Minutes of the 2019 Business Meeting in NOLA

Volume XLV, No. 2 (Spring 2019) 


NOLA 2019

Business Meeting Minutes

Awards and Fellowships

Neville Citation

From the President

Ethics Committee Report

Copland's "Simple Gifts"

Keller Memorial Fund

Upcoming JSAM Contents

Book Reviews

Bulletin Board

About the Bulletin

Leta Miller


All conference photos courtesy of Michael Broyles. 

As the culmination of an exciting conference held in New Orleans’s famed French Quarter, the 2019 business meeting of the Society revealed the increasingly vibrant and expanding activities of the Society for American Music.

President Sandra Graham opened the meeting by thanking our cohosts: The Historic New Orleans Collection and the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation, as well as our sponsors: the New Orleans Jazz Museum and Louisiana State University School of Music. Headlining new developments this year, Graham welcomed our new Executive Director Megan MacDonald and thanked retiring ED Mariana Whitmer for facilitating a smooth transition. The ED hiring committee, consisting of Alan Lott, Kay Norton, and Neil Lerner, devoted many hours of hard work to the task, and we are most pleased by Megan’s quick mastery of her new responsibilities.

As of February 2019, SAM had 940 paid members. Of these, 160 serve as volunteers (not counting the JSAM editorial board), representing 18–19 percent of the membership. Graham noted that this level of participation is extremely high for a non-profit organization; 10 percent is the usual norm.

Requirement for submitting abstracts for annual meeting presentations
For the past several years, SAM has followed a policy that those submitting abstracts for papers to be presented at the annual meeting must be members of the Society when they apply. This policy has met with some objections, particularly from those whose abstracts were subsequently rejected by the Program Committee. Therefore, this year the SAM board has voted to try a new approach: There will be a $25 non-refundable application fee for non-SAM members who submit abstracts. If the paper is accepted, the individual will have to join SAM and the $25 will be applied to the membership. This new policy is being implemented on a one-year trial basis; the board will reassess it next year based in part on impact on the Society’s finances.

Local Arrangements Committee Co-Chair Brett Boutwell and incoming Executive Director Megan MacDonald

New Website
In other news, there is a new website and Graham urged all members to explore its expanded features. Memberships will now expire on a rolling calendar basis and the site will send renewal reminders. 

New Code of Ethics
Graham noted that the board has adopted a Code of Ethics and urged members to be particularly conscious of hierarchies: junior/senior scholars, gender identity, power differentials, etc. Respect and cordiality are imperative and have been a principle of the Society that we are strongly committed to maintaining. Her remarks prompted an outburst of applause.

In memoriam
We remembered four colleagues who passed away in 2018: William Crister (1928–2018), band conductor, composer; Randy Weston (1926–2018), our 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award winner; Olly Wilson (1937–2018), renowned composer and Honorary Member; and Kate Van Winkle Keller (1937–2018), SAM’s first Executive Director, winner of the 1995 Distinguished Service Citation and the 2011 Lifetime Achievement Award.

Bylaws amendment
An amendment to the Bylaws, clarifying and making small changes to the categories of membership, had been presented to the membership previously. Graham summarized it and those present voted. The amendment passed: 157 yes, 4 abstentions.

Honorary Member
Our Honorary Member for this year, Art Neville, was not able to be with us as he is very ill. Graham read a citation to him, which appears elsewhere in this issue of the Bulletin, and which reads in part: “The Society for American Music presents Honorary Membership to Art ‘Poppa Funk’ Neville, for changing the sound of funk, soul, and Mardi Gras Indian music in New Orleans and around the world, through your work with the Meters, the Neville Brothers, and the Funky Meters. You have left a lasting musical legacy.”

Maribeth Clark presented the treasurer’s report, a summary of which was distributed to the attendees. MacDonald’s hiring as ED will add expenses to SAM’s budget. In addition, there was a large deficit from the Kansas City meeting and the volatility of the stock market created additional financial stress. Nevertheless, SAM is healthy. Clark’s report was followed by a presentation by Mark Clague, head of the Development Committee, who urged members to name SAM as a beneficiary in bequests and to sign up as sustaining members of the organization. Sustainers commit to donating a fixed amount on a monthly basis to support SAM’s day-to-day funding. The committee’s goal was to register a hundred sustainers; the conference added seventy toward that number. If you would like to become a Sustainer, you can donate via .

Publications of the Society
JSAM editor Loren Kajikawa reported that since last year there have been 54 submissions to the journal, of which 8 were accepted, 16 rejected, and 13 returned to the authors for “revise and resubmit”; 17 submissions are still under review. David Garcia is moving into the position of Associate Editor and will be shadowing Loren during the coming year before transitioning to Editor. Kajikawa also noted that Cambridge University Press has instituted a Cambridge Core Share feature that allows any journal subscriber (which includes all dues-paying members of SAM) to create a read-only sharable link from any JSAM article or review.

The Bulletin has been redesigned this year to harmonize with SAM’s new logo. A new editorial team will take over in the fall, consisting of Ryan Ebright, editor; Katie Hollenback, book review editor; Alfredo Colman, media review editor; and Jessica Getman, design and layout editor. SAM members are urged to submit items of interest to the Bulletin through the new website. Follow the “About the Bulletin” link.   

Tubbs and Hill report on the Student Forum

Other reports
Tim Brooks reported on our success in making our voices heard in regard to the new copyright overhaul passed by Congress last year. A coalition of music groups was able to obtain some benefits for scholars, performers, and researchers, as reported in the 2019 SAM Winter Bulletin. Among the headlines Brooks cited were acquisition of public domain status for recordings (starting pre-1923) and nonprofit use of out-of-print recordings.

Amanda Sewell reported on the activities of the Forum for Early Career Professionals, which will host a panel on book publication at the 2020 conference; and Kori Hill and Andrew Tubbs reported on the Student Forum, whose panel on possible career paths was very productive.

SAM Conferences
Graham recognized the hard work of the NOLA program committee, chaired by Greg Reish, who noted that there were 453 attendees at the conference, of whom 115 were students and 108 were first-timers.

Marian Wilson Kimber will chair the Program Committee for the 2020 conference, which will take place in Minneapolis on March 25–29. Choral director Philip Brunelle will be SAM’s Honorary Member. Kimber reminded attendees of the June 1 deadline for submission of abstracts.

Andy Flory is heading the 2020 Local Arrangements Committee, which has already raised funds and begun careful preparation.The 2021 conference will take place in Tacoma, Washington. SAM has invitations from Tucson and Miami for 2022 and 2023, but these locales are tentative and no commitments have yet been made.

Service to the Society recognitions
Graham presented a certificate of appreciation to Karen Alquist, JSAM editor 2015–17, who had not been in attendance last year. She then recognized the outgoing JSAM editorial board members, the outgoing Bulletin team, and the outgoing chairs of twenty-five (!) SAM committees. She also announced the formation of a new website committee, whose function will be to keep the website up to date. 

Graham recognized newly elected members of the board: Sarah Gerk and Horace Maxile, members-at-large, continuing Treasurer Maribeth Clark, and new President Tammy Kernodle.

Honors and Awards
The celebratory part of the meeting culminated in the announcement of the winners of SAM’s numerous fellowships and prizes. These honorees are recognized individually elsewhere in the present Bulletin. Congratulations to all of them! Numerous speakers noted the difficulty of making selections, as the pool of applicants was so strong.

George Boziwick presented outgoing Executive Director Mariana Whitmer with the Distinguished Service Citation, after which Graham paid tribute to Whitmer’s eighteen years of work for the Society. Then Boziwick read tributes to Lifetime Achievement Award winners Raoul Camus and John Graziano.

The meeting ended with Graham reading a long citation to Whitmer, who has labored so tirelessly and selflessly for the Society. Graham presented Whitmer with a tee-shirt embroidered with the new SAM logo and a book of accolades and warm wishes written by grateful members of the organization. The attendees greeted this well-deserved tribute with a standing ovation.

Graham concluded by reading extended biographies of the two Lifetime Achievement Award winners: Raoul Camus and John Graziano.

There being no new business, Graham turned over the meeting to the new president Tammy Kernodle who moved for adjournment.

See everyone next year in Minneapolis!

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Awards and Fellowships


The Sight and Sound Subvention Committee is pleased to award a subvention of $750 to Andrew Granade and David Thurmaier for “Hearing the Pulitzers” project, a new podcast devoted to charting the stories behind the winners of the Pulitzer Prize in music, from William Schuman’s 1943 Secular Cantata No. 2: A Free Song to 2018’s DAMN by Kendrick Lamar. Hosted by Granade and Thurmaier, each 30-minute podcast will examine one prize-winning piece’s cultural and compositional contexts, analyze its musical elements, and chart its post-Pulitzer life. The committee is excited to offer SAM’s support to this public musicology project, which provides a unique view of American music history and a promising opportunity to reach a broad audience through the podcast medium.

Honorable mention goes to Sarah Gerk for the documentary “In the Key of Green: Amy Beach and Her Music.” This documentary will be an important pedagogical tool that fills in critical details about Amy Beach’s contributions to nineteenth-century American music.

The H. Earle Johnson Subvention Committee gave four awards. Amy Lynn Wlodarski’s George Rochberg, American Composer: Personal Trauma and Artistic Creativity (University of Rochester Press) offers a compelling exploration of the life and works of a figure who was key to the transformation of composition in American academe during the sixties and seventies. Rochberg has received comparatively little attention from scholars, and Wlodarski’s monograph, notable for its detailed archival and analytical work, will undoubtedly serve as a catalyst for rethinking the significance of the composer for American musical life, both inside and outside the academy. Eminently readable, this book goes beyond the usual prerogatives of biography with its attention to cultural context, offering a sophisticated treatment of Jewish identity and engaging critical new interdisciplinary fields, trauma studies in particular. The Earle Johnson Subvention Committee is delighted to recommend a subvention amount of $1000 to support this important book.

Susanne Robinson’s Peggy Glanville-Hicks: A Life (University of Illinois Press) is a comprehensive biography of a critic-composer who was integral to the network of mid-twentieth-century American modernists. What makes this book especially significant is the spotlight it draws on the gender politics of the modernist milieu, which hamstringed the career of a woman whose talents as a composer were matched by her facility as an incisive critic. Impeccably researched and written in an effervescent style, Robinson’s book will be an important resource for scholars and general readers. The Earle Johnson Subvention Committee is delighted to recommend a subvention amount of $1000 for the support of this book.

Ryan Bunch’s Oz and the Musical: Performing the American Fairy Tale is an intriguing study on the role and impact of L. Frank Baum’s famous fairy tale The Wizard of Oz, which has been adapted for both the stage and the screen. Bunch explores these adaptations focusing not just on its popular acclaim, but on its reflection and expression of American identity for national and international audiences. Enjoyable and entertaining, this book offers new readings on an important and beloved example of American musical theater that will appeal to a wide audience. The Earle Johnson Subvention Committee is delighted to recommend a subvention amount of $1000 for the support of this book.

“US cultural diplomacy has always been an exercise in harnessing the power of colliding worlds,” writes Mark Katz, who has co-directed the US State Department’s “Next Level” hip-hop diplomacy program since 2013. “Collisions can be heedless, violent, and destructive. They can also be purposeful and productive, capturing the energy of the two forces that come together, like striking flints or smashing atoms. Hip-hop diplomacy is no less a collision than any other—between art and diplomacy; between hip-hop and the state; among cultures, traditions, and values; between the United States and the rest of the world.” In Build: The Power of Hip-hop in a Divided World (Oxford University Press), Katz offers a nuanced and critical perspective on US cultural diplomacy in general and Next Level in particular. Having traveled the world with Next Level, overseeing operations and developing relationships and with the local artists who are his collaborators, Katz is uniquely positioned to tell us a gripping story, which he does in lucid and engaging prose that draws extensively on his interviews and participant-observation. But he also delves deeper, building his narrative around what he describes as “an uneasy question” complicated by US foreign policy, international relations, and politics: “is Next Level part of the solution, part of the problem, or both?” We are confident that Build will address this question in all its complexity, offering an invaluable contribution to scholarship on American music and cultural diplomacy while also being impossible to put down. The committee recommends that Build receive a $2000 subvention, which will help make the book accessible to as wide a range of readers as possible.


Matthew Joseph has been awarded an Adrienne Fried Block Fellowship for his project “Syncopating Segregation: Musical Cross-Pollination in Post-World War II New York City.” This project examines minority agency in confronting segregation. By conducting and comparing oral histories, and engaging in archival research at multiple sites, Joseph will examine how black, Latino, and gay cultural mediators transgressed solidifying racial boundaries through music and dance to help facilitate important cross-cultural exchange. 

Andre Fludd has been awarded a Block Fellowship for his project “Indian Classical Music in New York City: The Birth of an Independent Ecosystem.” In the role of scholar-performer, Fludd argues for the broadening of American Music studies by inclusion of Indian diaspora studies and music and mobility in America. This promises to be a timely and important study of the rich history of shuddh North and South Indian classical music in the changing social context of the New York metropolitan area from 1965 to the present.

Amanda Sewell, recipient of the Charosh and Tick Fellowships

The winner of the 2019 Paul Charosh Independent Scholar Fellowship is Amanda Sewell for her biography of American composer and electronic musician Wendy Carlos, a book project currently under contract with Oxford University Press, which explores Carlos’s life and music through published and unpublished interviews with Carlos and those who worked closely with her. In this first full-length biography of Carlos, Sewell provides new insights into this important American composer and musician and explores a central theme in Carlos’s story: a desire for control over how her music sounded, how her music was received, and how she was perceived and represented in the media. 

The winner of the 2018 Edward T. Cone Fellowship is Kirsten Westerman for her dissertation on musical life in Boston at the turn of the century. Westerman’s research seeks to upend the received history and historiography of this vital center of musical activity by examining broader networks of organizations and individuals, including the work of orchestral clubs, schools of music, and patrons including Isabella Stewart Gardner. 

The Graziano Fellowship is awarded to Brian Christopher Thomson for his project “Empire Minstrels: James Unsworth Jr. (1835–1875), Immigration, Politics, and Transatlantic Culture.” Thompson’s research will shed light on the history of nineteenth-century minstrelsy on both sides of the Atlantic. His studies of the career of James Unsworth, who was born in Britain, raised in Canada, and became famous for his banjo solos and the singing of Irish songs, will explore the reception of minstrel shows in both the United States and the United Kingdom. An analysis of those parts of Unsworth’s repertoire that addressed the political and social concerns of his audiences will deliver insight into the social structure and the mindset of the recipients of his shows. Meanwhile, the examination of his performance style will shed light on the broad gamut of theatrical artistry exposed by this extraordinary singer.

Maria Ryan received the Margery Lowens Dissertation Research Fellowship for her project “Hearing Power, Sounding Freedom: Black Practices of Listening and Music-Making in the Nineteenth-Century British Colonial Caribbean,” being completed at the University of Pennsylvania. Ryan’s project is a powerful reversing of the lens of colonization, which allows her to examine nineteenth-century experiences of listening and musicking in the Caribbean from the perspectives of those colonized or enslaved by the British. Her research is centered around early nineteenth-century practices in several Caribbean communities, and involves the reception, performance, and educational practices of European repertoires.

Velia Ivanova received the Lowens Fellowship for her project “The Musical Heritage of Incarceration: The Dissemination and Management of the Lomax Collection Prison Songs (1933–2018),” to be completed at Columbia University. Ivanova’s dissertation will reveal critical new insights about race, incarceration, and cultural institutions by examining the choices made by record labels, book publishers, and organizations (such as the Library of Congress) in disseminating and managing the Lomaxes’ prison recordings. Ivanova’s project will reveal critical new insights about race, incarceration, and cultural institutions by asking a new question of the often-studied folksong recordings of John and Alan Lomax: how does the management of these collections illustrate the role of the prison in American music history?

The Judith McCulloh Fellowship has been awarded to Sheryl Kaskowitz for her project “Government Song Women: Sidney Robertson, Margaret Valiant, and the New Deal’s Romance with American Folk Music.” This project focuses on the musical work of women employed by the Special Skills Division of the New Deal-era Resettlement Administration and makes use of extensive archival research to trace the myriad ways in which “women . . . did work behind the scenes for which they never received the credit they deserved.” The committee notes that Kaskowitz’s project has the potential to provide much-needed corrections to prevailing narratives around both vernacular and art music traditions within the United States, as well as those relating to progressive music education. 

Sophia Enriquez has been awarded an Ann Dhu McLucas Fellowship for her project, “Mexilachian Music Sin Fronteras: The Lua Project and Hybridity in Central Appalachia.” This project is an examination of the performers and audiences of Appalachian music, a population that is generally considered fairly homogeneous. Enriquez posits that Latinx performers represent an important and growing subset of the Appalachian population; as such her work is original, timely, and fascinating, for it complicates our understanding of “white-coded” spaces and music in the United States. She succinctly articulates the importance of her project (for herself, the communities she is working with, and—by extrapolation—for peoples in the United States and Americas more broadly). As a performer/scholar, Enriquez is already a participant in Mexilachian music. 

Jessica Margarita Gutierrez Masini has been awarded a McLucas Fellowship for her project “Understanding Native American Indigeneity through Danza in Southwest Powwows: A Decolonized Approach.” This project, an examination of the intersections between Mexican/Latinx styles (Danza) and Native American (powwow) cultures, is a welcome expansion of available research on the politics of Danza Azteca performance. Masini, who is a performer/scholar and already part of the powwow community, clearly describes the wide variety of questions that she will attempt to answer. She provides a sophisticated framework and bibliography for her project, and has a clear research plan. This project is also multi-sited, which suggests that her conclusions have the potential to be widely applicable.

The Wayne Shirley Fellowship has been awarded to Jamie Blake for her project “Architects of Russian America: Transnational Musical Networks Post 1917.” Blake aims to provide a new dimension to understanding the impact of Russian concert artists in the early twentieth century, by viewing them within deeply connected émigré networks that transcend previous scholarly boundaries. This project focuses on two emigrant virtuosi, Sergei Rachmaninoff and Jascha Heifetz, and emphasizes the network involved in the planning and implementation of their concert tours, including the selection of collaborative artists and repertoire. The different backgrounds of the two artists—Rachmaninoff came from Russian aristocracy and Heifetz from a Jewish-Lithuanian family—as well as their respective training—Rachmaninoff was a composer-pianist in the Romantic tradition, while Heifetz was strictly a twentieth-century virtuoso—further allows Blake to consider how they performed Russianness and how that affected American perceptions of it. Blake’s work lies at the intersection of cultural, identity, and musical issues, and will provide new insights for both émigré studies and musical developments of the 1920s and 30s.

The winner of the Eileen Southern Fellowship is Samantha Ege for her project, “Composing the Black Chicago Renaissance.” Ege’s project seeks to “resituate the [Florence] Price narrative in the context of this dynamic cultural movement and recognize the diverse and crucial roles played by African-American women therein.” Noting a “dearth” of literature that connects Price to the Renaissance and the larger narrative of African American women in classical music, Ege plans to use a variety of archival resources (Center for Black Music Research, Newberry Library, and the Rosenthal Archives [Chicago Symphony Center]) to unearth the history of musical women who composed the Chicago Renaissance. Price’s work is not unknown, but placing her and her work more fully in the context of the places and relationships, especially the significant community of women, that surrounded and facilitated her work, makes an important contribution to our understanding and appraisal of her music and of the importance of the Chicago Renaissance. Ege’s focus appears to be a part of a strong trajectory of work on Price, as the contextual explorations in this project (engaging geographical, social, and musical considerations) will likely illuminate connections to and contributions of other notable African American women musicians/composers such as Margaret Bonds and Irene Britton Smith. Ege currently resides in Singapore and the Fellowship will provide funds for travel to Chicago so that she can further mine the aforementioned archives in greater depth. The proposal is well-organized, feasible within the time period, and specific and clear in its aims and outcomes. We found this project ambitious, manageable, and distinctive.

Thomson Fellowship winters Jake Johnson and Ryan Ebright with President Graham and Mary Simonson

Two scholars received the Virgil Thomson Fellowship. Ryan Ebright’s book project, Making American Opera after “Einstein” promises to take a new look at the creation of American operatic works after the seminal Einstein on the Beach of 1976. Ebright argues that over the last four decades, American opera has transformed substantially. Looking at examples by Reich, Adams, Mazzoli and Davis, the author charts how neoliberal trends, modes of production, and aesthetics have altered how we see “American” and how these diverse examples help the reader to recontextualize the nation’s ideas around the very concept of opera.

Jake Johnson’s book project, Lying in the Middle: Musicals and the Heart of America (under contract with University of Illinois Press) is a promising study of how musical theatre is received, consumed, and disseminated outside of Broadway. Most studies of musical theatre works have focused, perhaps appropriately, on New York City audiences, many of whom are tourists. Johnson’s work investigates how venues as diverse as theme parks, film and television, cruise ships and national tours are also sites of exploration and experience of musical theatre works. In an introduction and six chapters, this book will re-place Broadway musicals in shaping various aspects of American culture.

This year’s Judith Tick Fellowship, which is given to support scholarly research leading to publications on musical topics involving women’s, gender, and sexuality studies, is awarded to Amanda J. Sewell, for her ongoing work on the first biography of Wendy Carlos (b. 1939), a major figure in American music whose 1968 album Switched-On Bach brought the Moog synthesizer into public consciousness. Sewell’s book is under contract with Oxford University Press, and she will use the award to travel to Cornell University to examine the recently processed papers of Robert Moog, who worked closely with Carlos in developing the instrument. Carlos’s biography raises complex questions about gender (she transitioned to female after 1968), and demonstrates a key historical moment when electronic and experimental music intersected with popular culture in new and influential ways. 

Three Walser-McClary Fellowship for minority doctoral students were awarded for 2019–2020, two on an honorary basis. The recipient of the 2019–2020 Fellowship is Sunaina Kale, a fifth-year doctoral candidate at UC Santa Barbara. Her dissertation, “‘Made in the Islands’: Performing Indigeneity in Hawaiian Reggae” focuses on music and Hawaiian identity, employing an ethnographic perspective closely informed by issues of politics and social justice. Productively challenging the black-white binary as well as various conceptions of “Americanness,” her project keenly interrogates the idea of indigeneity and examines how Hawaiian reggae produces indigeneity in distinction from localness. Two awards were given on an honorary basis. Allie Martin, a fourth-year doctoral student in the Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology at Indiana University, works on issues of sound, power, and race in American life. Her dissertation, titled “Sonic Intersections: Listening to Gentrification in Washington, DC,” presents an especially intriguing mix of methodologies that interweave conventional ethnography, soundscape recording, and archival work. The project spotlights her commitment to community and demonstrates the impact of public musicology. Felipe Ledesma-Núñez, a fourth-year doctoral student the Department of Music at Harvard University, is writing a groundbreaking dissertation, “Sound and Singing/Dancing in the Rural Colonial Andes, 1560-1700: Demons, Sorceries, Idolatries.” His research explores the role of voice and sound between Spaniard colonizers and the indigenous population, and his work brings together archival research, sound studies, visual culture, and discourse analysis with great sophistication. SAM is very grateful to Rob Walser and Susan McClary for their generosity in establishing this fellowship.


The winner of the 2019 Cambridge University Press Award is Vanessa Blais-Tremblay for the paper “When You Are Accepted, You Blossom: Toward Care Ethics in Jazz Historiography.” Blais-Tremblay’s paper enthralled the committee with her rich, elegant, and nuanced reassessment of the way jazz women “musicked” in early twentieth-century Montreal, encouraging an approach that
emphasizes care-work and relatedness over competitiveness.

The winner of the Mark Tucker Award for a student who has written an outstanding paper for delivery at the annual conference is Brian Miller for his paper “Jazz, but with Robots: Style and Aesthetics in Human-Computer Improvisation.” In its interrogation of computer-generated jazz improvisation, Miller’s paper brings to light the deeply human qualities of real-time music-making. A comparative analysis between robot jazz and George Lewis’s Voyager leaves the reader questioning what constitutes music and wondering if the process of improvisation is all that special after all. Moreover, Miller’s examination of the creation of music “through algorithm” relates not only to current issues of data collection but to cultural stereotypes about jazz and to the reification of sociocultural beliefs and biases. Miller’s paper is provocative, well-written, and well-researched, encouraging further studies in the area of computer-generated music as well as improvisation. 

The H. Wiley Housewright Dissertation Award committee is pleased to recognize Kirsten Carithers’s dissertation “The Work of Indeterminacy: Interpretive Labor in Experimental Music” as one of exceptional depth, clarity, and significance to the field of American music. Completed in 2017 at Northwestern University, this study considers what she calls the “microeconomies” of mid-twentieth-century indeterminate music: the relationships among composers, performers, and audiences. Her main chapters each examine a different model of interpretive labor: the “scientist” approach to experimentalism of Petr Kotik; the “executive” model employed by Stockhausen and his “translators;” Cardew’s subversive “hacker” model and finally the “gamer” model of ludic experimentalism. Engaging closely with specific performances and archival sources, particularly those of Rockefeller-funded composers and postgraduates working in Buffalo, NY, the author succeeds in “theoriz[ing] the work of musical performance,” which, she rightly notes, is an under-examined but crucial component of experimental music. Carithers embraces the transatlantic aspects of the repertoire. With writing both clear and sophisticated, she achieves her stated aims to provide “a corrective to composer-centric narratives,” to “foreground the perspectives of actual working musicians,” and to suggest applications to twenty-first-century music practices. One committee member commented that the work “helped me think differently about music in powerful ways,” while another wrote, “The concept of interpretive labor, and Carithers’s approach to it, has potential to impact the field broadly well beyond the specific subject matter in her dissertation.” The committee recommends this work highly to all members of the society.

Lowens Book Award Winner Nancy Yunhwa Rao, Graham, Daniel Goldmark

The winner of the 2018 Irving Lowens Article Award is Christopher Wells for the article, “‘A Dreadful Bit of Silliness’: Feminine Frivolity and Ella Fitzgerald’s Early Critical Reception,” published/presented in Women and Music, an essay that lays bare the interconnections among anti-capitalism, authenticity, masculinity, and blackness for the white critics who contributed to the early formation of the jazz canon. With its comprehensive survey of the relevant critical literature on gender, jazz, and popular music, and its impressive mobilization of countless primary sources, the article provides synthetic, thoughtful and substantial arguments to a challenging subject.

The winner of the 2018 Irving Lowens Memorial Book Award is Nancy Yunhwa Rao for her book Chinatown Opera Theater in North America, published by the University of Illinois Press. This book, which engages with issues of racial exclusion, Asian cultural stereotypes, female impersonation and yellowface traditions in opera in a manner both timely and compelling, represents the author’s long-term commitment to conducting research on the topic of Chinese-American music, reminding us that national borders were ever-porous and evolving in the history of music in performance, and highlighting patterns of immigration that have informed the deeply transnational aspects of American culture. The author takes on an under-represented topic and tells a colorful story about a genre that many have heard about but few can claim to know well until now, and certainly not in the context of the experiences of those who created it and experienced it.

Outgoing Executive Director and Distinguished Service Citation Awardee Mariana Whitmer

Distinguished Service Citation

The Committee unanimously recommended that Mariana Whitmer receive the 2019 Distinguished Service Citation. This recommendation was approved by the Board.

Mariana Whitmer has served as Executive Director of the Society for American Music for eighteen years at a SMALL fraction of the compensation of what she has been worth to the Society; she has exhibited constant loyalty and dedication to our members and to the mission of SAM, always putting the welfare of the membership first; she has been a creative and collaborative administrator, taking SAM to increasingly higher levels of professionalism. Her accomplishments include bringing its books into the twenty-first century, managing nearly twenty conferences, organizing and overseeing the daily functions of the organization, writing and managing grants, leading projects and promoting SAM to outside agencies and instructors, working with volunteers and student workers, and much, much more. As a teacher and mentor, she has helped countless scholars both new and experienced in teaching American music. She has budgeted and helped raise necessary funds and been an advocate for a healthy and active society that is strong and diverse in its membership. No one has given more to the Society for American Music than Mariana, and the society is pleased to award its Distinguished Service Citation to Mariana Whitmer. 

Lifetime Achievement Awards

Two members were recognized with Lifetime Achievement Awards. Raoul F. Camus has been a vocal and active proponent of American music throughout his long career. One of the founding members of the Sonneck Society for American Music in 1975 (now the Society for American Music), he hosted the first independent meeting of that organization in 1976, and served as the Society’s second President from 1981–85. He received the Society’s Distinguished Service Award in 1994. His service to military music history, its performance and publication has been exemplary. Joining the 42nd Infantry (Rainbow) Division Band of the New York National Guard in 1945, Raoul was commissioned as an army reserve bandmaster in 1957, a position from which he retired in 1974. He joined the faculty at Queensborough Community College in 1969, retiring as emeritus in 1995. 

Much of Camus’s research has focused on the American wind-band tradition. His book, Military Music of the American Revolution, is the primary source on military music of that period. He created the Early American Wind and Ceremonial Music section of the National Tune Index, which is now part of the Early American Secular Music and Its European Sources Index. Raoul has contributed major articles on bands and military music and served as area editor for band music for the second edition of The New Grove Dictionary of American Music and its revision.

His service to the profession has garnered him honorary memberships in the American Bandmasters Association, the International Society for the Promotion and Investigation of Wind Music, and the Company of Fifers and Drummers. Raoul Camus is also a fellow of the Academy of Wind and Percussion Arts. In 2006, he received the Association of Concert Band’s Herbert L. & Jean Schultz Mentor Ideal Award. He is also a lifetime member of the World Association for Symphonic Bands and Ensembles, and the College Band Directors National Association, and a member of the International Military Music Society. 

Keeper of the original recipe for Benjamin Franklin’s shrub which he concocts and shares with the membership from time to time, the Society for American Music is proud to offer its 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award to Raoul F. Camus.

John Michael Graziano has sustained a career of 40-plus years since completing his PhD in historical musicology at Yale University in 1969. His contributions include longevity as a teacher at CUNY and the Graduate Center, where he was a devoted mentor to hundreds of students and adviser to their dissertations. He is emeritus director of “Music in Gotham,” an NEH-sponsored project documenting music performance in New York City from 1862–1875. The late Adrienne Fried Block was a co-founder and co-director of “Music in Gotham.” 

Graziano is a former editor of the journal American Music, recipient of SAM’s 2000 Irving Lowens Article Award for “The Early Life and Career of the ‘Black Patti’: The Odyssey of an African American Singer in the Late Nineteenth Century,” and president of the Society for American Music from 2007 to 2009. He has written numerous articles in scholarly journals. His extensive editorial work includes general series editor of Recent Researches in American Music (which he assumed after H. Wiley Hitchcock’s retirement in the 1990s); a co-edited volume with the late Susan Porter, Vistas of American Music: Essays and Compositions in Honor of William E. Kearns (1999); and European Music and Musicians in New York City, 1840–1900 (2006). In 2008 he organized a conference, “The Invisible Entertainers: Theater Orchestras in New York City, 1850–1900,” together with Adrienne Fried Block and the New York Philharmonic Archives. The Society for American Music is proud to offer its 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award to John Michael Graziano.


Honorary Member Appreciation: Art Neville

Sandra Graham


Art "Poppa Funk" Neville

At the business meeting in NOLA I read the following biography of our 2019 honorary member, Art Neville, who was too ill to attend. He sent a response, which appears at the end of this article. We send our deepest appreciation to the Neville family, healing wishes, and abiding admiration for the musical legacy that Art Neville has created in New Orleans, and beyond.


Keyboardist and singer Art “Poppa Funk” Neville (b. 1937) is New Orleans “royalty,” having played a seminal role in the New Orleans music scene for the past 65 years. He was a founding member and frontman of The Meters, a founding member of the Neville Brothers, a 2018 Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award recipient for his work with the Meters, and a member of the Funky Meters.

Neville attended St. Augustine and Booker T. Washington high schools. From a young age he immersed himself in music, working in a record store and absorbing the great doo-wop groups of the day: Clyde McPhatter’s Drifters, the Orioles, the Clovers. He also admired piano rockers Professor Longhair and Fats Domino. In 1953 at the tender age of 17 he joined the Hawketts, who recorded the classic “Mardi Gras Mambo” in 1954—a song that has been a staple of Mardi Gras for 60 years. 

After a stint in the Navy, Neville made numerous R&B recordings that became classics of the era, including “Cha Dooky Do” and “All These Things.” In the mid-1960s he founded Art Neville & the Neville Sounds, which evolved into The Meters. It featured Neville on keyboards, George Porter Jr. on bass, Joseph “Zigaboo” Modeliste on drums, and Leo Nocentelli on guitar. The group is considered one of the originators of funk, and their songs “Look-Ka Py Py" and “Cissy Strut” have become classics. They got a big break when Allen Toussaint hired them as the house band for his recording studio. They went on to tour North America and Europe.

Neville left the band in 1977 to perform with his three brothers, Aaron, Charles, and Cyril. Known as the Neville Brothers, their first project was with their uncle, Mardi Gras Indian Big Chief George “Jolly” Landry, on a 1976 album called The Wild Tchoupitoulas. For over 30 years the Neville Brothers found success as ambassadors of New Orleans funk, R&B, soul, and Mardi Gras Indian music, recording the seminal album Yellow Moon and becoming the first New Orleans band to perform on the television show Austin City Limits. The Nevilles’s last album was released in 2004 and their last concert was in 2012.

Meanwhile, Art Neville joined The Funky Meters, an offshoot of the original group that reunited him with Porter.   

Neville officially retired in December 2018. He has left a lasting legacy that is still audible not only on recordings but during Mardi Gras today.

Art Neville sent the following reply:
To be named the 2019 Honorary Member of the Society of American Music is a great honor. I’d like to thank everyone at the society for bestowing this honor upon me; your dedication to the study, education, creation of music is unsurpassed. Please keep up the great work for future generations. Thank you again for this great honor. 

Art “Poppa Funk” Neville


President’s Message: Seasons of Change

Tammy Kernodle

Tammy Kernodle, SAM President

As I prepared to travel to New Orleans for the 2019 annual meeting, I began to reflect on how the recent change of season from winter to spring coincided with the season of change that SAM has experienced over the past year. As President, Sandra Graham ushered the organization through a series of significant changes: the hiring of a new executive director, the launching of the new website, the introduction and passage of a Code of Ethics, and the unveiling of new fellowships and awards. I am grateful to her for her enduring and committed service to SAM.

Within the beautiful and joyous milieu of post-Mardi Gras New Orleans, conference attendees heard some exciting papers, poster presentations, and musical performances and consumed some wonderful food. My survey of these activities revealed to me just how much SAM is growing in disciplinary scope and diversity. There were one hundred first-time attendees at this year’s meeting, which means that new voices, new perspectives, and new lived experiences are entering our community. More than ever, our membership is reflecting a type of diversity that extends beyond the usual markers of racial, gender, and sexual identity. Our membership also displays a spectrum of generational identities and professional experiences.

Anyone who has observed cycles of growth knows that significant progress in any institution does not happen without discomfort, tension, and even some pain. Many of you may be aware that, in some of the panels at the conference in New Orleans, there were troubling interactions, which appeared out of keeping with the “professional level of courtesy [and] respect” called for in the new Code of Ethics. In response to concerns voiced to the Board about disrespectful behavior, the Board formed an Ad Hoc Ethics Committee to investigate. In an email dated May 13, 2019, the committee’s findings and recommendations were forwarded to the membership. This does not signify the end to these discussions and work. The Board and I will continue to explore punitive measures that can be taken in regards to offenders of our ethics policy. 

I want to reiterate that as we continue to grow as an organization and as a community of scholars, it is important that we begin to consider not only our face-to-face interactions, but also on social media. I want to caution us to not subscribe to bystander culture that observes problematic interactions, but not intercede as they are occurring. Speak up! Embody the change that you want to see! 

I call for each member to remember that we are the face and voice of our organization, whether in an official or unofficial capacity. We all have the power to damage—or to support—the future growth and stability of our organization with our words and actions!!! 

We are a community of scholars, composers, performers, curators, and publishers, and we bear many labels:  young, old, tenured, retired, contingent, student, independent. Despite these identifiers we are all linked by our interest in and passion for the musics of the Americas. We will not be perfect, and we will not always get it right.  But I hope that each of us will strive to create and maintain an open environment for professional, ethical, compassionate, inclusive, and supportive engagement.  

I hope that you will assist the Board in changing what is a prevalent and troubling culture that frames scholarly engagement within our professional societies. Become an active agent of change in SAM by joining a committee, volunteering your time and talents to the organization. 

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SAM Ad hoc Ethics Committee: Report to the Membership

7 May 2019

The Ethics was formed by President Kernodle on 24 March, at the Sunday board meeting during the annual meeting of the Society for American Music in New Orleans. Guided by SAM’s new Ethics Guidelines, our mandate was to investigate concerning incidents that took place during that meeting. As stated in the Board statement, distributed to SAM’s membership on 25 March, our goals were to “seek clarity and understanding about what transpired [and] to respond with compassion and in a manner that reflects the values of our Society,” guided by the sense that “ethical, inclusive, and respectful participation is integral to the Society’s health.” 

To gain an understanding of the events in question, the committee gathered fifteen statements from witnesses; members also consulted about best practices with equity and inclusion professionals specializing in academic environments. Based on these consultations, the committee determined that the details and any outcomes of its investigation should remain confidential. 

However, the Ethics Committee also engaged in a robust discussion of strategies to nurture SAM’s values of “ethical, inclusive, and respectful participation,” with the aim of promoting restorative justice at the structural level. With these aims in mind, it has brought forward a number of recommendations to the Board: 

At annual meetings

Requesting that chairs read a statement reminding participants about respectful discourse before all panels and at the start of each discussion period following each paper;

Providing more guidance to chairs about managing discussion and maintaining an inclusive, constructive environment for all presenters and participants;

Holding a plenary anti-bias/bystander training session at the next annual meeting in Minneapolis.

Informed by this investigation, develop guidelines for ethics concerns and complaints, which will be made publicly available on the SAM website.

While the twin tasks of implementing the new Ethics Guidelines and investigating the incidents at the New Orleans conference had their challenges, our committee was heartened by the commitment to inclusion demonstrated by many of our members. We look forward to working together to build a more welcoming, respectful, and just SAM.


Christina Baade (chair), Glenda Goodman, Sandra Graham, Eduardo Herrera, Mark Katz, Tammy Kernodle (ex officio), Megan MacDonald (ex officio), Leta Miller

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Aaron Copland’s “Simple Gifts” in Appalachian Spring

Roger Lee Hall

On the seventy-fifth anniversary of the premiere of Appalachian Spring at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC, this seems an appropriate time to provide background about the folk tune that Aaron Copland chose to use in his ballet score. As the Shaker lyrics say, it is time that “we come round right” and correct the errors about the song. First, the Shakers never titled it “The Gift to be Simple” in their music manuscripts. Nor does the song begin: “‘tis a gift to be simple.” They did not consider it a hymn either, which is how it is often classified today. Shaker hymns usually have more than one verse. “Simple Gifts” has only one verse in two equal strains of eight measures each and both are repeated (AA/BB) with these lyrics:

‘Tis the gift to be simple, ‘tis the gift to be free,
‘Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be;
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
‘Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
When true simplicity is gain’d,
To bow and to bend we shan’t be ashamed,
To turn, turn will be our delight
‘Till by turning, turning
We come round right.

The last few lines of the song refer to choreographic instructions since Shaker manuscripts identified it as a “quick dance” or as simply a “dancing song.” The words and music for the song were by Elder Joseph Brackett (1797–1882), a prominent Maine Shaker leader who composed it in Alfred, Maine in 1848.1

How and why did Copland choose to use the “Simple Gifts” song in his Appalachian Spring ballet score? I asked Copland those questions in a lengthy interview with him at his home on July 21, 1980. He said that he had “found a book in a library and the book had the title of that Shaker song.” So, he naturally looked at that tune in the book. In fact, the title of the book by Edward Deming Andrews, published in 1940, was The Gift to be Simple. That title has caused confusion among some who claim it was the same title as the Shaker song which is untrue.

Copland also said he had heard about the Shakers from Martha Graham and was curious about their music. His answer to my question about why he chose that tune was more descriptive:

It’s very curious. It’s kind of an instinctive feeling of empathy with a tune. I can play a tune out of a collection and think, “Gee, this is a very good tune, but I could never work with it.” I can’t tell you why. I’m just not that interested or there is something about it that puts me off a bit. Or, on the other hand, I’ll play something and immediately I’ll know—“Oh, that I could work with.” It’s hard to analyze really.

Graham also sensed the importance of the Shakers and Copland’s use of the tune in Appalachian Spring when she said that section would “stay with people and give them great joy.”2

I also asked Copland if he especially liked “Simple Gifts” since he used it a second time in his vocal arrangement for Old American Songs I in 1950. He replied:

I was particularly fond of it. I had a book full of tunes. I didn’t have to pick that one. I’ll immediately know what tune attracts me and what one doesn’t. I can see that the other tune is just as good really, but I don’t have that immediate feeling of it belonging to me for some curious reason.3

Copland meeting Sister Mildred Barker in 1974; Photo by Gail Hall

It seems mainly from Copland’s arrangement of this Shaker song in his ballet score that the song has become known worldwide. Some may wonder if Copland ever met any Shaker members. Through a happy coincidence, Copland was invited to a week-long celebration of his music by the Cleveland Orchestra. At the same time, in the neighboring city of Shaker Heights, Ohio, several Shaker members were there to present a workshop for teachers. After phoning him at his hotel, I was able to set up a meeting between Copland and several Shakers from Sabbathday Lake, Maine. They met on November 9, 1974 at a music librarian’s home and Copland graciously signed a vocal arrangement of “Simple Gifts” for two of the Shakers.4 This was the only meeting between Copland and the Shakers.

Elder Joseph Brackett would probably never have guessed that nearly one hundred years later, his simple dance song would be rediscovered and used by a prominent American composer and  later be considered one of the great American religious folk songs. It seems appropriate that Copland happened to choose a Shaker dance tune for his Variations on it in Appalachian Spring. As Diana Van Kolken wrote in her book about this religious community: “The Shakers were spiritual pioneers, and when we look at them, we see something of ourselves.”5


1 See Roger Lee Hall, “Simple Gifts”: Great American Folk Song, 2nd ed. (PineTree Press, 2019), 25–34.
2 Annegret Fauser, Aaron Copland’s Appalachian Spring (New York: Oxford University Press, 2017), 41.
3 All Copland quotes are from the interview on July 21, 1980. See “Simple Gifts”, 61-63. Also, the audio recording, “A Conversation with Aaron Copland,” American Music Recordings Collection CD 0005, 2000.
4 See “Aaron Copland Meets The Shakers,” American Music Preservation, last modified November 2014, www.americanmusicpreservation.com/CoplandMeetsTheShakers.htm.
5 Introducing the Shakers: An Explanation and Directory (Gabriel’s Horn Publishing Company, 1985); quoted in David Vanderhamm, “Simple Shaker Folk: Appropriation, American Identity, and Appalachian Spring,” American Music 36, no. 4 (Winter 2018), 521.

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The Kate Van Winkle Keller Fellowship for Research in Early American Music and Dance

Sandra Graham

SAM recently lost a founding member of the Sonneck Society and its first Executive Director, Kate Van Winkle Keller. Kitty, as she was known, was a prolific and much-respected scholar of music and dance in North America during the seventeenth, eighteenth, and early nineteenth centuries. She was also an enthusiastic, warm, vibrant, and welcoming presence at Sonneck Society and SAM meetings for decades.

A remembrance is printed in the Winter 2019 Bulletin. 

At her memorial service on January 19, her husband Robert and daughters Margaret Keller Dimock and Anne Keller Geraci announced a generous donation that will allow the Society for American Music and the American Antiquarian Society to jointly award The Kate Van Winkle Keller Fellowship for Research in Early American Music and Dance. To complete the fund, SAM must raise a total of $10,000; we already have half that amount.

Here is the fellowship description:

The Kate Van Winkle Keller Fellowship for Research in Early American Music and Dance is funded by an endowment established by Kate’s family and friends and by the Society for American Music (SAM), of which Kate was a founding member and the first Executive Director. The fellowship supports scholars at all levels (graduate student to senior scholar) engaged in scholarly research and writing on American music or dance, which must be appropriate to research collections at the AAS. It is open to individuals affiliated with academic institutions as well as independent scholars. Awardees who are not currently members of the Society for American Music will also be awarded a one-year membership in SAM.

The fellowship will support a one-month residency at the Antiquarian Society, an important research library and organization with which Kitty Keller was long associated as a scholar and a Member. 

We hope to make the first joint award next year in 2020. To that end, would you please consider making a donation in her memory? You can do so by visiting the donation page or by sending the SAM Executive Director a check made payable to The Society for American Music. We would like to complete this fund as quickly as possible to enable SAM members to begin taking advantage of this wonderful research opportunity.

The Society for American Music expresses its deep appreciation to the Keller family for their generosity, the American Antiquarian Society for agreeing to administer the fellowship, and to SAM past president Katherine Preston for facilitating the terms of the fellowship among the family, AAS, and SAM.

Please send check donations to:

The Society for American Music
P. O. Box 99534
Pittsburgh, PA 15233

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Journal of the Society for American Music

Volume 13, Number 2 (May 2019)


The Sound of Profession Ceremonies in Novohispanic Convents

 Cesar D. Favila


Early Twentieth Century American Opera: Inclusive Publics and Modern Technologies

 Naomi André


“Per noi emigrati”: Nostalgia in the Reception of Puccini’s La fanciulla del West in New York City’s Italian-Language Newspapers

 Kunio Hara


There and Back Again: Zeitoper and the Transatlantic Search for a Uniquely American Opera in the 1920s 

 John Gabriel


Up Close and Personal: Opera and Television Broadcasting in the 1950s 

 Danielle Ward-Griffin


Book Reviews

Andrew Flory, I Hear a Symphony: Motown and Crossover R&B

 Charles Hughes


John Wriggle, Blue Rhythm Fantasy: Big Band Arranging in the Swing Era

 Tammy L. Kernodle


Marian Wilson Kimber, The Elocutionists: Women, Music, and the Spoken Word 

Julia Chybowski


Jill M. Sullivan, Women’s Bands in America: Performing Music and Gender

Kristin McGee


Walter Zev Feldman, Klezmer: Music, History, and Memory

 Phil Alexander


JoAnne O’Connell, The Life and Songs of Stephen Foster: A Revealing Portrait of the Forgotten Man Behind “Swanee River,” “Beautiful Dreamer,” and “My Old Kentucky Home”

 Susan Key


Media Reviews

Janelle Monáe’s Dirty Computer Music Video/Film: A Collective Reading

Carol Vernallis, Gabriel Zane Ellis, Jonathan James Leal, Gabrielle Lochard, Daniel Oore, Steven Shaviro, Maeve Sterbenz, Maxwell Joseph Suechting




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 Book Reviews

Folk City: New York and the American Folk Music Revival. Stephen Petrus and Ronald D. Cohen. Oxford University Press, 2015. 320pp. ISBN: 978-0-19-023102-6. Hardback. 

 Brian Jones, Eckerd College 

Stephen Petrus and Ronald D. Cohen published Folk City: New York and the American Folk Music Revival in coordination with a 2015 exhibition of the same name at the Museum of the City of New York. It excels as a work of public history, with engrossing images, striking design, deep research, and original first-person perspectives, all woven into a compelling narrative of folk revivalism in New York City. As such, this book succeeds at the impressive task of feeling equally at home on the coffee table as it does on the academic bookshelf. 

The book’s chapters are organized by topic, with a roughly chronological progression. The early chapters chart the ascendance of folk revivalism in New York from the 1920s to the 1950s, singling out significant organizations, singers, folklorists, entrepreneurs, collectors, and record labels. The largest portion of the book focuses on the folk “boom” of the late 1950s and early 1960s, with chapters covering: conflicts surrounding public singing in Washington Square Park; the folk clubs, coffee shops, and other establishments on MacDougal Street; political activism in the revival; and Bob Dylan. The final chapter describes the decline of the folk scene in the second half of the 1960s and touches on a few significant developments in the decades that followed. 

The historical and geographical scope of this project has been well-trod by previous historical works, including Cohen’s own landmark history, Rainbow Quest: The Folk Music Revival and American Society, 1940–1970 (2002), monographs by historians such as Robert Cantwell and Rachel Claire Donaldson, and the enormous body of published research on Bob Dylan. But this book does not simply repackage existing histories with the curatorial flare of a museum exhibit. Petrus and Cohen bring vital new research perspectives that enliven and enrich our understanding of the social, cultural, and civic contexts of the New York revival. These contributions are most apparent in the chapters dealing with public singing in Greenwich Village and the neighborhood club scene. In the chapter titled “The Battles of Washington Square Park,” the authors dig deeply into local politics and policy, depicting the shifting social, ethnic, and economic divisions and alliances that constituted the Greenwich Village neighborhood. These contexts—along with the visual richness of numerous photographs from the period—provide vivid perspective and startling immediacy to the much-publicized folksinger protests in Washington Square. The chapter thus helps the reader understand exactly what was at stake for the various neighborhood stakeholders in their fight over what constituted acceptable use of public spaces. In the following chapter, “The Village Scene in the Early 1960s,” Petrus and Cohen transport the reader into the specific spaces of the revival, with striking descriptions and first-person accounts of legendary clubs (Gerde’s Folk City, the Bitter End, and the Gaslight) and organizations (Izzy Young’s Folklore Center and the Friends of Old Time Music concert series). Furthermore, the book is peppered with oral history. These include first-person remembrances solicited from many of those most closely involved, including Oscar Brand, Terri Thal, John Cohen, Josh White Jr., David Amram, Happy Traum, Len Chandler, and Carolyn Hester. This book’s depth of research, striking details, and first-person perspectives make a significant contribution to folk revival scholarship by illuminating the spaces and places that came to constitute the cultural, musical, and social epicenter of the revival. 

Folk City’s penultimate chapter, “Bob Dylan is Talkin’ New York,” uses the rich narratives of the previous chapters to frame its portrait of the folk scene’s most successful and influential product. This chapter draws heavily from the wealth of published perspectives on Dylan’s early years in the city. However, the vividness of perspective from the foregoing chapters allows the authors to make key connections between Dylan’s artistic development and aspects of revivalist attitudes in the scene—attitudes toward authenticity, commercial promotion, showmanship, and creativity. The authors then use the vibrant, politically engaged folk scene as a foil to Dylan’s 1964 turn toward non-political introspection. 

One tension throughout this book is the question of cultural center versus periphery. At times, the reader is led to ask whether this book is more about the New York folk scene or about the midcentury folk revival more generally—and whether there is meant to be a difference. In covering the civil rights movement, for example, the authors rightly spend considerable time with Guy Carawan, chronicling his work with the Highlander Folk School beginning in the 1950s and various happenings across the American South (including the Montgomery Bus Boycott, NAACP meetings in South Carolina, and SNCC and SCLC initiatives in Tennessee and North Carolina). Although Carawan had indeed developed and maintained crucial connections in New York—most significantly with Moe Asch and Folkways Records—Carawan was born in South Carolina, he went to graduate school in California, and his most consequential work took place in Tennessee. Furthermore, the collective acts of protest and activism taking place across the South weren’t primarily about New York. For the authors of this book—writing specifically about New York City, and even being commissioned by a city museum—there is a challenge in appropriately framing the New York folk scene’s connections to homegrown protests in the American South and elsewhere. Its focus on its subject city acts to reify existing historiographic biases toward the actions of those in well-connected Greenwich Village networks, perhaps minimizing the significant contributions of groups and individuals on periphery. By and large, Petrus and Cohen effectively highlight the importance of contributions from and connections with areas outside New York—and it can hardly be disputed that New York City was the most influential scene in the midcentury folk revival. Still, this type of project strengthens the already-canonical place of New York in folk revivalism of the twentieth century. Continued work (building on the broader folk-revival histories noted above) needs to further explore the historical importance of dynamic folk-revivalist networks from areas beyond the singular Greenwich Village scene. 

Being a work by historians and not musicologists, this book gives little attention to musical sound and style, focusing instead on social, interpersonal, political, and institutional aspects of the revival. Yet it has much to offer music researchers and will serve as a key source in helping its readers understand the spaces, ideologies, and connections of the influential midcentury New York folk scene. Thus, whether for general readers, historians, musicologists, or anyone else engaging substantially with the history of American folk revivalism, this book is a welcome addition.

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Unprepared to Die: America’s Greatest Murder Ballads and the True Crime Stories That Inspired Them. Paul Slade. Soundcheck Books, 2015. 290pp. ISBN: 9780992948078. Paperback.

Nicole M. Powlison, University of Maryland

In Unprepared to Die: America’s Greatest Murder Ballads and the True Crime Stories That Inspired Them, popular music critic and cultural scholar Paul Slade uncovers the real stories behind some of the best-known “murder ballads” that have become an integral part of American and British popular music. Each chapter is a standalone true-crime tale that weaves together the salacious events, uncovered through archival research, with the performance history that transformed each ballad from a regional tune into a song with national or international fame. Slade also interviews modern interpreters of murder ballads, such as Nick Cave, Neko Case, Dave Alvin, and Snakefarm’s Anna Domino, to get their perspectives on what makes these old, gory stories so enduring.

Unprepared to Die began life as a series of self-published essays on Slade’s website, Planet Slade.* While Slade made a broadcast career as a cultural documentarian, he admits preferring to explore topics in long essays, a form he describes as too lengthy for a journal or newspaper to publish (xi), but too short for a standalone book. He refined and expanded the essays from his website for Unprepared to Die, as well as including two exclusive new essays to round out the collection. Slade’s website still acts as an online supplement to his ballad research and other interests, and as a forum for discussion with the author, who continues to post and respond to inquiries from fans and scholars on his continuing research.

Slade entwines his elaborations of the murders and trials with analysis of the origins of the ballads, which were sometimes one and the same, since ballads could function as a sort of tabloid in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Some were composed only hours after the events had taken place and then printed in newspapers and magazines across the country to capitalize on the bloody spectacle of the investigations, trials, and executions. As Slade’s stories of the real-life events unfold, he traces the ballad lyrics from their creation to the first popular recordings to the performances that cemented the ballads in the modern folk music canon.

In his introduction, Slade sets himself a difficult task: to untangle the true stories of eight popular murder ballads from the mythos that has accompanied these songs on their rise to national and international popularity. He promises to walk the line between rock journalists, who sacrifice accuracy for sensational storytelling, and the accurate-but-dry writing of academics (x), and he succeeds in this regard. He has completed painstaking original archival research and interviews and thoroughly combed through the potential origins for his subjects. At the same time, his reporting of events from the primary sources is no mere recitation of facts. For example, his story of Charlie Lawson’s grisly Christmas Day murder of his family is reconstructed from scant forensic evidence, given the period, but Slade sets the bloodstained scene with cinematic realism for his readers:

Exhausted at all he’d done in the past frenetic half hour, Charlie sat for a moment on the bed he’d shared with Fannie there in the cabin’s main room and surveyed his work. Raymond lay in a pool of blood near the stove, his mother against the crib containing Mary Lou’s mangled remains. Marie and James were laid out side by side beneath the cabin window, their crisp white pillows now turning scarlet. Carrie and Maybell still lay in the barn. Charlie sighed. “Almost done,” he thought. “Almost done.” (242) 

Since Charlie committed suicide only hours after this scene would have occurred, no living witnesses could have relayed this story, but Slade uses archival photos, police evidence, and court testimony to create a dramatic but reasonable re-enactment.

Each chapter begins with an epigraph from a newspaper, song collection, or other report, putting the primary sources front-and-center in each essay. The “Stagger Lee” chapter is a strong opening for the essay collection, an engaging story about one of the earliest infamous characters from popular music. “Stagger Lee” effectively demonstrates the form and function of the essays to come, weaving the true crime story together with the development of the ballad. Slade also tracks the song’s transformations, noting which parts of the lyrics or performance change and which remain the same. By describing how interpreters interact with and change the song, thereby painting Lee as violent or admirable, Slade establishes how the enduring myth of Stagger Lee sows the seeds of devil-may-care violence and braggadocio that would shape the gangsta rapper to come.

The essay “Frankie and Johnny” provides an example of a ballad that was hot off the press while the gun was practically still smoking. The original version of “Frankie and Johnny” was being sold as a broadside before the case went to trial. The different versions of the story, portraying Frankie as either a victim or aggressor, haunted their subject for the rest of her life.

“Knoxville Girl” is a stand-out example of Slade’s commitment to archival research. Not satisfied with tracing the US version of “Knoxville Girl” to its probable eighteenth-century British ballad roots in “The Berkshire Tragedy,” Slade continues the inquiry to uncover the real 1600s crime that inspired the earliest version of the ballad, “The Bloody Miller” (59). He then compares the circumstances of this true crime to a similar one in the US, committed around the same time that the “Knoxville Girl” lyrics were becoming popular, creating a complex web of lyrical and criminal relationships between the murders and their ballads on both sides of the Atlantic.

As an example of ballad-craft in the modern era, “The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll” by Bob Dylan follows a model of development not dissimilar to the previous murder ballads. A real-life, racially charged murder occurs during the blossoming of the Urban Folk genre and the Civil Rights Movement. A compressed version of the timeline still applies, and hearsay and sensationalism still exert a force on the version of story put to print (or vinyl).

Other essays cover the story of “Tom Dooley,” made famous by the skiffle group The Kingston Trio; “Pretty Polly,” an enduring tune for traditional bluegrass performers as well as modern urban folk and alt-country musicians looking for a tougher edge; “Poor Ellen Smith” and the intersection of lyrical perspective and the politically charged news coverage of the time; and the “Murder of the Lawson Family,” a bloody ballad of a Depression-era family murder-suicide at Christmas, with the mysterious motivations of the perpetrator leading to speculation and attention from a national audience.

At the end of each chapter, Slade provides a discography of sorts: the author’s top ten list of definitive or stand-out recordings, most of which are discussed in the essay itself. While Slade’s list includes the artist, recording, and year for each selection, as well as an annotation for each entry, no further information for locating the exact recordings, such as record catalog numbers or specific bibliographic citation, is provided.

There are two sets of color plates in the last half of book. These provide a small selection of archival materials, such as photos and woodblock prints, as well as some photos from the author’s research trips. Slade traveled to locations throughout the United States and the United Kingdom where the murders occurred, interviewing family members of the ballad subjects, local historians, and performers of the ballads.

Slade’s writing is vivid, and his recounting of the murders and trials is very evocative. His music descriptions reveal his years spent as a music critic and reporter; they are lively and free of jargon, and easy for non-musicians to digest. In one such passage, he describes Lloyd Price’s 1957 recording of “Stagger Lee” as “a runaway train of a record, fuelled by blaring horns and the backing singers’ constant roars of encouragement. Drums thump like pistons beneath Price’s powerful vocals and the raspingly abrasive sax solo which erupts every time he pauses for breath” (20). Meanwhile, his treatment of both the music and the archival research are thorough enough for scholars of music and folklore. Sometimes, in the pursuit of engaging writing Slade reaches for some confusing metaphors that seem to break the flow of the text. However, those moments are few.

Unprepared to Die can serve as an excellent source for scholars of American popular and roots music, as well as those interested in folklore, the ballad, and oral transmission in modern folk music. A general audience, especially any fans of true crime stories in the vein of Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood, would also find these stories as educational as they are entertaining. 

* Some of Slade’s other projects include mysteries and stories from “Secret London” and a section titled “Miscellaney” that covers a variety of time periods and subjects including comics, reports from festivals, and reflections from the author’s life as a young music fan.

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Arlen & Harburg’s “Over the Rainbow.” Walter Frisch. Oxford Keynotes. Oxford University Press, 2017. 146pp. ISBN: 9780190467340. Paperback. 

Samantha M. Cooper, New York University

It remains difficult to believe that one of the most popular songs of the twentieth century almost never reached the public. Yet, as musicologist Walter Frisch informs his readers, MGM executives nearly cut Dorothy Gale’s (Judy Garland) performance of “Over the Rainbow” from The Wizard of Oz (1939) because they felt it slowed down the film’s narrative action. In 2001, a joint survey conducted by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Recording Industry Association of America revealed why this decision would have been a grievous error; these organizations voted “Over the Rainbow” the greatest song of the twentieth century. In Arlen & Harburg’s Over the Rainbow, readers can expect to find details of these events as well as many other fascinating tidbits on the song’s genesis and performance history. 

In his introduction, Frisch draws on clips from films as diverse as The Philadelphia Story (1940) and You’ve Got Mail (1998) to demonstrate how incarnations of this song have taken on contextually dependent meanings. With these preliminary examples, Frisch succeeds in immediately impressing upon readers the gravitas of this song’s legacy, and guides them towards the key question of his study. He asks: “How and why did ‘Over the Rainbow’ accrue its many meanings, as well as its iconic status in American music and in popular culture more broadly?” (3). This question sets us up to expect the selective historical “biography” of “Over the Rainbow” offered throughout the text’s body.

After briefly outlining the development of Harold Arlen and Edgar Yipsel “Yip” Harburg’s musical partnership, the process by which Arthur Freed selected them to compose the film’s score, and the Depression-era contexts that framed both L. Frank Baum’s novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900) and MGM’s The Wizard of Oz, Frisch spends chapter one examining how “Over the Rainbow” replaced a screenplay placeholder for Dorothy’s “Kansas” number. In contrast to Roger Eden’s chipper “Home Sweet Home in Kansas” (1938), the song originally intended to fulfil this purpose by fixating on a return to home, Arlen and Harburg’s more serious “Over the Rainbow” centres on the longing to escape an unhappy home. Frisch spends the rest of the chapter detailing the extensive creative process through which the librettist and composer fashioned this song and slotted it into the film.

Chapter two discusses the continued revisions made to the lyrics of “Over the Rainbow” until they were finally solidified in the script of March 19, 1939; the planned but eventually rejected reprises of “Over the Rainbow” and their relation to an overly costly “Rainbow bridge” scene also cut from the script; the staging and filming of “Over the Rainbow” as a soliloquy, carefully integrated into the filmic narrative; the removal of the song during a film preview, which caused Freed to threaten, “The song stays—or I go! It’s as simple as that”; the upset of MGM executives when “Over the Rainbow” was leaked prematurely to East Coast bandleader Larry Clinton, who recorded it with Bea Wain for RCA Victor in New York on December 7, 1938; and, lastly, the promotional materials, radio broadcasts, and newly authorized records released to the public in preparation for The Wizard of Oz

The simple yet sophisticated musical structure of “Over the Rainbow” makes up the body of Frisch’s chapter three analysis. In his close reading of the music and lyrics, Frisch lays out the song’s “4 measure piano introduction/20 measure verse/32 measure chorus/8 measure coda” construction in an easy-to-follow way, all while paying attention to the effects of the tuneful melody, harmonic chromaticism, text painting, diction, singability, and divergences from standard popular song practices. Frisch also explores how Herbert Stothart and Murray Cutter’s orchestration for “Over the Rainbow” became a significant element of the song’s identity for listeners. Though these original orchestral materials were infamously discarded by MGM in the 1960s, Frisch nevertheless digs deeply into the orchestrators’ instrumental choices, allusions to nursery rhymes, and sound effect insertions in order to demonstrate how carefully the orchestrators considered every sonic element of their filmic arrangement.

Chapter four positions “Over the Rainbow” as the signature song of contralto Judy Garland. Following the film’s release, Garland continued to perform the piece in concerts, recordings, radio, and television programming for thirty years. It eventually came to symbolize the personal and professional struggles that plagued her adult life and career. While the 1940s saw Garland participate in politically motivated parodies of “Over the Rainbow” in benefit of the Hollywood Democratic Committee and Armed Forces Radio Service, the 1950s prompted her to assert a personal identification with the song and refuse to parody it. Frisch spends the second half of the chapter tracing the shifts in Garland’s expressive nuances as she matures. He notes how she moves from closely observing the notated score to performing more freely, how her early recordings set a slower tempo that quickens over time, and how her hope-imbued youthful iteration darkens towards the melancholic as she reaches the end of her life and career. This rich chapter concludes with a discussion of the LGBT reception of “Over the Rainbow,” and with it, Judy Garland fandom, or Judyism. Focusing on the special identification of gay men during the 1960s and 1970s with Garland’s performance, Frisch contextualizes the coded reference “friends of Dorothy,” as well as the analytical categories of “ordinariness,” “androgyny,” and “camp” that so attracted this community to Garland’s concerts, films, and recordings. He thereby frames Rufus Wainwright’s June 2006 Garland tribute concerts at Carnegie Hall as a particularly passionate homage to this performer.

Chapter five assesses “Over the Rainbow” as an entry in the Great American Songbook and as a popular jazz standard for piano. Frisch claims that Arlen’s imaginative and often virtuosic pianistic reinventions, as well as his early penchant for treating the song with chromatic-inflected improvisation and interpolation, recalls the composer’s jazz roots. In combination with carefully selected audio clips, Frisch demonstrates how renditions of “Over the Rainbow” by Art Tatum, Bud Powell, Erroll Garner, Dick Marx, André Previn, and Keith Jarrett respectively play to the creators’ strengths and offer new lenses through which one can assess the melodic and harmonic language of Arlen’s original.

In chapter six, Frisch examines Hawaiian pop singer and tenor Israel Kamakawiwo’ole’s medley of “Over the Rainbow” with “What a Wonderful World” (1988 original; 1993 on Facing Future). Though Kamakawiwo’ole initially intended for his medley to reflect his advocacy for Hawaiian sovereignty and right to self-determination during a period of threatened indigenous land rights, the song soon transcended its origins. After attaining a global following, his medley appeared on commercials, television shows, and films, thereby taking on new, contextually dependent identities. 

Frisch’s epilogue explores the scholarly sacrelization and conceptualization of “Over the Rainbow.” He ultimately concludes that this song is about the work one must do to accept and empower one’s self on the journey towards an ever elusive “home.” 

As with other volumes of the Oxford Keynotes series, Oxford University Press provides readers of Arlen & Harburg’s Over the Rainbow with related multimedia examples through a companion website. Each text contains a personalized username and password to simplify access. This text’s examples are organized by chapter, and include diverse film clips, related songs, radio broadcasts, live concert materials, and commercials that greatly enrich the reading experience.

Recognizing that his listeners may have various levels of familiarity with music notation, Frisch limits his insertion of score fragments throughout his text to those most important in demonstrating the concepts he wishes to communicate. He also offers simple harmonic analysis when relevant to aid his more musically advanced readers. Additional reading and listening resources are provided at the conclusion of the volume. Frisch limits his use of footnotes to ensure a smooth reading experience.

In this remarkably brief yet fact-packed text, Frisch elegantly conjoins the many “palimpsest” identities of “Over the Rainbow,” all while summarizing nearly a century of history for readers (5). Though primarily intended for undergraduate students, performers, and inquisitive listeners, Frisch’s insightful and accessible contribution may also interest academics in the fields of musicology, film, and theatre. A slate onto which generations of listeners and performers impress their own concerns, hopes, and fears, “Over the Rainbow” deserves this volume of its own to capture the richness of its story and history.

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Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Carousel.” Tim Carter. Oxford Keynotes. Oxford University Press, 2017. 160pp. ISBN: 9780190693442. Paperback.

Arianne Johnson Quinn, Florida State University

Often characterized as the most operatic of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s works, Carousel opened on Broadway in 1945. Tim Carter’s insights into the production process of this work in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Carousel,” a volume in the Oxford University Press Keynotes Series, provide scholars, students and theatre enthusiasts with the first in-depth account of the creative impetus behind the work. Carter seeks not to rescue the show’s troubling presentation of domestic abuse or negate the challenges for modern performers, but to explore the significance of Carousel both as a product of its time and within the larger context of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s collaborations. He further examines the work’s status and the role it played in establishing a postwar standard for American culture. In addition to the necessary scholarly debates surrounding gender representation and domestic violence in Carousel as offered by Raymond Knapp, Stacy Wolf, and others, Carter’s book, written with a clear critical eye and engaging style, is a much-needed examination of Rodgers and Hammerstein and the Golden Age American musical more broadly.

The book approaches the creation of Carousel in a chronological fashion, beginning with the Theatre Guild’s attempts to acquire the rights to Ferenc Molnár’s Liliom and their search for the ideal creative team. From the standpoint of the Guild’s creative directors, including Theresa Helburn, a musical version of Liliom would be a direct artistic successor to Porgy and Bess (3). As Carter points out, the creative team for Carousel, which included Agnes de Milles and Rouben Mamoulian, was riding on the success of Oklahoma! In part because of the prestige of the creative team, the reputation of the Guild, and the production’s arrival on Broadway in 1945, critics touted Carousel as the work that would represent the pinnacle of American culture at home and abroad. 

Chapter two expands upon the first chapter, tracing the history of the work from its inception as Molnár’s Liliom, which was aptly subtitled “the life and death of a scoundrel (1909).” This chapter provides a cursory glance at the creative and commercial negotiations behind a work of musical theatre. Even in 1909 audiences were confused by what Carter deems the “moral ambiguities” in the plot, which would later prove to be a challenge for Oscar Hammerstein. The Theatre Guild produced the first English language version of the play in 1921 with the bulk of the translation by librettist Lorenz Hart. In the midst of complex negotiations to acquire the performance rights, Theresa Helburn offered the musical version to Kurt Weill, whom Carter notes was “grouchy” when the work was a success (20). Carter suspects that after Molnár denied the rights to several other creative teams and repeatedly turned down the Guild’s generous offers, he was finally motivated to grant permission after the success of Oklahoma! Thus, in acquiring the rights to Liliom, the Theatre Guild all but assured the longevity of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s commercial success.

One of the most compelling elements of Carter’s book is his careful attention to the creative evolution of Carousel as he explores specific textual changes from the initial sketches to the final version. This allows the reader to understand each decision that Rodgers and Hammerstein made as they negotiated the transition from the Eastern European setting of the original play to the new location in Maine. Chapter three also points out that Rodgers and Hammerstein’s partnership with the Guild was always fraught; although their burgeoning collaborations appeared promising, the Guild was reluctant to hand over the highly sought-after musical version of Liliom. Carter’s detailed charts in this chapter demonstrate the many revisions they made in conversation with the Guild. Their intent was to retain the dramatic elements while crafting a form akin to that of operetta, balancing small ensemble writing with expository solos such as the “Soliloquy” (36). These charts also highlight the hasty practical changes made to the script after the New Haven and Boston tryouts, reminding the reader that musical theater is always, to paraphrase scholar Bruce Kirle, “in process.” 

Chapter four highlights the transition from dramatic play to musical theater work, and explores how this transition required Rodgers and Hammerstein to carefully balance speech and song. As Carter points out, the expansion of musical forms from spoken dialogue or “book time” to song or “lyric time” are extended in Carousel (51). Rather than having characters spontaneously burst into song and dance, as in traditional musical comedy, these formal divisions allow for extended action without disruption. Thus, the level of formal integration in Carousel is more artistically innovative than that in Oklahoma! (51). Hammerstein adapted songs to fit specific characters and demands of the plot in operatic fashion. The innovation of Carousel “lay in its complex fabric of spoken dialogue over underscoring, parlando declamation, lyric fragments akin to operatic arioso, and what one might as well call full blown arias” (59). In addition to the analysis of formal divisions, Carter also gives due credit to Trude Rittman for her skillfully composed dance sequences.

Chapter five confronts thorny aspects of creating a dramatically coherent libretto, including addressing the issues of domestic violence and the problems of writing an ending that evades both the moral and theological issues present in the previous versions. Although the original Liliom character moves between the worlds of heaven and earth as he faces his moral failures, Hammerstein created a Starkeeper to replace the heavenly magistrate court and employs a dream sequence in which Billy visits his daughter. This neutralizes Billy’s true nature as an abusive, violent man, grants him a second chance, and frames the entire work with a persistent overarching theme of good will. “What’s the Use of Wonderin’” further supports this; Hammerstein suggests that a loving woman will continue to “stand by her man.” Similarly, “You’ll Never Walk Alone” becomes a universal theme that provides comfort for all characters, including Billy and Julie. The strong universal aspect of this song in particular led to its popularity as a wartime anthem, and it is, as Carter argues, “as much a case of wartime propaganda as praising the land that is ‘grand’ in Oklahoma! in March 1943” (89).

Finally, in chapter six, Carter addresses the long-held genre controversy surrounding Carousel that stemmed from its initial reception and briefly explores the film version. Partly due to its serious subject matter, and partly due to its operetta-like musical style, the work held the potential to move beyond a reimaging of postwar politics and into the realm of true American art in a way that Rodgers and Hammerstein’s previous works could not. Critic Olin Downes hinted at this in his review, which described the musical style, stating, “traditional recitative there will not be, but there will be melodies that develop as the musical fulfillment of speech into tonal structures, in themselves organic, while flexibly responsive to the needs of the situations” (102). This coded language was very different from the common descriptions of musical comedies that filled the Broadway stage in the 1940s. Not only did its bittersweet ending provide wartime morale for American audiences, but, as Carter argues, it paved the way for a representation of American culture abroad (97). Through his careful analysis and compelling reading of new sources, Carter makes a compelling case for scholars and performers to reconsider a work that might otherwise be dismissed, and provides a fascinating historical narrative in the process.  

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Bulletin Board

Michael Accinno has been awarded a one-month research fellowship by the Library Company of Philadelphia and the Historical Society of Pennsylvania for his book chapter, “Toward a History of Tactile Notation: Blindness, Music, and Print Culture in the Long Nineteenth Century.” While in residence this summer, he’ll be working closely with the Library Company’s Michael Zinman Collection of Printing for the Blind and leading a colloquium on his project for archival staff and research fellows. 

Candace Bailey has been awarded to two fellowships. The first is the National Humanities Center Fellowship. The second is the Kate Van Winkle Keller Fellowship for Research in Early American Music and Dance at the American Antiquarian Society (funded in part by the SAM).


Peter Bloom

Flutist Peter H. Bloom celebrated American music in recent concert tours, and is featured on two new CDs of works by American composers.  

In 2018–2019, Bloom and his trio Ensemble Aubade performed in the Midwest, Southeast and Northeast, showcasing Oxygen Footprint (2016), written for Aubade by Karl Henning, and Seven Postcards to Old Friends (1966) by Robert Russell Bennett. Venues included The Robert H. Wood Great Artist Series (New York), Saint Louis Art Museum, Mississippi Chambre Music Guild, Chamber Music Society of Central Kentucky, Lewis University Arts & Ideas, the Keighton Concert Series in Massachusetts, and the Nixon Centre near Atlanta.

Bloom marked his 42nd season with The Aardvark Jazz Orchestra as the band performed works by director Mark Harvey and rarities by Duke Ellington, including an April 2019 show at MIT with Ricky Ford. Aardvark released its 15th CD, Democratic Vistas (Leo Records), in November 2018. 

In other American music concerts, Bloom performed premieres by Karl Henning, Pamela Marshall, Mark Gresham and Avrohom Leichtling at King’s Chapel Boston; Music from the Great American Songbook with The Modernistics at Colby College; and multiple New England shows with pianist John Funkhouser, celebrating Duke Ellington’s 120th anniversary. 

Bloom and pianist/harpist Mary Jane Rupert, who concertize as the Duo “2,” are featured on a CD from Navona Records, Butterfly Effects and Other Works by Elizabeth Vercoe, released in November. Contact Peter at www.americasmusicworks.com.

SAM members Raoul Camus and David Hildebrand each have contributed chapters to the newly published volume Music and War in the United States (Routledge) edited by Sarah Kraaz. Raoul opens the book with “The Revolutionary War: The Continental Army,” which is followed by David’s chapter “The Revolutionary War and War of 1812: Music for the Young Republic.” 

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The Bulletin of the Society for American Music

The Bulletin is published in the Winter (January), Spring (May), and Fall (September) by the Society for American Music. Copyright 2019 by the Society for American Music, ISSN 0196-7967.

Editorial Board

Editor: Elizabeth Ann Lindau (Elizabeth.Lindau@csulb.edu)
Reviews Editor: Esther Morgan-Ellis (esther@morgan-ellis.net)
Media Editor: Elizabeth Ozment (ew05n@virginia.edu)
Design and Layout: John Michael McCluskey (

Items for submission should be submitted via the Bulletin's information page. Photographs or other graphic materials should be accompanied by captions and desired location in the text. Deadlines for submission of materials are 15 December, 15 April, and 15 August.

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