Department of Music

Noteworthy News

Research, Publications, Awards & More: At a Glance

Composition PhD candidate Luke Blackburn awarded Charles Ives Scholarship from American Academy of Arts & Letters

February 13, 2024

Composer and Composition & Theory PhD candidate Luke Blackburn will receive the prestigious Charles Ives Scholarship Award in Music ($7,500) from the American Academy of Arts and Letter in February.
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Professor Yu-Hui Chang’s “Mind Like Water” Album released this January

January 22, 2024

A new portrait album “Mind Like Water” is released by New Focus Recordings on January 19, 2024. Composer Yu-Hui Chang's Mind Like Water presents three ensemble works and one solo cello piece that all feature a dialogue between musical elements. Sometimes this dialogue unfolds between contrasting energies, such as the percolating rhythms of the opening movement of In Thin Air versus the dramatic gestures in its second movement. Other times the conversation is between smaller musical elements, like the cells in Germinate or the flowing, through composed unfolding of the title work. The recording features performances by the Lydian String Quartet, Dinosaur Annex Music Ensemble, Composers Conference Ensemble, and cellist Rhonda Rider. See New Focus website for more information.
PhD Students Anna Valcour & Marie Comuzzo to present panel at SEM

May 22, 2023

Brandeis Musicology PhD students Marie Comuzzo and Anna Valcour and Anthropology PhD student Kalie Jamieson will present a panel at the annual Society for Ethnomusicology meeting this fall in Ottawa, Canada, sponsored by the SEM Section on the Status of Women. The panel is titled "Surviving Dreams, Living Trauma: The Invisible Barriers That Stand Between Performers and Their Success," and will explore the multifaceted layers of trauma that artists endure in the early stages of their careers in classical music and dance.
Musicology PhD Student Anna Valcour awarded Hollace Anne Schafer Memorial Award from AMS New England

May 22, 2023

Brandeis Musicology PhD student Anna Valcour was recently awarded the Hollace Anne Schafer Memorial Award from the AMS New England Chapter for her paper "Operatic Institutional Responsibility for Sexual Misconduct" presented in February 2023. The Schafer Award is awarded for the best scholarly paper presented by a graduate student. 

Erin Gee was recently selected for the prestigious 29th Annual Herb Alpert Award. Erin Gee is known for her Mouthpiece Series, which combines non-semantic vocal sounds with a wide variety of instrumental timbres.

“In selecting Erin Gee as a winner of the 2023 Herb Alpert Award in Music, we celebrate her groundbreaking explorations of the human voice. Virtuosic as both composer and vocalist, she has—through a focused and sublime aural imagination—traversed and expanded vast realms of vocal sound, creating micro-worlds brimming with nuanced and fresh colors.”

The award is given to risk-taking artists in mid-career and is an unrestricted prize of $75,000 and a residency at CalArts. Recipients are awarded in the fields of film, music, dance, theater, and visual arts. The panel in music was Nicole Mitchell, Pamela Z, and Derek Bermel.

Winners in all categories: Film, Christopher Harris and Madeleine Hunt-Ehrlich; Dance, Ayodele Casel and Makini [jumata m. poe] and Jermone Donte Beacham; theater, Whitney White and Tania El Khoury; visual arts, American Artist and Park McArthur.

Read more about Erin Gee on the Herb Alpert Foundation website.

March 20, 2023

Alexandra Burkot has been awarded the Schwarz Fellowship for Research on Music at the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, in Athens, Greece. The Schwarz Fellowship for Research on Music supports research that focuses on the cultural history of music in the Mediterranean world broadly defined. The fellowship aims to promote the study of interactions among Western European, Byzantine, Islamic and Jewish cultures from the medieval to the modern period. She will be studying the life and works of 20th-century composer Dimitrios Levidis, focusing on his oratorio, "L'Iliade," based on the ancient epic poem.

Recent Accomplishments of Musicology PhD Candidate James Heazlewood-Dale

March 13, 2023

James Heazlewood-Dale has met several successes of late in his ludomusicological career. In the past month, he won the "Best Graduate Research Paper" award for the North-East Chapter of the College Music Society conference, presented research at the North American Conference for Video Game Music, was hired by Universal Music to write the liner notes for the OST CD release of "The Calistto Protocol" (Striking Distance, 2023), and began a new position serving as chair of the strings department at BC High in addition to teaching courses in music technology, music theory, music composition, and, a historical landmark for the school, a fully-fledged course in ludomusicology. James also appears as a scholarly guest in Adam Nealy's most recent video essay, "The Nintendo-fication of Jazz," which currently has over half a million views.

February 27, 2023

Composer and PhD candidate Ali Can Puskulcu received a prestigious Charles Ives Scholarship Award in Music from the American Academy of Arts and Letter in February.

May 23, 2022

Conductor Robert Duff will lead Brandeis University's premier choral ensemble, the Brandeis Chamber Singers, in their next European tour. This time, the singers will be performing throughout Paris and Normandy.

Click here for the full itinerary.

April 8, 2022

PhD alumnus David Dominique, assistant professor of music at William & Mary, has been awarded the 2022 John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship in Music Composition. Dominique’s fellowship is one of 13 awards given this year in the area of music composition.

April 1, 2022

Associate Professor of Music and Department Chair Karen Desmond gave the Sacred Music at Notre Dame Spring 2022 Calvin M. Bower Lecture: "In Pieces: Composing and Analyzing the Late Medieval Alleluya" on April 1, 2022.

March 26, 2022

Walter W. Naumburg Professor of Composition David Rakowski's contribution to Anthony de Mare’s Liaisons project was performed at New York's Merkin Hall, in a program that also featured six premieres of new Sondheim reimaginings. After the performance, Rakowski led a panel discussion with the composers in attendance.

February 27, 2022

Professor Hampton served as guest conductor for the Merrimack Valley Philharmonic Orchestra's Feb. 27 concert of some of the world's most memorable movie themes include "Star Wars," "Lord of the Rings" and more.

February 24, 2022

Associate Professor of Composition Erin Gee is one of four composers who will receive the $10,000 Arts and Letters Awards in Music from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

January 11, 2022

Karen Desmond was awarded a one-year National Endowment for the Humanities Research Fellowship ($60,000) to support the early stages of her new research project on liturgical polyphony at Worcester Cathedral in England in the later Middle Ages.

This is the second time Desmond has been awarded an NEH Research Fellowship (the first was in 2014 for her book "Music and the Moderni"

Composer Erin Gee featured on BBC Sounds playlist curated by Pamela Z

January 6, 2022

Associate Professor of Composition Erin Gee was selected by pioneering Bay Area composer and performance artist Pamela Z for a one-hour playlist of experimental music.

December 16, 2021

Of the composers participating in the International Composition Institute of Thailand (ICIT) 2021, composer and PhD candidate Ying-Ting Lin was selected to write a piece for the Tacet(i) Ensemble, which will be featured at next year’s Thailand New Music and Arts Symposium and ICIT 2022.

December 15, 2021

Irving G. Fine Professor of Music Eric Chasalow recently completed Violin Concerto (Ancient Signs and Infamous Rhythms) for violin and chamber orchestra, Foster Mix for violin and gallery space, and Fierce and Airy Occupations for solo flute, as well as workshops at Slosberg and the Rose Art Museum with Miranda Cuckson.

December 6, 2021

Delayed due to COVID-19, Emily Koh, PhD ’17 in Composition and Theory, is spending Dec. 6, 2021– Jan. 1, 2022, in residence at Copland House, having received the honor in 2019.

November 27, 2021

Walter W. Naumburg Professor of Composition David Rakowski's "Penalty Box" for solo piano was recently published by CF Peters New York. The piece was written during the pandemic for pianist Holly Roadfedlt, who performed the world premiere on Nov. 27 at Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania.

November 22, 2021

Copland House has selected Irving G. Fine Professor of Music Eric Chasalow and PhD candidate in Composition & Theory Ali Can Puskulcu to be in residence at Aaron Copland’s National Historic Landmark home near New York City in 2022.

The Brown University Orchestra premieres new work from MFA candidate Max Friedman

November 20, 2021

The orchestra, under the direction of Mark Seto, performed the world premiere of composer Max Friedman's "Exospheres" on a program that also included music of Ravel and Strauss on Nov. 20-21, 2021.

November 19, 2021

The critically acclaimed Sarasa Chamber Music Ensemble and David Stern have co-commissioned PhD candidates in Composition & Theory Mariel Mayz and Li Qi, and will premiere their works Nov. 19-21, 2021.

October 17, 2021

PhD candidate in Composition & Theory Ali Can Puskulcu was selected by Music at the Anthology (MATA) to mentor a pre-college composer over the course of several months, culminating in an evening of world premieres by New York’s top performers of new music.

October 2, 2021

Sarah Grace Graves (voice) will perform the work as part of the Festival Mixtur in Barcelona, Spain on Oct. 2; Felicita Brusoni (voice) will perform it as part of the Inter Feral Arts/New Music Festival in Malmö, Sweden on Oct.13; and the Fondation des États-Unis in Paris, France will present a performance with Sarah Grace Graves (voice) on Oct.17.

October 1, 2021

The PhD candidate in Composition & Theory has received an Artist Grant from the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center (JACCC) in Los Angeles to create a new work for "The Kintsugi Spirit" Virtual Exhibition.

This spring, Chasalow will be in residence at The Studios at Key West and the Bogliasco Foundation. He is currently composing a violin concerto for Miranda Cuckson and Boston Modern Orchestra Project and a song cycle on themes of climate change.

September 10, 2021

Boston-based multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, and composer Yonatan (Yoni) Battat will join the 10-month tour of the Tony-Award winning musical in the role of the Egyptian violinist, Camal, playing oud and violin as well as singing and acting.

September 8, 2021

Director of the Brandeis Early Music Ensemble Sarah Mead was a featured speaker at the Linarol Consort's festival marking the 500th anniversary of Josquin des Prez's death.

August 19, 2021

In the article, Cheah shares samples of her compositions, as well as musings about her journey and her unique approach to orchestration: "Plain but lush, a little weird, and informed by electronic timbres."

August 16, 2021

Both PhD alums received 2021 commissions from the Barlow Endowment for Music Composition at Brigham Young University. Todd’s work will be performed by the Left Coast Chamber Ensemble and Joseph’s work will be performed by Room 1078.

August 15, 2021

Lydian String Quartet violist and Associate Professor of the Practice Mark Berger performed in the Third Dimension Music Festival in Astoria, Oregon, from Aug.15-22, 2021, as a guest of the Hermitage Piano Trio.

August 4, 2021

Associate Professor of Composition Erin Gee presented a variety of works, including her legendary "Mouthpieces," in the acclaimed vocal festival and public television program Resonant Bodies.

July 30, 2021

The exhibit is intended to serve as an introduction to the life of world-renowned composer, conductor, musician, and teacher Henri Lazarof MFA '59, as represented in the Henri Lazarof Archives housed here at Brandeis.

July 22, 2021

Music department chair Karen Desmond's new essay, "Traces of Revision in Machaut’s Motet Bone pastor," has been published in the volume Poetry, Music, and Art in Guillaume de Machaut’s Earliest Manuscript.

July 14, 2021

Recent PhD alumnus and current lecturer in music Matthew Heck presented "A 'Still-Born Art:' Shostakovich's Dodecaphony and the Petersburg Text" for the Institute for Russian Music Studies 2021 Annual Conference.

July 2, 2021

Visiting Assistant Professor of Music Taylor Ackley and the Deep Roots Ensemble have released a deluxe CD of their second album, "Hard Tellin'," with a special 20-page booklet of photos, commentary and the stories behind the songs.

June 20, 2021

The Brandeis alum, a leading figure in the field of Baroque music, passed away in Victoria, British Columbia, on June 20, 2021, at age 71. Learn more in the Talefmusik media release and find a list of tributes to Ms. Lamon.

May 6, 2021

Dominique, currently on the faculty of the College of William and Mary, joins the prestigious program for artists, scholars and practitioners who bring a record of achievement and exceptional promise to the Radcliffe Institute.

April 23, 2021

Tallon, who earned her MFA in Composition and Theory at Brandeis, was honored with the Frederic A. Juilliard/Walter Damrosch Rome Prize by the prestigious American Academy in Rome.

April 15, 2021

The article features interviews with former students and colleagues of Boykan — who died peacefully at his home on March 6, 2021, at the age of 89 — including Scott Wheeler PhD ’84, Christian Gentry PhD ’12, John Aylward PhD ’08 and Eric Chasalow.

April 9, 2021

A recent article discusses the role that Harold Shapero and his fellow "Boston School" composers, who created the Brandeis Department of Music, played in establishing Boston as the center of innovative composition in the mid-20th century.

April 9, 2021

A panel of judges has selected composer Ioannis Angelakis, a Greek composer of acoustic music, as the winner of the Henri Lazarof International Commission Prize, a prize awarded by Brandeis in honor of Henri Lazarof, MFA’59.

Harvard Professor and MacArthur Award winner Claire Chase and Grammy Award-winning ensemble Roomful of Teeth have joined forces to record Beaudoin’s "Another Woman of Another Kind," for flute and eight voices on texts by Paul Griffiths.

Composition and Theory PhD alumni Victoria Cheah ’20 and David Dominique ’17 receive grants from New Music USA Creator Development Fund

April 5, 2021

Out of 1,100 applicants, the grants were awarded to 53 outstanding artists who represent the imaginative, diverse, and highly creative field that New Music USA is dedicated to supporting.

March 26, 2021

Brandeis University Professor of Music, emeritus Yehudi Wyner has received the American Academy of Arts and Letters' highest honor for excellence in the arts, awarded to those who have achieved eminence in an entire body of work. 

Musicology alumnus Rob Pearson shares the inspiring story of how he changed career paths after spending years as a faculty member, including how gardening helped him develop interests beyond his academic field.

March 12, 2021

Composer and PhD candidate Jeremy Rapaport-Stein will have his new work "the under side" for vocal quartet and wind ensemble premiered as part of the Young Composers Meeting held by Orkest de Ereprijs (Apeldoorn, NL).

March 8, 2021

Composer and PhD candidate Luke Blackburn was awarded one of five new commissions from prestigious new music ensemble "Boston Musica Viva" to write a new chamber ensemble work for a future professional premiere.

March 1, 2021

The flagship journal of musicology published music department chair Karen Desmond's article on the English 13th-century monk, parts of which were also presented at the symposium at Brandeis, organized by Desmond, in which acclaimed vocal ensemble Blue Heron participated.

March 1, 2021

Music Theory Online, a flagship journal of the Society for Music Theory, has published Beaudoin’s new article “Gould’s Creaking Chair, Schoenberg’s Metric Clarity.” Quantifying sounds that are normally marginalized, the article connects sound studies, theory, and recording analysis, fusing published observations about Schoenberg’s composition with the audio artifacts of Gould’s corporeality.

February 16, 2021

2011 Pulitzer Prize finalist and current Professor of Composition at the Eastman School of Music Ricardo Zohn-Muldoon is the latest winner of the biennial commission prize from the Lydian String Quartet, in residence at Brandeis since 1980.

February 15, 2021

PhD candidate in musicology Zen Kuriyama has written a chapter, "‘Resignation’ and Virgil Thomson’s Hymns from the Old South," for the new peer-reviewed publication Christian Sacred Music in the Americas, which offers a cross-section of the most current and outstanding scholarship from an international array of writers.

February 8, 2021

Brandeis alum, violist, oud and voice musician and composer Yonatan (Yoni) Battat has received a new $20,000 fellowship from the Combined Jewish Philanthropies (CJP) and Jewish Arts Collaborative (JArts).

January 12, 2021

Music Technologist James Praznik produced this concert film of JS Bach's cantata "Mache dich, mein Geist, bereit" using recordings from the Brandeis Chamber Singers (Robert Duff, conductor), Brandeis voice instructors and invited guests. 

December 6, 2020

As part of MUS 116: Chamber Music from Page to Stage, violist and PhD candidate in musicology Eric Hollander partnered with SIMS and student artists Erick Amezcua, Evalyn Berleant and Ethan Parcell to create a unique audiovisual experience.

November 30, 2020

Candidates have until Jan. 31, 2021, to apply via Slideroom for the annual prize of $15,000 for the composition of an original work for select instruments to complement an existing work by Henri Lazarof.

November 16, 2020

Composer and PhD candidate Luke Blackburn was named the winner of the seventh annual Costello Commission from the Lyra Society to create a new work for harp, based on his previous work, "Menagerie of Spectacular Creatures: Insecta." 

Assistant professor in Music and American Studies Paula Musegades has published a pioneering study of how American composer Aaron Copland helped shape the sound of the Hollywood film industry.

Learn more from the publisher.

Talia Amar, PhD ’20 in Composition and Theory, has been awarded tenure as a faculty member in composition at the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance.

October 5, 2020

Jennifer Lin ’22 (presently in Taiwan) and Emma Carlson ’24 (presently on the Brandeis campus) collaborate on an enchanting performance of "Mondnacht," a song from Schumann's beloved song cycle Liederkreis, Op. 39.

July 16, 2020

Emily Koh, PhD ’17 in Composition and Theory, has been awarded an OPERA America commissioning grant via Boston's Guerilla Opera for the creation and premiere of her first concert-length opera, "HER:alive|un|dead: a media opera."

July 15, 2020

The Lydian String Quartet's Judith Eissenberg has partnered with fellow faculty member Susan Dibble (of the Brandeis Department of Theater Arts) to create an audiovisual interpretation of the Allemanda movement from JS Bach's Partita in D minor for solo violin.

July 7, 2020

MusicWeb International has posted a glowing review of the 2019 recording of Pietro Vinci's "Quattordeci Sonetti Spirituali," performed under the direction of Professor Sarah Mead at Brandeis University's Harlan Chapel by her viol consort, Nota Bene, and a quintet of guest singers that included Brandeis instructor Matthew Anderson.

May 27, 2020

A panel of judges has selected composer Yair Klartag from Tel Aviv as the inaugural winner of the Henri Lazarof International Commission Prize. Klartag will compose an original work for flute, harp and viola.

April 7, 2020

Inspired by music treatises, the result of the Lydian's inaugural commission prize is paired with “it wasn’t a dream,” performed by soprano Charlotte Mundy, tenor Andrew Fuchs and pianists Michael Brofman and Miori Sugiyama.

March 13, 2020

In support of public health efforts and for the safety of our community, Brandeis has determined that all classes should be moved online for the spring semester. Additionally, all on-campus events have been canceled for the remainder of the academic year. You may read all messages to the Brandeis community and access frequently asked questions by clicking on the headline above.

February 27, 2020

Betsayda Machado, known as the “Voice of Venezuela,” and her high-energy Venezuelan Afro-Soul tambor ensemble visit Brandeis March 2-7 for the spring 2020 MusicUnitesUS world music residency.

January 22, 2020

An annual competition for composers is part of the Henri Lazarof Living Legacy at Brandeis, which celebrates the life and impact of Henri Lazarof, the world-renowned composer, conductor, pianist and teacher.

October 31, 2019

Professor Karen Desmond is the recipient of the prestigious Lewis Lockwood Award for 2019 for her book "Music and the moderni, 1300-1350: The ars nova in Theory and Practice."