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Winter 2024 Faculty Notes

Submitted by Joanne De Pue on February 29, 2024 - 7:39pm

Honors, accolades, research highlights, and other news from the School of Music faculty.

Joël-François Durand, Composition
The School of Music acting director and professor of Composition reports the recent release of Geister, a two-CD collection of his works recorded in 2021 and 2022 and released on the Kairos contemporary music label. Including compositions written over the last two decades, the collection spans a diverse body of work from Mirror Land (2005) to La descente de l'ange (2022), showcasing the development of Durand's use of microtonality and his ongoing exploration of microtonal spaces.

James Morford, Ethnomusicology
The School of Music faculty lecturer recently co-published with Aaron M. David “Metric Modes and Fluid Meter in Mande Drumming Music” in Music Theory Online (MTO), a journal of the Society of Ethnomusicology. In addition to his teaching duties at the School of Music, he serves as co-managing editor of the Analytical Approaches to World Music Journal and as co-chair of the Society for Ethnomusicology Special Interest Group for Music Analysis. In the Pacific Northwest, Morford works as on-site reviewer for the racial equity-focused arts funding agency 4Culture.

Peter Nicolas, Music History
The Music History adjunct professor (and the UW's William L. Dwyer Endowed Chair in Law) has been cited recently in articles relating to music copyright law, including articles in the Miami Herald and on, providing expertise in addressing questions of artists' rights regarding use of their works and on licensing rights in the wake of a vast proliferation AI generated content on TikTok. Among the many hats he wears at the UW, Nicolas is director of the university's Intellectual Property Law & Policy graduate program.

Stephen Price, Organ Studies
In the first installment of a new lecture series organized by Stephen Price, Organ Studies, Dr. Carole Terry (professor emerita) presented "How the Body Works When Playing Piano, Organ, or Harpsichord" on February 5 at the Walker-Ames Room (Kane Hall). The event was the first in the Paul B. Fritts Organ Lecture series, which continues on Saturday, May 4, with a presentation and master class by Dr. Kimberly Marshall (Organ Professor at Arizona State University), who presents, "An Approach to Bach," featuring students from the University of Washington and members from the Seattle chapter of the American Guild of Organists. Dr. Marshall’s talk is at 10 am at the First Lutheran Church (West Seattle), 4105 California Ave SW, Seattle.

John-Carlos Perea, Ethnomusicology
Associate Professors John-Carlos Perea (Ethnomusicology) and Jessica Bissett Perea (American Indian Studies, Music History adjunct) hosted a screening of the new documentary film The Healing Heart of Lushootseed on February 10, 2024 in conjunction with the Northwest meeting of the Society for Ethnomusicology.

The documentary explains the creation of The Healing Heart of the First People of this Land, a symphony commissioned by Upper Skagit Elder Vi taqʷšəblu Hilbert and composed by Bruce Ruddell. The symphony was performed in 2006 at Seattle’s Benaroya Hall by the Seattle Symphony and mezzo soprano Jenny Knapp, conducted by Maestro Gerard Schwarz. During the process, taqʷšəblu also commissioned a videographer to document the performance and conduct interviews with those involved. Jill LaPointe, director of Lushootseed Research and taqʷšəblu’s granddaughter, was moved in recent years feeling the need to share this music again to honor her grandmother’s desire to help heal our world. The screening was followed by a panel led by LaPointe with Ruddell, UW ethnomusicologist and archivist Laurel Sercombe, and WWU graduate student and cellist Ben Workman Smith.

David A. Rahbee, Orchestral Activities
David A. Rahbee (Adelaide D. Currie Cole Endowed Professorship 2023-2025) worked as a guest conductor at the Sewanee Music Festival in the summer of 2023, leading a program of music by Julia Perry, Dvorak, Ravel and Debussy. He is also currently a finalist for the position of music director of the Lake Union Civic Orchestra. His orchestrations of piano works by Ravel, Debussy, Dukas, d’Indy, Widor and Reynaldo Hahn, all based on Haydn’s name, have been published as of fall 2023 by Ledor Music Group. His orchestration (2021) of his mother Dianne Goolkasian-Rahbee's Piano Sonata No.1, op.25 (1986) is as of May 2023 published by Women’s Philharmonic Advocacy Group. In February 2024, he was promoted from senior artist-in-residence to associate professor of music (tenure track), effective in September 2024. 

Mark Rodgers, Music History
Assistant professor Mark Rodgers contributed a chapter to a new book published to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the death of the composer William Byrd, Byrd Studies in the 21st Century (Clemson University Press, 2023). In “Joseph Kerman, the ‘Catholic’ Interpretation of Byrd, and the New Musicology,” he explores how the twentieth-century musicologist Joseph Kerman developed his ideas about what he called “criticism," which transformed the discipline of music history in the 1980s and 1990s, in earlier writings on the meanings of Byrd’s Latin-texted sacred music. In March, Rodgers will present a paper at the Pacific Northwest regional meeting of the American Musicological Society, titled “The Last Days of Local 117: How Tacoma Musicians Lost Their Union.” 

Stephen Rumph, Music History
Chair of the Music History program co-organized a centenary festival for Gabriel Fauré at the University of Colorado (Feb. 27-March 2). "Fauré 2024" included four concerts, papers by scholars from France, Canada, Israel, Brazil, the UK, and the United States, and newly commissioned works by nine composers. 

Anne Searcy, Music History
UW Assistant Professor of Music History Anne Searcy presents her paper "Philip Glass, Lucinda Childs, and the Mainstreaming of Minimalism in Dance" at the Society for American Music conference in March.

John Vallier, Ethnomusicology 
Ethnomusicology curator and affiliate faculty member John Vallier was interviewed as part of a Seattle Times article about the digitization and online publication of The Rocket, Seattle’s onetime monthly music newspaper. The Stranger also noted his work on this and another project, the Crocodile Café Collection, which includes 5 years’ worth of music from that iconic Seattle club. Both resources will be used by students in his Spring Quarter Class, “Grunge is for Los$ers” (CHID 250G).

Melia Watras, Strings
Faculty violist Melia Watras’s new album “Play/Write” was released in February on Planet M Records. “Play/Write” features Watras as both performer and composer, and includes compositions by Leilehua Lanzilotti and Frances White, poetry by Herbert Woodward Martin and performances by UW faculty Rachel Lee Priday (violin), Valérie Muzzolini (harp), Carrie Henneman Shaw (voice) and David Alexander Rahbee (conductor), along with violinist Michael Jinsoo Lim, actor Shelia Daniels and an ensemble made up of members of the Seattle Symphony and the Pacific Northwest Ballet Orchestra. Videos from the album were premiered in January by "The Strad" (Lim’s performance of Watras’s composition “Hertabuise”) and in February by "Foxy Digitalis" (Lim and Watras’s performance of Lanzilotti’s “to be two”).

Giselle Wyers, Choral Conducting
Head of the UW’s choral conducting program appears in the newly released documentary, Choral Singing in America, currently airing at American Choir Directors Association (ACDA) regional conferences around the United States. She recently conducted the ACDA MidWest Regional Tenor Bass High School Honor Choir in Omaha, Nebraska. 110 singers representing 10 states gathered for a two-and-a-half day intensive as part of the ACDA regional conference. In other news, Wyers will be featured in a chapter in the new book published by GIA Music entitled Choral Repertoire by Women Composers, a survey of 400 composers across history and around the world. Wyers’ chorus, the University of Washington Chorale, appeared at the Northwest Regional ACDA conference in Spokane as part of the ceremonial closing concert.

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