Graduate students in musicology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill come from a wide variety of undergraduate programs, both domestically and internationally. Most enter the program with a Bachelor’s degree, but about one-fifth already have a Master’s degree when they begin their studies at Carolina. Students in this program hold either a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in a variety of subjects (e.g. performance, composition, conducting, music education, business, physics). The research interests of our students are correspondingly broad, as reflected in the range of topics of dissertations now in progress or recently completed.

Amanda Black – ethnomusicology, Latin American popular music, sound studies

Amanda Black (Ph.D. candidate) holds a Bachelor of Arts in Studio Art and Spanish from UNC-Greensboro, and a Master of Arts in Translation Theory from the Universidad de Málaga (2011). After completing one year of the Bachelor of Music in Flute Performance, Amanda’s studies broadened to include Latin American cultural studies and in-depth Spanish language study. She completed her final year of painting study at the Universidad de Guanajuato, in Guanajuato, Mexico, where she continued to play and teach flute and engage in new musical experiences. As an interpreter and translator, she would travel to Honduras, on return trips to Mexico, as well as to Colombia, Ecuador, Chile, and Spain. Translating and editing within a circle of scholars working towards decolonization, Amanda developed a strong interest in the intersection of music, immigration, the control of sonic space, and place.

Image of Jamie BlakeJamie Blake – American music, Russian music, exile and disapora, jazz and popular music

Jamie Blake (Ph.D. candidate) is broadly interested in American music of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, as well as Russian music and Russian-American artistic relationships. Her current project theorizes and contextualizes the role of flow theory in improvised jazz, focusing on questions of embodiment, creativity, and collectivity in performance. Her dissertation research will explore questions of identity, allegiance, and artistry in the post-revolution Russian diaspora through conductor and émigré Serge Koussevitzky. Jamie earned a Bachelor of Music in music education from Boston University and a Master of Music in instrumental conducting from Brigham Young University. She has worked extensively conducting bands and orchestras, and enjoys working with both adult and youth ensembles. She remains a freelance trumpeter and teaches private lessons in the triangle area.

John Caldwell – comparative musicology, South Asian music

John Caldwell (Ph.D. candidate) was born and raised in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and has a M.M. in Performance (Bassoon) from the University of Michigan. After a stint in the corporate world, John returned to academia in 1995. He is fluent in Urdu and Hindi and teaches all levels of these languages at UNC as well as courses in South Asian music and culture. John’s research interests include South Asian music, comparative musicology, Bollywood songs, and poetry and poetics. John has been assistant director of the UNC Summer in India Study Abroad Program since 1999 and has traveled to India and Pakistan many times. He continues to play bassoon in the Raleigh Symphony and Durham Symphony and can often be heard accompanying Indian musicians on the harmonium. John’s dissertation topic is “Songs from the Other Side: the Lives of Pakistani Music in India.” John recently returned from a seven-month Fulbright-Nehru Fellowship in India.

Christopher Campo-Bowen – 19th- and 20th-century Czech music

Christopher Campo-Bowen (Ph.D. candidate) completed his B.A. in Music with a focus in conducting at Stanford University in 2009 and M.M. in Orchestral Conducting at the Catholic University of America in Washington D.C. in 2011. Chris remains an active viola player, singer, and conductor. He was the recipient of a Fulbright grant to the Czech Republic during 2014-15 to work on his dissertation. It investigates the history of Czech comic opera, particularly how conceptions of ruralness structured notions of subjectivity, ethnicity, and identity in Czech culture during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. He held a Howard Mayer Brown Fellowship from the American Musicological Society during  2016-2017 and is a recipient of a Council for European Studies Mellon Dissertation Completion Grant for 2017-2018. He has published articles in both Nineteenth-Century Music and Cambridge Opera Journal.

Erica Fedor – American music, ecomusicology

Erica Fedor (2nd Year Graduate Student) is a member of UNC’s Royster Society of Fellows. She holds a B.A. in English with Honors and Music with Honors from Wake Forest University (2013) and an M.M. in Ethnomusicology from Florida State University (2015). During the 2015-2016 school year, she taught English at Gymnázium Dobruška in Dobruška, Czech Republic as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant. The connections between music and place underscore Erica’s research, and she studies music and dance from the U.S. South both in local music scenes and transnationally, with a focus on bluegrass in the Czech Republic. She is also interested in ecomusicology, particularly musical responses to environmental degradation and climate change, as well as gender studies, feminism(s) and pop culture, and music and protest.

Ben Gates – Music and drama, late 19th-early 20th century German music

Originally from Muskogee, Oklahoma, Ben Gates (2nd year Graduate Student) holds a Bachelor of Music in Theory and Composition from the Middle Tennessee State University School of Music. Currently a graduate student in musicology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, his research interests include the use of music as an aspect of dramatic expression in both film and opera. Other interests include mechanical instruments and musical automata in 18th century Europe.

Joanna HelmsJoanna Helms – 20th-century Italian music, electroacoustic music, music and media, sound studies

Originally from Columbia, S.C., Joanna Helms (Ph.D. candidate) holds an M.A. in musicology from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music and a B.M. in flute performance, summa cum laude and with honors, from the University of South Carolina. Her research interests generally center on music, sound, and technology, with particular interests in the production of and experience of listening to sound for broadcast media in the United States and Italy. Her dissertation, provisionally titled “Electronic Music History Through the Everyday: The RAI Studio di Fonologia (1954–83)” reads Italian state-sponsored electroacoustic music research at Radiotelevisione Italiana (RAI) in Milan through small-scale activities of composers, performers, studio employees, network executives, and listeners negotiating changing postwar cultural priorities. Joanna has also presented research on the development of sound effects on early American radio at the National Broadcasting Company, and on new media and participation in the promotion of contemporary classical music in the US and Europe. Joanna remains active as a flutist, including currently with UNC’s Charanga Carolina, and also plays the electric bass. She is also a co-founder and a current organizer of the Experimental Music Study Group.

Barkley Heuser – Latin America, popular musics

Barkley Heuser (4th Year Graduate Student) is originally from New York and received a B.A. in English and Spanish Literature at SUNY Stony Brook. After some time teaching English at the secondary level, he returned to Stony Brook for an M.M. in Guitar Performance and an M.A. in Music History and Theory. His primary research interests center on Latin American popular and folk musics, especially as they relate to identity construction, historiography, and the interactions between diasporic/global and local communities.

A. Kori Hill – 19th and 20th c. black American classical music, critical race theory, intersectional feminism

A. Kori Hill (3rd year Graduate Student) is originally from Cincinnati, Ohio. She holds a M.M. in music history and music performance from West Virginia University and a B.M. in music performance from Miami University. Kori’s research interests include 19th – 20th c. Western classical music, the history of the violin/fiddle in African and African diasporic communities, and classical music education and patronage in black American communities in the United States.

In her spare time, Kori is an avid reader, movie watcher, and bookstagramer.

Aldwyn Hogg

Aldwyn Hogg Jr. – Soviet-Russian music, censorship, music and protest, music of the Black Power Era

Aldwyn Hogg Jr. (1st year Graduate Student) is originally from the Bahamas, and has spent the past six years in Ontario, Canada completing his BA. Hons. in Music at the University Guelph, and his MA in Musicology at Western University. His primary interests lie in the role musical institutions played in the mediation of socialist realism in Stalinist Russia, and the cultural significance and currency of soviet symphonies. Aldwyn also has a burgeoning interest in the use of soul and funk music during the Black Power era, and in the cultural politics of the Black Panthers.

Samantha Horn – Early Baroque, 20th Century

Samantha Horn (Ph.D. candidate) is originally from Niceville, Fla. She attended Macalester College (St. Paul, Minn.) from 2010-2014 and graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Music. She is interested in the relationship between music and narrative, both in early Baroque opera and twentieth-century dramatic music; her interests also include Nordic-American folk music and issues related to gender and sexuality. Samantha is also a harpist and particularly enjoys playing music by living composers.

Grace Kweon

Grace Kweon (2nd Year Graduate Student) is originally from Incheon, South Korea. After immigrating to the United States, she received a BA in Music and in Biology from Duke University in 2014 and a MM in Musicology from Northwestern University in 2016. Her research centers on the deliberate choices of self-fashioning made by participants of twentieth-century Russian theater and of contemporary Korean pop music. Further interests include the circulation of music and musicians through transnational fandoms, by state-owned media institutions, and within pan-Asian activism.

Mike LevineMike Levine – Cuban Protest, Punk, Digital Humanities, Local Music Culture

Involving himself in the music scenes of Brooklyn, N.Y., over the past decade, Mike Levine (2nd Year Graduate Student) has utilized a dual background in academic research and web-based application technologies to support sustainable local music scenes. His research now takes him to Cuba’s protest punk music scene. Mike’s goal is to study the artists producing music in this vibrant and controversial area, while examining questions of national and political identity. Mike looks forward to contributing towards a greater understanding of how musicians fund and perform music amidst challenging political and economic circumstances.

Stella Zhizhi LiStella Zhizhi Li – East Asian Music, musical reception

Stella Zhizhi Li (1st Year Graduate Student) holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theory and Composition from St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN. Her research interests center on transnational musical and cultural reception, with an emphasis on receptions of East Asian music in Western society.


Jay Maenhout – video game music, Top 40, intersectional feminisms, early music

Born in Marlborough, Massachusetts, Jay Maenhout (2nd Year Graduate Student) holds a B.M. in Music Theory/Composition from Westminster Choir College in Princeton, N.J. His main area of interest is the American Top 40 analyzed through lenses of race, class, and gender. He is particularly concerned with the musical canon and what is taught to both music majors and non-majors alike in the collegiate classroom. An active early music tenor, Jay has sung major works with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Berlin Philharmoniker, New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, and Vienna Philharmonic.

Alexander Marsden – popular music, EDM, reception studies

Alexander Marsden (3rd Year Graduate Student) grew up in Lancaster, in the U.K. He holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in music from the University of Cambridge (2010-2014). To date, his primary research has centred around electronic dance music and rap in Britain, focusing on issues of critical reception, the politics of genre definition, and the relationship between concepts of modernism and popular music.

Meg Orita – popular music, social media

Originally from Princeton, N.J., H. Meg Orita (3rd Year Graduate Student) holds a Bachelor of Music degree, summa cum laude with program honors, in Voice & Opera Performance with a Minor in Musicology from Northwestern University’s Henry and Leigh Bienen School of Music. She recently completed her Master’s thesis, addressing how music of different genres is arranged for figure skating programs. Her current research focuses on narratives of trauma and recovery in the work of 1990s/2000s singer-songwriters. Meg’s research interests incorporate social media ethnography, body-positivity, and feminist theory.

Genevieve Palmer – Ethnomusicology, black music, West Africa, Latin America, United States

Genevieve Palmer (1st year Graduate Student) is a Raleigh/Durham native holding a bachelor’s degree in Music Performance (concentration in Jazz Studies, Double Bass) from UNC Greensboro. While completing their performance degree, Palmer became interested in Black contributions in the popular music of the United States and Latin America; their primary interest is currently in the field of Ethnomusicology with a focus in Sub-Saharan West African influence on Pan-American musics. Palmer has studied and performed a variety of music from the Caribbean, Brazil, and the United States, as well as Balinese Gamelan and Western Classical Music.

Erin Pratt – 19th- and 20th-century German art music

Erin Pratt (1st year Graduate Student) holds a B.A. in music and classics from Smith College. She is interested in German art music of the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries, especially that of Gustav Mahler. Erin also engages with literary theory and its applications to music analysis, and is especially interested in music that has textual elements.

Megan RossMegan Ross – Beethoven Studies, Music Criticism, DJ Culture

Megan Ross (Ph.D. candidate) is originally from East Northport, N.Y., and holds degrees from Boston University (M.M. in Historical Musicology) and the College of the Holy Cross (B.A. in Music). Her dissertation, “The Critical Reception of Beethoven’s String Quartet in C#-minor, Op. 131,”aims to expand our understanding of Beethoven’s late style by synthesizing a broad spectrum of responses to this single work. These responses include biographical, technical, and social analyses, as well as compositional attempts to come to terms with it. Her other research and teaching interests include Beethoven sketch studies, the development of the fields of musicology and criticism, disability studies, music and politics, and DJ culture.

Stephen StacksStephen Stacks – civil rights music and protest, bluegrass

Stephen Stacks (Ph.D. candidate) is originally from Charlotte, N.C., and earned a Bachelor’s of Music in Church Music from Furman University in Greenville, S.C., and a Master’s of Sacred Music in Choral Conducting from Boston University. He pursues interests in the music of the Black American Freedom Movement (i.e. the Civil Rights Movement) and bluegrass. Stephen is also Director of Music Ministries at Greenwood Forest Baptist Church in Cary, N.C., where he loves to bring his academic study into the context of liturgical music-making.

Sierriana Terry – anime/cartoon music, late 19th- and early 20th-century American music, African American studies, ethnomusicology

A native of North Carolina, Sierriana Terry (2nd Year Graduate Student) received her Bachelor of Arts in music from North Carolina Central University. Her research interests include issues of musical characterization in Anime/Cartoons. Her secondary interests include contemporary African American studies in Broadway, musical theater and popular music, and protest culture within music festivals held by people of color in South America, similar to America’s very own AfroPunk festival.

Sarah Tomlinson – American music, children’s studies, feminism(s), critical race theory

Originally from Penfield, N.Y., Sarah Tomlinson (Ph.D. candidate) moved to Chapel Hill after graduating from Michigan State University in 2014. She holds a B.M. in Music Education and a B.A. in Music, earning both degrees with high honors. Sarah’s master thesis examines the ways that activist, pianist, and singer-songwriter Nina Simone resisted racism and engaged with black consciousness before she composed her first explicitly political protest song in 1963.  In addition to her interests in popular music and critical race theory, Sarah’s master’s thesis work also stems from her broad interests in feminism(s), identity politics, and American music. Her dissertation is on the ideological history and current practice of classical music programming for children’s audiences in the United States. She situates her study of classical music in children’s lives within feminist methodologies and critical examinations of elitism, ageism, and race studies. Her dissertation work weaves historical and ethnographic research methods together with social engagement. As she pursues her Ph.D., Sarah is earning a graduate certificate in cultural studies and a graduate certificate in participatory research.

Oren Vinogradov – 19th century, music and philosophy, musicals

Oren Vinogradov (Ph.D. candidate) is originally from Israel and received a B.A. in Liberal Arts with a focus in Music from Simon’s Rock College of Bard, completing a thesis on the development of Leitmotiv techniques before Wagner. His research interests include the history of program music as an idea and practice, fashion and gendered performativity in film musicals, as well as ludomusicology more broadly. Oren continues to perform new music as a clarinetist, and is involved in early music as a recorder player.

Jennifer WalkerJennifer Walker – Third Republic France, Jules Massenet

A native of Johnson City, Tennessee, Jennifer Walker (Ph.D. candidate) holds a B.M. in Piano Performance, summa cum laude, from East Tennessee State University and a M.A. in Music History and Theory from the State University of New York at Stony Brook under the advisement of Ryan Minor. Her research interests include nineteenth-century French vocal music (choral, operatic, and song) how it relates to issues of culturalization, nationalism, and religion in music.  Prior to coming to UNC, she taught choral literature at East Tennessee State University, multiple courses at the community college level in Tennessee and Kentucky, and was on the faculty of the Pre-College Division at Stony Brook. Her work has been presented in Maynooth, Ireland, Boston, and at multiple meetings of the Southeast chapter of the AMS and the South Central Graduate Music Consortium; her paper on Darius Milhaud’s opera Esther de Carpentras was awarded the Student Presentation Award from the AMS-Southeast chapter for 2014-2015.