Projects

1/23/2022 – The MLK commemoration at Jacobs is an ideal nexus— an occasion that calls us to reflect and resolve and celebrate, with participants in all sorts of formations, from all parts of the School of Music. I’d been working to have excerpts read from Richard Wright’s recently-published essay “Memories of my Grandmother” ever since my friend Gina gave me the book last summer. The volume also contains a novel, The Man Who Lived Underground, a story both surreal and grim about a young black man randomly taken into custody, wrongfully accused and brutally interrogated by the police. When Wright submitted it for publication in 1942, right after Native Son had its public success, the publisher turned it away. 
This new complete edition pairs the novel with an essay that contextualizes it as a product of Wright’s consideration of his grandmother’s faith, and the “broken” texture of jazz and blues which ultimately allows for transcendent creativity. I’m quite grateful to the IU OVPDEMA for the funding, and Julia Wright at the author’s estate who granted permission for a performance highlighting passages from the essay (read by jazz faculty Greg Ward) in counterpoint with an improvised sax solo, played by Tom Walsh. New and old, spoken rhythms and sustained tone, carefully crafted and improvised in the moment. Their performance honored Wright’s work, and his tribute to his grandmother.
1/21/2022 – Talk about circling back! My parents were the flute and oboe professors at BGSU for decades; I graduated from Bowling Green High School before heading to Indiana University. How resonant to be invited by voice Chair Christopher Scholl to be a guest clinician last weekend! I worked with six singers and the spitzen-pianist Kevin Bylsma on the same stage where I squealed Zaneeta Shinn’s lines in The Music Man… decades ago.
Lovely talent at BGSU, performing sophisticated repertoire. Congratulations to their voice profs! Special thanks for the fascinating conversation over dinner to doctoral singers Carolyn Anderson, Katy Pracht Phares, and Keri Lee Pierson. May Covid no longer keep us from visiting and learning from each other.
In November of 2021, Song Literature III participated in a collaborative event with a class on Modern Metamorphosis from IU’s Collins Living Learning Center. Here you see tenor Nathan Krishnaswami singing Rebecca Clarke’s surreal “The Seal Man” with pianist Lucas Nogara. The program was accompanied by slides from the holdings of IU’s Eskenazi Museum of Art [here: Henry Moore’s Song of Songs]. Both of these collaborations were inspired by IU’s “Themester” curation; the theme chosen for 2021 was Resilience.
New songs generated collaboratively by teams of poets, composers, singers and pianists

Song Genesis is an initiative I’ve embedded in my Graduate Art Song Survey curriculum at the Jacobs School of Music. For it, I curate teams of one singer, one pianist, one poet, and one composer to work collaboratively. More…

When Covid forced us apart, we found a way to come together, performing all 46 songs in Hugo Wolf’s late 19th century masterpiece, the Italienisches Liederbuch. In spite of distancing and masks, the color and detail in each song came to life in deconstructed tableaus, and gave the individual gifts of each person in our studio (plus two outstanding collaborative pianists, Itsuki Nagamine and Lucas Nogara) a chance to shine. Here is a link to the recording of the recital.
What does it take to win hearts and minds of skeptical listeners?
 An Art Song Survey course wouldn’t be socially responsible without giving some fresh, 21st century attention to how and to whom a young professional would offer this repertoire. Songs for Skeptics is an experiment to explore the very real reluctance in a lay listener, and what type of context might overcome it. More…
Co-authoring: a brand-new way to collaborate! My colleague Peter Lea (professor of Music Theory at Mizzou) was such an intrepid partner in this project, which involved rehearsing and performing a challenging cycle by George Crumb, designing a presentation for a “theorists-only” symposium, and finally, synthesizing all of that into a chapter for Routledge’s 20th and 21st-Century Song Cycles. I’m especially pleased that we found a way to weave our individual voices into an effective counterpoint, especially given the chapter’s particular focus (Intellectual and Imaginative Oscillation).
 
ISBN 9780367220266
Published November 24, 2020 by Routledge
246 Pages 150 B/W Illustrations