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 or recently completed. now in progress
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.
Jamie Blake is a Ph.D. Candidate in Musicology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her dissertation, titled, “Architects of Russian America: Transnational Networks of Music and Musicians” focuses on the practical and cultural implications of the surge of Russian music and musicians in the United States in the first thirty years of the twentieth century. Blake is interested in the formation, navigation, and utilization of networks and the ways that personal and professional connections are shaped by shared purposes, perspectives, and resources. Though her current project centers on outcomes in the United States, she views her work as part of a larger transnational and international emigration story around pivotal and turbulent decades in Russian/Soviet history. Blake holds a BM from Boston University, an MM from Brigham Young University, and an MA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Blake has a background as a trumpet player and conductor (orchestra and wind band) and enjoys working with large ensembles, coaching chamber groups, and teaching privately.
Musician, arranger, and writer, Danielle Blumhardt (1st-year graduate student) holds Bachelor and Master of Music degrees in Cello Performance from the Cleveland Institute of Music, where she studied under cellists Stephen Geber and Dr. Melissa Kraut and graduated with Academic Honors. As a researcher, Danielle’s work has explored the intersection of queer/trans cultural production, virtual community formation, and musical resistance to capitalist hegemony. Her other research interests include experimental industrial/noise musics, the processes of genre creation and policing, Marxist aesthetic methodologies, and ludomusicology. Also an accomplished performer of various Western art music disciplines, Danielle, as soloist and chamber musician, has concertized across the country from historic halls — such as the Kennedy Center, the Symphony Center, Severance Hall, and Carnegie Hall — to renowned festivals and residencies — including the Juilliard String Quartet Seminar, Madeline Island Chamber Music, Centrum Chamber Music, the Schubert Club, and the Cleveland Chamber Music Society. Danielle is also a prizewinner of the Fischoff, WDAV, and New York International Artists Competitions and has performed alongside prominent solo and chamber musicians, such as members of the St. Lawrence and Juilliard Quartets. A passionate advocate for the performance of contemporary classical music, she has collaborated with some of the foremost composers of our time, including Yu-Hui Chang, Keith Fitch, Jeffrey Mumford, and Andrew Norman. Alongside her musicological research, Danielle continues to perform and arrange a varied repertoire, from George Crumb’s Black Angels and Kaija Saariaho’s Sept Papillons to the music of Nintendo’s Super Smash Bros. series.
Drew Borecky – music and media, music and representation, ludomusicology, music in “nerd” culture
Originally from Winston-Salem, NC, Drew Borecky (2nd-year graduate student) is a graduate of the Masters of Musicology Program at the University of Tennessee Knoxville and holds Bachelors degrees in music and education from Western Carolina University. His research interests concern the interplay of music and various forms of media, including film, television, and video games. His Masters thesis examined the interplay of music and representations of mental illness in the television crime drama. His other research interests include music and representation, ludomusicology, as well as music in “nerd” culture. Drew has presented work at Music and the Moving Image Conference (May 2018-2019) and the Nation Meeting of the American Musicological Society (November 2019).
Melissa Camp (3rd-year graduate student) is originally from Arlington, Texas, and received her B.M.E., summa cum laude, and M.M. in Musicology from Texas Christian University. She is primarily interested in fin-de-siècleFrance, American orchestras of the 20thcentury, and representations of women in American media. In Summer of 2017, she studied at the Bibliothèque national de France in Paris for her thesis on Spanish exoticism in Debussy’s music. She has presented at many conferences across North America and the U.K., including Music and the Moving Image. At UNC, she hopes to continue promoting unsung women composers and musicians lost to the pages of history.
Michael Carlson is a fourth-year Ph.D. student who specializes in the music of the Italian Renaissance. His current research focuses on the subversive potential of the genre of madrigali spirituali in Early Modern Italy as a Humanist spiritual response to post-Tridentine authoritarianism.
Michael earned his B.M. in music history from The Catholic University of America, Washington, DC. He then studied philosophy at Boston College before continuing his graduate education in theology by earning an S.T.B. and S.T.L. from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, Italy. His six years living in Italy formed his great fascination for Italian culture and history. Michael then earned a graduate certificate from Fairfield University (CT) in Spiritual Direction according to the Ignatian method. He completed a M.M. in musicology from The University of Hartford (The Hartt School) with a master’s thesis exploring the Ignatian dimension of Domenico Zipoli’s mission-opera, San Ignacio de Loyola.
Michael’s research interests include opera, the history of theory, historical notation, and queer studies. He also has a scholarly passion for the operatic works of Luigi Dallapiccola, Samuel Barber, and Giancarlo Menotti.
Justin Frankeny is a Ph.D. candidate in musicology, whose research interests concern the networks of power and prestige in so-called “high art” musics across the Americas, especially Cuba and the United States. Originally from Pittsburgh, PA, Justin received a Bachelor of Music from Baldwin Wallace University and a Master of Arts in Musicology from UNC Chapel Hill. His master’s thesis explored issues of distinction and exclusion in the genre of progressive rock during the early 2000s “prog rock resurgence,” with the music of The Mars Volta as his primary case study. His dissertation investigates how composers of the Cuban diaspora navigated the art world of contemporary art music amidst their experiences of migration and the rapidly-changing political and economic climates of the United States and Cuba in the years after the 1959 Cuban Revolution. As a complement to his musicological research, Justin also has a special interest in music librarianship and the digital humanities. He worked for over three years as a graduate assistant to the UNC Music Library, wherein his work included preparing over 1,000 Italian opera libretti for digitization. Justin also has a background in composition and performance of contemporary art music (on clarinet and saxophone), and he continues to perform throughout the Triangle.
Elias Gross – music, intersectionality, and social justice, and the stories of musicians who were ignored by history
Passionate about race and gender equity in classical music, Elias Gross (3rd-year graduate student) comes to UNC with a background in arts administration, music education, and viola performance. Gross holds a master’s in viola performance from the University of Delaware and a Bachelor’s in arts administration and art history from the University of Kentucky. In between degrees, Gross worked for six years in non-profit arts leadership, graphic design, and private music teaching. At UNC, Gross looks forward to continuing research begun in his master’s project on New York City Center Symphony (1944–1948), a WPA-inspired civic orchestra that sought to play without discrimination in its personnel, repertoire, and audience base.
A. Kori Hill is a Ph.D. Candidate from Cincinnati, Ohio. Her dissertation, “A Creation of Tradition: New Negro Modernism in the Concertos of Florence B. Price,” studies Price’s three concertos as examples of Black/New Negro music modernism to further contextualize Price’s style within American classical and Black cultural aesthetics. Kori has presented at the Society for American Music, FT&M17, MTSU Opera and Musical Theory Conference, The Arts in the Black Press in the Era of Jim Crow, and regional conferences in the Chapel Hill area. In November 2019, she gave the keynote address for the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra’s “Celebrating Florence Price” event. Her review, “Florence Price: Violin Concertos” was published in the Journal of the Society for American Music and her review of Naomi André’s Black Opera: History, Power, Engagement is forthcoming. From July 2018 to late 2020, Kori was the Director of Social Media for The Harry T. Burleigh Society. She has bylines in The Harry T. Burleigh Society Blog, I Care if You Listen, and the Seattle Symphony. In addition to her work on Price, Kori also studies modernist aesthetics, networks of Black classical musicians, and music as method for cultural theorizing. She holds a M.A. in musicology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a M.M. in music history and violin performance from West Virginia University, and a B.M. in violin performance from Miami University (of Ohio!).
Aldwyn is a fifth-year Ph.D. student from the Bahamas. He previously spent six years in Canada completing his B.A. Hons. in Music at the University of Guelph, and his M.A. in Musicology at Western University. His dissertation research will explore what black music can tell us about the dyad of race and technology during the early to mid-twentieth century in the United States of America. He intends to focus on 2 objects and 2 events: the washing machine, the automobile, the advent of nuclear weaponry during the Second World War, and the Apollo 11 mission to the moon. Aldwyn is also very much interested in nightclubs and clubbing, both as a research interest and as a personal hobby. In fact, his recently completed M.A. thesis explored sound, affect, and community within queer nightclubs. Some of his other scholarly interests include: black spoken word poetry and oral performance in the Black Power era, aesthetic criticism, and Soviet Russian symphonies (once upon a time, he wanted to be a russianist!).
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.
Emily Hynes (4th-year graduate student) is a member of the Royster Society of Fellows at UNC. Originally from Winnebago, Minnesota, Emily holds a Bachelor of Music degree cum laude from St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN. Her previous research has centered around carceral studies and intersection of identity, race, and gender. She has applied this to her research on music in the gulag and her work on folk music in prisons of the mid-20th century American South. Emily is also highly involved in Digital Humanities (DH) projects that utilize interactive mapping and storytelling to display data, make arguments, and communicate musicological findings to a broader audience. She has enjoyed mapping music in the Gulag, folk songs of the American south, and over 3,000 performances of the Ballets Russes. Examples of her work can be found at https://musicalgeography.org/.
Tara Jordan (3rd-year graduate student) holds a Bachelor of Music in flute performance from Furman University and a Master of Music in musicology from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Her research interests focus on sacred music of the Reformation and Counter-Reformation, specifically its roles in changing European religious and political landscapes, in the formation of European statehood, and in early modern conceptions of the self. Her Masters thesis combined these interests to examine Orlando di Lasso’s sense of divided selfhood as evidenced by his control of print culture, the diverse styles represented within his musical works, and his position in the propaganda campaign of Counter-Reformation Bavaria. Tara’s additional research interests include music of rebellions and music as an agent of political change more broadly. Tara has presented papers at the annual meeting of the American Musicological Society’s South-Central Chapter meeting (March 2018), the University of Cincinnati’s Musicology and Music Theory Society’s Biennial Student Conference (April 2018), and the Newberry Library’s Graduate Student Conference (January 2019). During her time at UNC, Tara plans to examine the role of music in forming national identities within Renaissance Europe as well as the musical cultures of continental European witches.
Grace Kweon (Ph.D. candidate) studies music’s relationship to political organizing and racial consciousness in the context of broad social movements. Her dissertation project explores the grassroots activism of musicians within the Asian American movement from the late 1960s to the early 1970s. She has a secondary interest in the immigrant networks formed through New York City’s popular music spheres, with a focus on Russian emigres and the Korean diaspora. She holds a BA in Music and Biology from Duke University and a MMus in Music from Northwestern University.
Mike Levine is a doctoral candidate in musicology at the University of North Carolina. His dissertation investigates Cuba’s offline internet (called el paquete semanal) and its relationship to media piracy and music production. He utilizes dual methodologies in ethnography and digital humanities to examine issues of critical race, internet equity and the impact of informal circulations of music inside the underground digital network. He has written for weekly online sound studies publication Sounding Out!, independent arts and literature magazine Hypermedia, the academic journal Cuban Studies and plays Ableton Live and bass guitar in the Brooklyn-based dance-punk rock band Ghost Guns.
Stella Zhizhi Li (5th-year graduate student) works on cross-cultural studies of music receptions and musical modernities, with an emphasis on the reception of “Western” musical genres in East Asia in the late nineteenth to the twentieth century. Her current project focuses on the reception of Western classical music in early modern China. Stella holds a B.A. in Music Theory and Composition from St. Olaf College (Northfield, MN), where she worked with Dr. Louis Epstein on the digital mapping project “The Musical Geography of 1920s Paris.” A past recipient of the AMS Eileen Southern Travel Grant (2016) and the Pruett Summer Research Fellowship (2018), she has worked at the Music Division of the Library of Congress where she assisted with processing the archive Billy Strayhorn Music Manuscripts and Estate Papers.
Sarah Lindmark – popular music, beat-making, music technology
Sarah Lindmark (3rd-year graduate student) holds a master’s degree in Musicology from the University of California Irvine, where her research focused primarily on theories of allusion in popular music and the mainstream hip hop music video. She has worked for the Cabrillo Festival for Contemporary Music under conductor Marin Alsop, reported on the Bang on a Can Summer Music Festival for the New York Public Radio show New Sounds, and has presented her work at conferences such as the German Society for Popular Music Conference in Oldenburg, Germany, the Annual Plenary of the Society for Musicology in Ireland, and at the Popular Music, Popular Movements Conference at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. She has received awards including the Holmes Fellowship, the Leo Freedman Fellowship, the Plantronics Creativity and Innovation Scholarship, and the Barati Cello Scholarship. Her current research interests include timbral studies, beat-making and production techniques, and the history of music technology.
Kari Lindquist – 20th-century American music, wind bands, folk-song, intersections of music and literature
Kari Lindquist (2nd-year graduate student) holds an MA in Humanities from the University of Chicago with an interdisciplinary focus on Music History and English and a double BA in Comparative Literature and Arts & Ideas in the Humanities from the University of Michigan. Her current research explores wind band repertoire of the folk revival through the lens of 20th-century nationalism to question national identity in folk songs and the boundary between high/low art. She also is interested in how early sound recording technology influenced folk song circulation and musical borrowing in American eclecticism. She has presented her work multiple times at the Society for American Music conference and the Literature/Film Association conference. As an advocate of music education for all ages, Kari worked for four years as the Marketing & Community Engagement Coordinator in the DePaul University School of Music and for six years as music teaching artist in Chicago.
Alexander Marsden (Ph.D. candidate) 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 centered 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.
Destiny Meadows (1st-year graduate student) holds a master’s degree in musicology from the University of Miami, where her research centered on music and advocacy at the height of United States HIV/AIDS epidemic and gender and sexuality in jazz communities. She received her bachelor’s degree from Furman University in clarinet performance, where she was active in orchestras and chamber groups throughout the Charleston and Greenville areas. She has presented research at the 2021 International Music, Sound, and Trauma: Interdisciplinary Perspectives conference, the Harvard Graduate Music Forum, and the Southeast Chapter of the American Musicological Society. Her current interests include musical materiality and ephemera of the Eastern Bloc, and the music of new religious movements in the US.
Briana M. Nave – copyright and contract law and popular music
Briana M. Nave (2nd-year graduate student) is from Winston-Salem, North Carolina. She holds a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from Salem College (2016) and a Master of Arts in Music History and Literature from the University of Maryland, College Park (2019). Her master’s thesis examined gender politics in the reception of Courtney Love by mainstream rock journalism in the 1990s. Her current research interests concern the effects of copyright and contract law on the development of popular music in the United States. Her paper, “Death and the Widow: Gender, Agency, and the Haunting of Hole’s Live Through This,” received the Lowens Award for Best Student Paper from the Capital Chapter of the American Musicological Society in spring 2019.
Originally from Princeton, N.J., H. Meg Orita (Ph.D. candidate) 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.
Erin Pratt (Ph.D. candidate) is a graduate of Smith College, where she majored in Music and Classics. Her research focuses primarily on intersections between music and literature in Germany and Austria, particularly in song and prose fiction. Erin’s dissertation project centers on problems of repetition and performance in German strophic song since the eighteenth century. She has a secondary interest in rock singer-songwriters ranging from the Drive-By Truckers to David Bowie. Her master’s thesis, “Walmartland: Music and Corporate Philanthropy in Northwest Arkansas,” combined these disparate interests through critical analyses of two Walmart-sponsored music festivals that respectively featured Jason Isbell and Ludwig van Beethoven.
As a complement to her scholarly work, Erin studies classical vocal performance as a mezzo-soprano. Erin also enjoys baking, watching TV with far-flung friends, and playing far too many video games.
Eduardo Sato is a PhD candidate from São Paulo, Brazil. His dissertation focuses on how Brazilian music was recurrently negotiated in the context of transatlantic travels in the first half of the twentieth century. In this project he intends to contribute to the decolonization of cultural histories, by complexifying the routes in which music crossed borders. He completed his M.A. in Brazilian Studies at the University of São Paulo, after receiving his B.A. in Social Sciences from the same institution. Eduardo has presented his research at conferences in Brazil, Mexico, Japan, the United States, and the United Kingdom. His research has been supported by the UNC Institute for the Study of the Americas, UNC Center for the Study of the American South, the American Musicological Society (M. Elizabeth Bartlet Travel Grant) and FAPESP. He is interested in the political stakes of studying music across borders, the challenges of writing music history in the twentieth-century and in the intersections of archival work, ethnomusicological methods and critical theories. In his free time, he loves to get visit craft breweries and coffee shops. Eduardo is currently one of the co-organizers of the International Student Network at the Society for Ethnomusicology.
Originally from Charlotte, NC, Mary Shannon (1st-year graduate student) holds a double Bachelor of Arts, summa cum laude, in Music and Linguistics from the College of William and Mary. Her current research interests broadly include music of the 19th and 20th centuries, linguistics/discourse analysis, gender and sexuality, and identity construction. Her undergraduate Honors Thesis, “Dame Ethel Smyth and The Prison: Gender, Sexuality, and the ‘Bonds of Self,’” explored the representations of lesbian desire and female identity in Smyth’s last major work. Mary has presented some of her work at the William & Mary Research Symposium (2018, 2020) and the MUSE Undergraduate Research Journal Conference (2021, publication forthcoming).
Originally from Wichita, Kansas, Kelli Smith-Biwer (4th-year graduate student) received her M.A. in musicology from Michigan State University and B.A. in music education from Eastern Michigan University. She leverages her previous work experience in network engineering to bring together topics of gender equity and music technology. Her current research delves into 1950’s home audio advertisements, with a focus on the construction of gendered buying and listening practices in high fidelity culture. She explores the ways in which masculinity was produced and reproduced in hobbyist magazines, while also highlighting the misogynist images and rhetoric that implicitly excluded women from engaging with audio technology. A vital aspect of Kelli’s work hinges on community engagement and activism. She has led gender inclusive electronic music ensembles and is currently teaching a series of workshops in which UNC undergraduates can learn how to use and assemble home listening technologies.
A native of North Carolina, Sierriana Terry (Ph.D. candidate) 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.
Kendall Winter (4th-year graduate student) completed her Masters in Arts in Musicology at Tufts University this past spring. Her current area of particular interest is the music of the American woman’s suffrage movement, ca. mid-19th — early-20th century. The topic effortlessly marries her interests in music by and/or about women, the evolving sociopolitical role of women throughout US history, and music and politics. Archival research lends itself well to this topic for a variety of reasons, not least of which is that there is very little scholarship on the music of the American suffrage movement currently in existence. Through the use of primary sources in her research, she can reanimate the voices, ideas, and opinions of people long since gone for a modern audience. She is humbled by archival research because it frequently yields results she never expected, or, no results at all.