The Score

Fall 2017

Faculty News

We are pleased to welcome two new faculty to the department:

Assistant Professor and composer Erin Gee, composer, comes to us from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign where she was Assistant Professor of Composition-Theory. Erin holds a PhD from the Universtät für Musik und darstellende Kunst, Graz, Austria. She is the recipient of numerous fellowships, awards and commissions including a recent Chamber Music America Grant for a work to be composed for ensemble Dal Niente. Click here for her full biography.

Assistant Professor and musicologist Paula Musegades, Brandeis PhD ’14, was most recently Florence Levy Kay Fellow in Music and American Culture and Lecturer in the Department of Music and the American Studies Program at Brandeis. She has taught courses in film music, music and protest, American music, and history of rock music. Her research focuses on film and television music, pop music, and the growth of the music industry.  Paul has also taught music courses at Emerson College. Click here to learn more!

Musicologist and Assistant Professor Karen Desmond’s project Measuring Polyphony: Digitally Mediated Access to the Music of the Middle Ages is the first project that encodes medieval music in the original medieval notation, beginning with a repertory of sixty-four motets transmitted in the major sources of French polyphony that were copied c. 1300-1375. Making digital versions of this medieval repertory publicly available, along with the tools and documentation that will enable others to rapidly add other repertories, opens up new possibilities for the analysis and interpretation of medieval music.  Most current projects that encode music notation are focused on repertories written in the neumatic notations of western plainchant, or from the common practice period of c. 1600 and later.

Department News

Bernstein childhood piano goes on a cross-country trip

Since 2002 the piano that was used by Leonard Bernstein as a child has been housed in the Slosberg Music Center Lobby, a gift from Brandeis alumna Professor Judith Wechsler ’62.  The upright piano, affectionately known as “Aunt Clara’s piano,” resided in the Bernstein family home in Sharon, MA until 1951. It was on this piano that Leonard Bernstein took his first piano lessons, quickly mastering the keyboard.

In celebrating the centennial of Bernstein’s birth the Grammy Museum of Los Angeles has mounted an impressive exhibition of items belonging to the late composer/conductor including artifacts from the Brandeis Archives, and Aunt Clara’s piano, which leads off the exhibition.  The Grammy exhibition runs through 2020 and will be shown at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC, the New York Public Library, the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, the New England Conservatory of Music, Boston, and in venues in Tulsa, OK, Chicago, and Portland OR.

Bernstein Piano Bernstein Piano Move

Bernstein at 100

From September 13 – 16 Ensemble Nota Bene led by Professor of the Practice and early music specialist Sarah Mead was in residency at Brandeis as part of Professor Mead’s project Music, Sound & Text: Exploring the convergence of three 16th- century art-forms. The primary purpose of the project is to study for convergence of instruments, composition, and text in order to more deeply understand the aesthetic basis of this Italian art-form as it arose in the late 16th century. The ensemble (viol consort) Nota Bene along with five singers from the Boston Renaissance ensemble Blue Heron presented Pietro Vinci’s musical settings of the poetry of Vittoria Colonna, sonetti spirituali, in workshops and concerts. The Saturday concert included readings by Associate Professor of Theater Art Marya Lowry and Senior Lecturer in Italian Studies Paola Servino, with visuals provided by Associate Professor of Fine Arts Jonathan Unglaub.  Music, Sound & Text is funded by grants from the Mandel Center and the Brandeis Arts Council.

Sonetti Spirituali Poster

Graduate Student News

Talia Amar, PhD candidate in composition has been appointed as an instructor at the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance where she will be teaching music theory, form and analysis and electronic music.

Alumni News

We note the passing of composer Halim El-Dabh, MFA 1954, on September 2, 2017 at age 96. El-Dabh was an Egyptian composer, performer, ethnomusicologist and educator and a pioneer of electronic music.  He is credited with composing one of the first works of musique concrete. At Brandeis he studied with Irving Fine and went on to do legendary work at the Columbia Princeton Electronic Music Center.  El-Dabh served as associate professor of music at Haile Selassie I University (now Addis Ababa University) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, professor of African studies at Howard University (1966–69), and professor of music and Pan-African studies at Kent State University (1969–91); he continued to teach courses in African studies there on a part-time basis until 2012.

Composer Seunghee Lee, PhD ’14 has been appointed Assistant Professor of Music at Ave Maria University, Fl.

This fall Matthew Stern, BA ’08 was music director for the critically acclaimed British production of Stephen Sondheim’s Merrily We Roll Along at Boston’s Huntington Theater. Matt was a Vocal Performance Major at Brandeis with an additional major in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies. While at Brandeis he studied voice with Pamela Wolfe, and conducting with Neal Hampton, James Olesen and Daniel Stepner, and with Lawrence Wolfe of the BSO. Matt served as Undergraduate Departmental Representative for Music, and was music director for a number of student theater productions as well as a full-length program of choral music.

Matt is currently on the faculty of the Boston Conservatory at Berklee where he is teaching courses in musical theater, graduate styles and analysis, and vocal repertoire. He has directed a number of professional theater productions and received an IRNE (Independent Reviewers of New England) Award as Best Director for his work on The Scottsboro Boys for the Boston Speakeasy Stage Company.  For more information on Matt Stern visit his website:

Merrily We Roll Along

Nicholas BrownIn the Fall 2017 issue of the Brandeis Magazine, Nicholas Brown ’10 offers a heartfelt and touching discussion about personal identity, courage, and the powerful influence of poetry and the music of Leonard Bernstein. Nick was a performance major at Brandeis, studying voice and conducting and playing French horn. While at Brandeis he founded the Irving Fine Society to present the vocal works of Irving Fine. He also served in the Army National Guard and subsequently went on to study for a master’s degree at Kings College. Following an appointment as a White House intern in the office of First Lady Michelle Obama, Nick accepted a position as a music specialist at the Library of Congress.

Click here to read his Brandeis Magazine article, That New American Salute.