Society for American Music

Awards presented at the 2003 Annual Conference
(click on the award title to view the citation read at the conference)

 

Lowens Book Award (2001) Presented to Richard Crawford, for America's Musical Life: A History

Lowens Article Award (2001) Presented to Guthrie P. Ramsey, Jr., for "Who Hears Here? Black Music, Critical Bias, and the Musicological Skin Trade," Musical Quarterly 85 (2001):1-52.

Lifetime Achievement Award (2003) Presented to H. Wiley Hitchcock

Distinguished Service Award (2003) Presented to Jean Geil

Wiley Housewright Dissertation Award (2001) Presented to Elyse Carter Vosen for "Seventh-Fire Children: Gender, Embodiment, and Musical Performances of Decolonization by Anishinaabe Youth"

Mark Tucker Award for an Outstanding Student Paper given at the conference presented to Jewel A. Smith, for "Educational Philosophy in Nineteenth-Century American Female Seminaries: Music and the 'Ideal of Real Womanhood'"

 

 

Lowens Article Award (2003) Presented to Guthrie P. Ramsey, Jr., for "Who Hears Here? Black Music, Critical Bias, and the Musicological Skin Trade," Musical Quarterly 85 (2001):1-52.
(citation by Deane Roote, ed. Catherine Smith)

As the lead article in the Spring, 2001 issue of Musical Quarterly, Guy Ramsey's probing essay is a pivotal statement concerning "the relationship of scholars to the work they do." This essay establishes Ramsey as one of our leading thinkers and writers on the nature of Black music research in particular, and American music research more generally. He convincingly establishes the sources of his ideas in related fields of inquiry, including Black literary theory, cultural studies and European cultural theory, anthropology, feminist studies, the Black arts movement, and American studies, applying them expertly to musicology and music theory, and not neglecting music analysis. The issues he raises touch on the core of our identities as people-our individual social identities of generation, gender, geographical region, class, cultural knowledge and preferences, and most evidently race-and how these affect us as members of society and as scholars.

Ramsey's two-part agenda for his essay is first, to encourage "more black scholars [to enter] the academic music fields generally and black music research specifically," noting that "true diversity [in the profession] will mean a change in what counts as valuable knowledge in our professional discourses." Second, he opens up discussion on an admittedly "more contentious topic: the role of white scholars in the new black music criticism." He argues for creating more publications "that, while acknowledging white privilege, move into theorizing other areas of white lived experience that will shed light on the complex reception histories of black music." Guy Ramsey's essay is a profound and challenging contribution, and therefore deserving of not only the widest possible reading, but also the highest recognition from theSociety through its Irving Lowens Prize.



Lowens Book Award (2003) presented to Richard Crawford, for America's Musical Life: A History

The Irving Lowens Book Awards Committee, after examining the wide range of books on American music published in the year 2001, is unanimous in recommending that this year's award should go to Richard A. Crawford, for his landmark opus, America's Musical Life: A History, published by W. W. Norton & Company.

Crawford's work is a remarkable achievement that demonstrates his mastery of almost every aspect of American music. This largely chronological overview of some five hundred years is rich in historical, cultural, and musical context. Writing in a vivid style that is both elegant and straightforward, Crawford has constructed a meaningful and cogent narrative of America's musical history.

His clear distinction between "performers' music," such as a song interpreted by thousands of different people in their own way, and "composers' music" that is generally performed according to instructions in the composer's score, elegantly cuts across the standard defining, and limiting, genres of "folk," "popular," and "classical." This is a sophisticated interpretation, and one that also offers a way to bridge the "gap" that emerged between "classical" and "popular" in the last half of the twentieth century. Rather than emphasizing such disjunctions and incongruities, he recognizes coherence throughout American musical history, discerned as well through his insights into the relationships between music and religion, politics, and social movements. By this means he reintegrates African American music into the fabric of the whole.

Richard Crawford has written an engaging and nuanced survey of American music that will set the standard for generations of readers.


Distinguished Service Award (2003) Presented to Jean Geil
(citation by Gillian Anderson, ed. Anne Dhu McLucas)

We honor today Jean Geil, who has the distinction of holding the record for serving the most number of years as secretary of the Society for American Music (1975-1983). Surely, anyone who has written that many minutes, particularly in the wild, early days of the Sonneck Society, deserves the Distinguished Service Citation, but Jean also has served as a member at large on the Board of Directors and on many committees in the more staid recent years as well. She was Lowens award Chair in 1985, and on the committee again in '92, Chair of Membership from 1988-92, RILM representative from 1993-97, and served in countless other roles as a hard-working member: nominating, exhibits, bibliography, 10th anniversary-you name it and Jean has done it!

Jean has a moderate, soft speaking voice, well adapted to the library reading room where she served for so many years, but her reserved manner hides a radical intellect and a fiendish sense of humor. There is not a radical or new idea adopted by the Society that did not originate or at some point incubate in her feverish mind. Even if credit assuredly would be given to someone else, one could be sure that Jean was behind much that was new. In the broader arena of American music her soprano voice and her perfect pitch have supported the work of numerous American composers and the musical life in the community in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois as well as all live singing events at SAM meetings. SO today we honor Jean Geil with the Society for American Music's Distinguished Service Citation: for her elected service to the Society, for forty years of American music making, and for her discrete rabble-rousing which has contributed to the continued vitality of this Society.


Lifetime Achievement Award (2003) Presented to H. Wiley Hitchcock
(citation by Rich Crawford)

Today marks the first time the Society for American Music has conferred its Lifetime Achievement Award on a Chevalier of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. We are not talking here about a pretender, like the fake king and the bogus duke in Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn, but a true Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters, so declared by the government of France to honor individuals who do cultural work of rare distinction. While H. Wiley Hitchcock would not be one to parade such a title, his earning of it offers members of this society a chance to reflect on a fruitful, highly productive, truly cosmopolitan career.

Born in Detroit, Michigan, Wiley attended Dartmouth College and served in the U.S. military during World War II. The postwar years found him studying music in Paris with Nadia Boulanger and musicology in Ann Arbor at the University of Michigan. By 1954, when he finished his Ph.D. with a dissertation on the sacred music of Marc-Antoine Charpentier, he was already a full-time Michigan faculty member. The teaching career he launched there in 1950 took him in 1961 to Hunter College, and a decade later to Brooklyn College of the City University of New York, from which he retired in 1993 as a CUNY Distinguished Professor. Having earned his spurs as a scholar of baroque music, he has continued working in that field, with important publications on the music of Charpentier and Caccini. Through more than four decades in the classroom, he served several generations of students as a polished, demanding, musically insightful teacher of subjects ranging from the middle ages to the Ann Arbor ONCE Festivals, and beyond.

Teachers earn their keep by fostering the work of others, and H. Wiley Hitchcock's record as a mentor of graduate students is especially distinguished. Beyond the seminar room, and Hitchcock's writing of letters of recommendation, which by now must have passed a thousand, if our profession were to create the title of Chevalier of American Music Infrastructure, Wiley would win it hands down. A list of his achievements on the institutional front would have to start with his founding and leadership of the Institute for Studies in American Music at Brooklyn College (1971-93), and his editorship of half-a-dozen important projects: (1) The New Grove Dictionary of American Music (with Stanley Sadie, published in 1986),(2) the Prentice Hall History of Music Series (beginning in 1965), (3) A-R Editions' Recent Researches in American Music series (beginning in 1976), (4) Da Capo Press's Earlier American Music series (beginning in 1972), (5) the ISAM monograph series (beginning in 1976), and (6) the ISAM Newsletter (1971). He served as president of the Music Library Association (1966-67), the Charles Ives Society (1973-92) and the American Musicological Society (1990-92), and he organized festival-conferences on Charles Ives (with Vivian Perlis in 1974) and the centennial of the phonograph (with Rita Mead in 1977). He also served on the editorial boards of New World Records, founded in 1975 by the Rockefeller Foundation, and of Music of the United States of America, or MUSA (1982-2000). As this list will suggest, the infrastructure that began to take shape around 1970 did so by extending the purview of earlier musicological organizations, practices, and patronage to include America's music making. The foremost architect of that effort, one could argue, was H. Wiley Hitchcock, whose cosmopolitan interests and scholarly example brought credibility to a field largely ignored in humanistic circles before that time.

For all his institutional contributions, Hitchcock's writings--his performances as scholar and critic, we might say--crown the legacy that today's award celebrates. Whether in books, editions, articles, liner notes, program notes, or critical commentary (especially on new music), these writings reflect a consciousness fully engaged with music itself. To read Hitchcock on music is to enter into the experience of a responsive, historically informed music lover who has mastered the craft of writing. His textbook Music in the United States: A Historical Introduction, written for the Prentice-Hall series, and now in its fourth edition, has introduced many readers to the subject since its first publication in 1969. The book's generous use of musical examples, and vivid accounts of how pieces sound, make the image of Hitchcock at work ring true when, in the preface, he salutes the "cheerful sufferance" of his wife Janet for enduring many years "of my humming, whistling, singing, playing through, and listening to three and a half centuries of American music."

As Wiley's eightieth birthday approaches, a long-term enterprise of his is soon to appear in print: a critical edition of 129 songs by Charles Ives. With hints of fresh, ambitious projects in the wind, and in recognition of a life lived in intimate liaison with music-European music as well as American--the Society for American Music is pleased to present its Lifetime Achievement Award for 2003 to H. Wiley Hitchcock.

Mark Tucker Award for an Outstanding Student Paper given at the conference presented to Jewel A. Smith for "Educational Philosophy in Nineteenth-Century American Female Seminaries: Music and the 'Ideal of Real Womanhood'"

The Mark Tucker Award Committee (Nym Cooke, chair, David Nichols, and Judith Tick) is charged with honoring the Best Student Paper presented at the annual SAM conference from the pool of submissions received prior to the Conference itself. This year the Committee was especially proud to honor Jewel A. Smith for her paper, "Educational Philosophy in Nineteenth-Century American Female Seminaries: Music and the "Ideal of Real Womanhood." Exploring musical training at private schools for young women, Smith focused in particular on the Moravian Female Seminary at Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and she linked her archival research to historical changes in the status of women, challenging, in particular, the conventional gender tropes of "true womanhood" that have tended to dominate 19th-century American women's history. The Committee particularly praised the presentation for its clarity and original research.