Ph.D. Candidate

David VanderHamm is a fifth-year graduate student originally from central Kansas. He spent the greater part of the last decade in Denver, Colorado as a student, teacher, and freelance performer. David has performed in diverse genres and contexts, from playing rock music at the world-renowned Red Rocks Amphitheater to premiering works of new music in chamber music settings.

David’s dissertation is on the social construction of virtuosity in the age of electronic media. In it, he argues that virtuosity should be understood as a social phenomenon co-constructed by musicians, audiences, and a host of musical intermediaries. Other research interests include phenomenology and musical time and the influence of commodification and technology on American music of the twentieth century.

David remains an active performer and teacher within contemporary art-music, jazz, and American folk/popular  contexts, and particularly enjoys performing in the duo format.

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  • Office: Hill Hall 217

Review of Timothy Taylor, The Sounds of Capitalism: Advertising, Music, and the Conquest of Culture. Journal of the Society for American Music 10, no. 2 (Forthcoming).

“Preserving Heritage, Fostering Change: Accidental Archives in Country Music and Hip-Hop,” co-authored with Mark Katz, Public Historian 37, no. 4 (November 2015): 32–46. (Forthcoming).

Review of The Rhythm of Thought: Art, Literature, and Music after Merleau-Ponty by Jessica WiskusMAKE: A Literary Magazine (January 2015).

Review of The Music Between Us: Is Music a Universal Language? by Kathleen Marie HigginsMAKE: A Literary Magazine (September 2014).

Review of Domesticating the Airwaves: Broadcasting, Domesticity and Femininity, by Maggie Andrews. MAKE: A Literary Magazine (August 2013).

“The Listening Moment: Ludic Wit in Haydn’s String Quartets.” M.A. thesis, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2013.

Conference Papers

“Agency in Excess: Tony Melendez and the Intersecting Performance of Virtuosity, Disability, and Religiosity,” International Association for the Study of Popular Music, U.S. and Canada Branch. Calgary, May 2016 (Paper Accepted).

“Agency in Excess: Tony Melendez and Musical Virtuosity at the Intersection of Disability, Religiosity, and Latino Identity,” Society for Disability Studies, Atlanta, GA, June 2015.

“African Others and the Virtuoso Self: Collaboration and Cultural Capital in Béla Fleck’s Throw Down Your Heart,” Sight and Sound Conference, London, UK, May 2015.

“Cosmopolitan Virtuosity, Cultural Capital, and Representations of Africa in Béla Fleck’s Throw Down Your Heart,” Society for Ethnomusicology Annual Meeting, Pittsburgh, PA, November 13, 2014.

“Sounding the Limits: Technology, Virtuosity, and Disability,” American Musicological Society Annual Meeting, Milwaukee, WI, November 7, 2014.

“Simple Shaker Folk: American Mythology, Appropriation, and Copland’s Appalachian Spring,” Aaron Copland and the American Cultural Imagination, Chapel Hill, NC, August 23, 2014.

“‘The Martyrs of Artworks’: Adorno on Virtuosity, Performance, and Musical Labor,” Music, Marxism, and the Frankfurt School, Dublin, Ireland, July 3, 2014.

“Sounding the Limits: Technology, Virtuosity, and Disability,” Technology in Music: Production,Preservation, and Dissemination, Chapel Hill, NC, May 24, 2014.

“‘Them Boys Kin Shore Tromp on the Strings’: Down-Home Virtuosity in Rural Variety Radio,” IASPM-US Annual Conference, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, March 2014

“Where Does this Cable Go?: Guitar Amplifiers, Instrumentality, and Sonic Ecology,” Society for Ethnomusicology Annual Meeting, Indianapolis, Indiana, November 14, 2013

“Broadcasting ‘Hillbilly’ Virtuosity: Showcasing Musical Skill in a Down-Home Way,” South Central Graduate Music Consortium, Durham, North Carolina, September 28, 2013; American Musicological Society, Southeast Chapter, Greenville, North Carolina, September 21, 2013

“The Other End of the Cable: Guitar Amplifiers, Instrumentality, and Sonic Ecology,” Western University Graduate Symposium on Music, London, Ontario, August 2013

“Bringing the Banjo (Back) to Africa: Construction of Origins and the Ethics of Virtuosity in Béla Fleck’s Throw Down Your Heart,” Southern Sounds/Out of Bounds Conference, Chapel Hill, NC, February 2013

“A Time for Wit: Listening to Haydn’s Op. 76 Quartets,” South Central Graduate Music Consortium, Charlottesville, Virginia, September 2012

“The Commodified Comprehensible: Schoenberg’s String Trio and the ‘Contemporary Classic’ Recording,” American Musicological Society, Southeast Chapter, Boone, NC, September 2012

“‘Inexorable Foe’ Turned Essential Ally: The Role of Recording and the String Trio, Op. 45,” Arnold Schönberg Akademie, Vienna, Austria, June 2012

Dissertation Completion Fellowship, UNC Graduate School, 2016-2017

The Jean Cameron Grainger Summer Research Fellowship, UNC Graduate School, 2015

Future Faculty Fellowship, UNC Center for Faculty Excellence, 2014

Berea College Appalachian Sound Archives Fellowship, 2013


  • Introduction to World Musics (MUSC 146, offered through the Friday Center for Continuing Education)
  • Introduction to World Musics: The Guitar Across Musical Cultures (MUSC 146)
  • Music Theory I (MUSC 131)

Recitation Leader:

  • Great Musical Works (MUSC 142)
  • Musicianship & Aural Skills (MUSC 130)
  • Introduction to World Musics (MUSC 146)
  • Survey of Western Music History (MUSC 141)

Teaching Assistant:

  • Medieval and Early Modern Music (251)
  • Introduction to Rock Music (MUSC 143)
  • Opera as Drama (MUSC 287)
  • Virtuosity (MUSC 355)