Dissertation Defense
10:30 AM10:30

Dissertation Defense

In this dissertation, I explore how the notational content of the score document can be a

catalyst for the formation of a performer’s subjecthood. Verbal notation is an extreme example of

a kind of western art music composition that allows for subject formation. In verbally notated

scores, Cartesian Mind/body binary performers become practitioners, ones that assume the roles

of listener, performer, and audience, often simultaneously. When performers become practitioners,

the subjecthood so formed repairs the damage of the Cartesian Mind/body binary laced into

musical training. Repair here moves well beyond Elizabeth Spelman’s definition of repair (from

her book Repair (2002)) as the process of returning something back toward its original function.

Rather a performer’s move into a composer’s or audience member’s role allows them to realize

selfhood in an entirely different manner than in conventionally notated scores. The fluidity of and

focus on roles form the first type of score facilitated selfhood, a repaired, formerly Cartesian,

performer. The second type of selfhood, a practitioner-self, is formed through the perspective of

embodied self-awareness. Both of these selfhoods can be created entirely through the process of

engaging with verbally notated scores. I focus my analysis on two verbally notated works—

Pauline Oliveros’s Breaking Boundaries (1996) and Jennifer Walshe’s THIS IS WHY PEOPLE

O.D. ON PILLS (2004). I show how a repaired performer is constructed by these scores through

an analysis of listening—as an embodied process of attention, interpretation, and understanding—

and time— as a recognized labor and embodiment of the present, the past, and the future. I show

how a practitioner is formed through exploration of notational components that facilitate

awareness through models of attention. Through these two analyses of self, I demonstrate how

verbal notation can facilitate a performing person’s repair and self-formation.

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to Feb 23

Music & Erotics Conference presented by the University of Pittsburgh MGSO

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February 22-23, 2019

Department of Music, University of Pittsburgh

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Deborah Wong, University of California, Riverside

Performer in Residence: Anna Elder

The erotic exists at the core of our being, at the peripheries of our consciousness, and is embedded in our senses. It is experienced in the body but is often unspeakable, or exists beyond recognition and conceptualization. As gender, sexuality, and their materiality remain central to music studies today, theorizing the erotic allows us to think through the embodied experience of listening to and producing music and sound.

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to Nov 30


RES at MISE-EN_PLACE Bushwick invites artists to live, work, and create in a focused and supportive environment. This residency is designed to support artists interested in exploring the boundaries of our venue through music/sound art, performance, video, and audio/visual installations. A private studio and rehearsal spaces are provided for developing works-in-progress, and artists will have the opportunity to connect with the community through presenting lectures, workshops, masterclasses, exhibitions, concerts, or live performances. Projects may also be documented with provided audio and video recording equipment. This residency hopes to not only support the development of artists’ current works but also inspire future projects and possibilities for exchange.

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to Sep 22

Midwest Music Research Collective 2018


Sonic Intimacy in Kate Soper’s Confessions from the Killing Jar

In her 2017 American Musicological Society endowed lecture, Susan McClary compared the conclusion of Kate Soper’s dissertation —analysis of her piece Voices from the Killing Jar (2010-2012)—to McClary’s own experience of having to “come-out” as a woman in the field of musicology. While the phrase “coming-out” is never used in Soper’s dissertation, she describes the process of acknowledging herself as a minority gender. Soper’s acknowledgement mirrors a coming-out as a moment of reclaiming selfhood and selfcare. In this paper, I argue that Voices from the Killing Jar is Soper’s reclamation and emphasis of her gendered self that she had minimized to be accepted as a serious contemporary composer in the United States.

I argue that Soper’s reclamation of selfhood is achieved through a crafted coming-out confession as a method of selfcare. Through Chloe Taylor’s interpretation of Foucauldian technologies of self, I examine movement VI. Interlude: Asta Sollilja. Interlude focuses on the reality of Asta Sollilja— a tragic character from Harold Laxness’s Independent People. Through what I call ‘sonic confessional intimacies,’ Soper’s music sonically forms Asta Sollilja away from her killing jar —nineteenth-century rural Iceland and anxiety. The techniques of ‘sonic confessional intimacies’ such as a broken ground bass, vocal failure, and phrase repetition stem from musical indexes of the western traditions of lament and mourning. In Interlude, Soper composes an expanded representation Sollilja by writing into Sollilja’s story a moment of personal care. In embodying Sollilja through performance and writing a moment of care for Sollilja, Soper performs her own selfcare. Within the argument of my paper, I add Soper’s piece as an example of music as a technology of self-formation and selfcare.





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to Sep 15

2018 Southern Graduate Music Research Symposium 2018

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Reparations of a Cartesian Legacy: Structures of Gender in Verbal Notation

For the Borealis 2016 experimental music festival, Jennifer Walshe wrote a manifesto-like program note “The New Discipline.” Walshe’s program note demands an art practice situated on the acknowledgement of live bodies that perform/compose music. This call for reparation between the spilt of practitioner’s minds and bodies is a call for recognition of a practitioner’s full humanity. By binding a Cartesian-based binary of performer (body/feminine) and composer (mind/masculine) into practitioner, works using verbal notation’s reparative structure answer. In this paper, I ask how the reparation of Cartesian legacies within verbally notated works causes a formation of a self without gender.


I analyze the generation and exteriorization of self-reparation as a process of dissolving mind/body binary through attention constructions in Pauline Oliveros’s Breaking Boundaries (1996) and Jennifer Walshe’s THIS IS WHY PEOPLE O.D. ON PILLS (2004). I trace a lineage of Cartesianism through my concept of interior temporality— informed by Ricœur’s triple present paradox. I examine how a reparation of a Cartesian-self produces a self without gender.


My presentation connects legacies of gender and music by applying structuralist methodologies to verbally notated works. Verbally notated works are extreme examples of practices that appear in traditional art music. Therefore, in parsing the explicit reparation of Cartesian self into self without gender, further complicates our notions of how music can erase or perpetuate gender.

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University of Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra: Murmur
8:00 PM20:00

University of Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra: Murmur

In Murmur the string orchestra and xylophone surrounds the audience placing them within a giant circle. All of Murmur’s musical materials stem from the sound of a percussionist’s egg shaker drawing circles against a xylophone. The bigger the xylophone circle the more notes that are contained in the string parts. The egg shaker sound is also emulated throughout the strings in soft plunks and plinks of the wood of the bow against the strings. As well as, the orchestral acoustic surround sound mimics the circular motion in the xylophone. If you listen closely, you can hear gestures moving around the orchestra.

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3:00 PM15:00

ALLEGHENY CHAPTER of The American Musicological Society

ALLEGHENY CHAPTER of The American Musicological Society

Confessions from the Killing Jar: “Coming-out” as Reclamation

In her 2017 American Musicological Society endowed lecture, Susan McClary compared the conclusion of Kate Soper’s dissertation to McClary’s own experience of having to “come out” as a woman in the field of musicology. Soper described writing Voices from the Killing Jar (2010-2012) as a coming-out of herself as a gendered person and a reclaiming of tragic literary woman’s selfhood. In voicing tragic woman, I argue that Soper performs her own voice. In Voices from the Killing, Soper reclamations her gender and narratives of tragic woman through a crafted confession. Soper’s crafted confession follows Chloe Taylor’s interpretation of the Foucauldian model of confession. These four steps: declared acknowledgement of truth, commitment to truth, self-exposure/vulnerability, and significant change, are the formal structure of my presentation. I apply Taylor’s interpretation directly to movement VI. Interlude: Asta Sollilja. Interlude focuses on the reality of Asta Sollilja— a tragic character from Harold Laxness’s Independent People. Soper’s music sonically forms Asta Sollilja away from her killing jar —nineteenth-century rural Iceland and anxiety. In Interlude, Soper composes an expanded representation Asta Sollilja. In performing as Asta Sollilja, Soper directly embodies her gender. In a formalist analysis of Soper’s recording of Interlude, I argue that Soper uses sonic confessional intimacies, such as a broken ground bass, vocal failure, and phrase repetition. In my paper, sonic confessional intimacies are directly tied to a lament tradition. I examine how using a historically informed confessional intimacy constructs Soper’s double reclamation of her gender and of the portrayal of tragic woman.

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Durward Contemporary Music
to Aug 27

Durward Contemporary Music

August 24,2017: Kirkward Community College: Cedar Rapids, Iowa

August 26, 2017: Grand View University, Luther Memorial Church: Des Moines, Iowa

Both concerts start at 7:30pm

Four commissioned composers for concert fundraiser for breast cancer foundation.

1) Laura Schwendinger, University of Wisconsin, https://www.lauraschwendinger.com/

2) Martha Horst, Illinois State University, 

3) Laura Schwartz

4) Lisa Neher (http://www.lisanehermusic.com/)  

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8:00 AM08:00

Plenary Session Presentation: Meditation, Mystique, and Mignon: Tracing Practices of Interiority in Music

AMS Allegheny Chapter: Cleveland State University

Presenting in conjunction with Woodrow Steinken [Berg] (University of Pittsburgh) and Codee Spinner [Schubert/Schumman]  (University of Pittsburgh)

Musical interiority is an enigmatic concept. An idea of inner space or inward nature, it is a key component in theories of absolute music, musical aesthetics, music composition, and performance. When sound as music generates a sense of interiority in listeners by transporting, transforming, or transcending its boundaries, it gains the capacity for a genuine, active art/human experience. What happens, then, when interiority is generated spuriously? Or when musical interiority functions to create the allure of a crafted persona? What happens when performers rather than composers generate interiority? The consequences of these generated interiorities have shaped how we as musicologists discuss, think about, and listen to music.

In this plenary session, we highlight how ideas of interiority play a distinctive role in shaping musicological discourse, compositional and performance practices, and listening techniques. Starting with Schubert and Schumman’s setting of Goethe’s text “Kennst du das Land” in critical dialogue with Lacan’s theories of order and the concepts of interiority generated from facets of Mignon, the singer of the text. Then examining interiority in Alban Berg’s Lyric Suite. Finally examining interiority’s fragmented legacy in late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries through the works of Pauline Oliveros, Stephon Montague, and Jennifer Walshe.




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12:15 PM12:15

Grad EXP0: University of Pittsburgh: A Demanding Power of Interiority: Performers as Justifications of Music’s Value in Verbally Notated Compositions of the Early 1990s to the Mid- 2000s.

From the 1990s to mid-2000s something happened within power dynamics of interiority, the idea that music, as art, can transcend, transport, and transform experience. During this time, verbal notation, a score construction relying on prose notation, was a tool used by composers for shifting the litmus test of interiority away from themselves and onto performers. As performers became the main generators of music’s interiority, fractured legacies of interiority from the eighteenth and nineteenth- century developed as compositional devices within the scores. With this shift, performers produced the composition’s interiority and in turn its justification as art.

Similarly, in the1990s, the field of musicology experienced a paradigm shift from composer-centric (mind) discourse to performer-centric (body) discourse with works such as Feminine Endings (1991) and Queering the Pitch (1996). As a signifier of transcendent practice, interiority was studied as coming from bodies. In verbally notated scores, however, interiority is generated simultaneously by the performer’s body and intellect. By focusing on three verbally notated scores, I assert verbally notated scores, as a subset of American Experimentalism, perpetuated a fragmented legacy of interiority within its performers. In this presentation, I examine Pauline Oliveros Breaking Boundaries (1991); Stephon Montague’s Kristallnacht (1998); and Jennifer Walshe’s This is Why People O.D. On Pills/and Jump From the Golden Gate Bridge (2004). Drawing from John Lely Word Events (2012), I use the grammatical tools of context, processes, and voice to question how and what kind of interiority these three scores demand from their performers.


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