to what 2018 may bring!