Tag Archives: AMS

the listserv goes on and on…

i have wanted to write about so many things over the last month or so. at one point it seemed like anglo-american musicological academics were losing control. it’s calmed down and some other things have happened that i thought would be good to compile all in one place.

some time in december, my facebook/twitter BLEW UP with somewhat confusing and vague comments from my friends/colleagues, all related. in the wake of Charles Rosen’s death, the AMS listserv went bananas. and not in the good way. but it was so bad, so intense that it caused me to do something i didn’t think i’d have to do for quite some time: rejoin the listserv.

background: when i became a member of AMS in 2006, i went whole hog. i had my copies of JAMS, poured over the newsletter, and subscribed to the listserv. over time (a short period of time), that enthusiasm waned. the emails on the listserv were insipid, confrontational, and (the worst part), never-ending. i jumped ship pronto with no intention of looking back.

but the outrage that seemed to be pouring out of the internet was too important for me to refuse to participate. what took place after Rosen’s death seemed like slander and it was malicious. and one email after another caused the whole thing to snowball. most people wondered if this was the right conversation to have, if this was the right place, or the right time. (i disagreed.) and at one point, it was all anyone could talk about. and as i witnessed it, i became more and more distressed. musicologists fight about stupid, hypothetical shit all the time — it’s absurd yet tolerable. but this was new. now don’t get me wrong, at some point, all of our careers and decisions will be discussed but this seemed like — no, was — an attack. many people expressed a fair amount of outrage but the conversation and its many offshoots went on for weeks. thankfully, another happy little event came and distracted everyone: Zachary Woolfe’s review of Carolyn Abbate and Roger Parker’s new book The History of Opera. in one very short paragraph, Woolfe denounced and insulted all of musicology, especially opera scholarship. i was slack-jawed when i read the review (i had just purchased the book maybe a month before) and it seemed like many people were asking where did Woolfe get the stones to make such a bold statement (in so many words). now as a contemporary opera scholar, i acknowledge that there is opera after Britten and that opera scholarship has been slow to recognize this fact (and this points to endemic problems within the discipline, ones i’m ready to debate at any time) but work is being done — good work. and for an outsider to be so incredibly dismissive seemed like someone taking a battering ram to the door. and when you’re on the other side of that door, regardless of what your feelings might be, you join the troops and prepare for battle.

it’s all quiet on the electronic front and now (with help from Columbia’s new Gmail server), i have once again relegated the listserv emails to their own folder, away from my inbox. i check on them from time to time but that’s about it.

in other news, i’ve been accepted to Duke’s PhD program. as you might imagine, this comes as a great relief. for those who have never applied to graduate school (for any field), i try to explain the “all you need is one” concept — sure, we all have our top choices and our safety schools but in the end, all that matters is that there’s one school that will take you, one place where you’ll be able to continue your studies and write your dissertation. this made my rejection by Cambridge a few days later a lot easier to swallow. what i’ve learned after going through this the first time three years ago is that this process is not personal. there may be personal aspects to it but they are few and far between. Cambridge told me not to take my rejection personally and i didn’t (well to a degree. as a human i, like anyone else, hate to be rejected by anyone) and if i get rejected from the other four schools i applied to, i won’t take that personally either. (well except UNC — if they reject me a second time, god knows what i’ll do) but regardless, i can go about the business of my life knowing that come fall of this year, i’ll be in school again.

and can i just say how humorous i find it that all of my NC friends are like “come home!”? i appreciate the enthusiasm, i really do but right now, there’s still a little ways to go before i decide on moving back home. my facebook status announcing the news garnered almost 200 likes (and 60 comments) which i think is so absurd and, honestly, it makes me feel a little ashamed. thirsty much? but i share everything, how could i not share this? plus, 200 people out of approximately 1800 friends is a drop in the bucket. still, it was an overwhelming drop. i think i’ll choose to be thankful rather than ashamed.

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return of the mack

hi internet. you’ve probably forgotten about me. in that case, let me re-introduce myself: hi, my name’s imani and i’m a recovering academic.

a lot has happened since i wrote here last. the two subjects of my penultimate post are both dead (and very recently so) and my status, for the time being, has changed. i’m leaving Columbia and applying to new PhD programs in the hopes that i’ll land somewhere in the fall. i’ll be spending the next six months or so in the real world (something i’m actually looking forward to), saving up money for my next grand adventure whatever that may be. i’ve given a few papers, attended a few conferences, taught a handful of classes and learned more than i had ever bargained for — a lot about myself, especially.

so what brings me back here? well…while attending the behemoth that was Alphabet Soup, er, i mean AMS/SMT/SEM 2012 in New Orleans a month and a half ago, i met up with Ryan Bañagale (of Amusicology fame and all around awesome musicologist) and we talked about social media among other things. i talked about my blog to which he actually said that he missed it. (you know i thought no one ever read this…a vain naïveté, i know but who cares?) sometime later, i realized that my tiny little voice was an important one for a whole host of reasons. while my journey is uniquely my own, a lot of people can identify with it (or at least parts of it) and it’s always been important to me to document my struggle.

(don’t worry Ryan, i still want to write for Amusicology!)

so here i am! granted, i won’t have that much to talk about in the upcoming months … actually, strike that. there’s the application process, the admissions and failures, and the life of a (hopefully) temporary independent scholar. plus, as we all know (though i think sometimes we need reminding) being out of school does not make me — or anyone else — less of a musicologist.

i’d like to think now that i’d have the time to devote myself to a different type of writing but we shall see. plus, i have *other* things to do. that means: go check out my Tumblr devoted to the Britten Centenary (and my place within it) A Birthday Hansel; it’s great fun and is a little less about me and my thoughts which is always nice.

so go, tell your friends and i’ll do my best to hold up my end of the bargain this time.

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Fill the void veins of Life again with youth

i’ve decided that since it’s so difficult for me to really sit down and type blog entries at length that i’m going to start writing more composite posts (i must credit my boyfriend for this idea because yes i DO read his blog…) so here we go.

AMS/SMT 2010 Indianapolis
so this year i found myself in the very flat city of Indianapolis for the annual AMS conference. every two years, the conference becomes a joint one with the Society for Music Theory, which then of course swells the ranks by quite a fair amount. of course, i always joke about picking out the theorists from the musicologists (their bow ties are usually made of cotton as opposed to silk) but they make the conference interesting. as per usual, i missed the Amusicology party (i was stranded in Chicago, naturally) but made up for it by attending my fair share of receptions. (and i must say, i was really pleased with the number of prospective students at the Columbia reception though i’m sure that Walter Frisch was not pleased with how many times i brought people up to him) i didn’t attend as many papers as i would have liked as i became increasingly more sick (something from which i’m still recovering) but the ones i did attend and heard about were quite intriguing.

one of my favorite parts of the conference is the luncheon given by the Committee on Cultural Diversity. this was my entry into the world of AMS though i had been a student member for quite some time. in 2008, i received the Eileen Southern Travel Grant which paid for my trip to the AMS conference and introduced me to people i considered quite influential. so attending the luncheon and seeing the new crop of musicologists-to-be was very encouraging. let’s just say that diversity is not something that comes easily to AMS and it’s something i look to be a part of changing over the years.

i can only talk about the conference because, honestly, Indianapolis was not a destination of choice. it was cold, it hailed and all the streets look exactly the same. but the wine is cheap!

there are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
today, at work, i found myself amidst a philosophical debate about music. it was strange. the break room at an Apple store is really not the place. but then, i thought about it and you know what? everywhere is the place. there are those who are satisfied with the definition of “something with aesthetic value” summing up the whole of their musical experience. that’s what music is, end of story. and maybe i’m in too deep but that always seemed like an unfair definition to me. it’s part and parcel with the whole idea that art has to have socially redeeming value and bring something to our lives, usually something of beauty. i think art, especially music, is in the unique position of showing us the ugly, naked, difficult and sublime. so much of music is self-described torment and it’s that torment with which we identify. now i’ll be honest, i don’t go around listening to 4’33” all day but i will say that when Apple released the piece as its free download of the day (it was an April fool’s joke) that not only was i amused but i was intrigued by the amount of ire it caused. and i DO go around listening to Stockhausen’s Gesang der Junglinge because i think it’s haunting and ethereal — even if it is electronic.

the comments on this youtube clip of Gesang de Junglinge describe the very conversation i was having today. and if i like this and think this is music, not because of some deep seeded intellectualism/elitism but because i really do like it and it speaks to me, what does that make me?

requiem aeternam
i guess it’s time for me to write about this since it’s been on my mind all day since yesterday…Casey Butler, a young freshman bassoonist at Peabody, died yesterday after passing out in her bassoon lesson. this has affected me on so many levels that it has astounded me, to be honest. first of all, the Peabody community is a small one and incredibly insular. something like this is felt immediately, even to those who are no longer in Baltimore. and for me, it’s even more personal in the fact that this is my studio, she was my colleague and a student of my teacher. this may be bias but i always considered the bassoon studio to be one of the closest at Peabody and my heart aches for my dear friends and my teacher. they held a memorial for her tonight and i’m sure it was an incredibly emotional experience.

on a personal note, i know what it’s like to lose someone close when they’re young and i’ve always felt like there’s nothing like the death of a teenager. death, of course, is never an easy thing to deal with but seeing a life so filled with hope and promise be taken away seems unjust in so many ways. no one believes it could be your friend, at a time in life when you feel invincible. i think that’s the thing that gets me the most and there’s nothing you can do about it. there’s a poignancy in that that’s inescapable.

my heart goes out to Casey’s family and of course to the Peabody community — my family.

(for more info, check here http://www.peabody.jhu.edu/4598)

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it’s that time again

in a few short days, i’ll find myself in the thick of it, at the 2010 AMS/SMT conference in Indianapolis, Indiana. as per usual, i’ll be blogging and tweeting all about it so look for the official conference hashtag #amsindy2010 and check back at AMB to catch my rundown after the dust has settled.

this year’s gonna be a doozy.

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thank god for the iphone: pics from AMS Philadelphia

have pictures from the conference? please share them!

ok so this first one is me in traffic by the Kissena Blvd exit on the LIE (which is where Queens College is) but i had to do it.

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acts of conspicuous symphonization

con⋅fer⋅ence  [kon-fer-uhns, -fruhns]
1. a meeting for consultation or discussion: a conference between a student and his adviser.
2. an event where like-minded people geek out over like-minded things. “I just got back from the AMS conference!”

okay, so i made up that last definition, but don’t you think that sums it up? AMS Philadelphia 2009 was great and just like any other academic conference, had its ups and downs. granted, the downs for me included getting lost, getting lost, getting lost, getting stuck in traffic, paying way too much money for tolls, driving for seven straight hours, getting lost and getting lost but the ups, both personal and professional overshadowed all of that.

(okay, maybe i still like the getting lost stories. they’re really rather funny.)

for the business side:
as per usual, i go to AMS to see other students, colleagues and professors, catch up and hopefully hear some interesting papers. saturday proved to be the best day all around: caught some really fascinating papers on Avant-Garde Diaspora, Luxe Pop and Pastiche and Neo-Classicism. saturday also happened to be the day where i saw the most people, had the best conversations and of course, attended the giant joint reception. (have to say, not a fan of the format and i’m sticking to that.) the big downside, however, to going to a four day conference is the toll it takes on your body and mind. as i sat diligently in the British Topics session, hearing about Constan Lambert and RVW, i found myself fighting to focus – and not because i wasn’t totally enthralled by the paper. my body had had it! which leads us to…

the personal side:
now last year at AMS in Nashville, i was the only Peabody student who attended. yeah, i had friends but it was a little lonely. it was nice this year to have other students and other Peabody professors there along with the slew of friends i’ve made over the years. went to some great dinners and lunches, saw Philly and enjoyed being in the company of other musicologists. if you’re interested in my thoughts in real time from the conference, check out my twitter feed at www.twitter.com/idmbassoon, for which, i’m sure, i’ve already gotten in trouble. (also do a search for #amsphilly2009 and see what other friends & musicologists were saying about the conference)

on the whole, the conference was great. sure, i went to some not-so-great papers but that’s to be expected. i learned enough but what i will take from it are the connections that have been made and cemented and the time spent.

oh yeah, and this:

(god, that will never stop being funny.)

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itunes playlist – #amsphilly09

my itunes driving playlist from baltimore to philly (with stops to newark and NYC in between. yes i know they’re not between baltimore & philadelphia. just forget it) in no particular order:

Aphrodisiac – Bow Wow Wow
All is Love – Karen O (Where the Wild Things Are Soundtrack)
Stand Back [Hani Radio Edit] – Stevie Nicks
Don’t Want To Hurt You – The Sounds
Hounds of Love – Kate Bush
L’appuntamento – Ornella Vanoni
Golden – Jill Scott (from Dave Chappelle’s Block Party)
The Baltimore Song – Spoke Ensemble
Don’t Worry About It – N.E.R.D
Boom Boom Pow – Black Eyed Peas
Loba – Shakira
I Get Crazy feat. Lil’ Wayne – Nicki Minaj
Itty Bitty Piggy – Nicki Minaj
The Glow of Love – Luther Vandross
Circus – Britney Spears
Off The Wall – Michael Jackson
Champion (Nick Catchdubs Remix) – Kanye West
In My Bed – Amy Winehouse
Estoy Aquí (Extended Remix) – Shakira
Golden Age – TV on the Radio
Middle Of The Road – The Pretenders
Bodysnatchers – Radiohead
HGP Anthem – Hybrid Groove Project
I Would Die 4 U – Prince
Send A Little Love Token – The Duke Spirit
Flashing Lights (Diplo Remix) – Kanye West
Stand And Deliver – No Doubt
Summertime – Will Smith
Drop It Like Its Hot – Snoop Dogg
Creator – Santogold
Celebration – Madonna
Nothing Can Come Between Us – Sade
Breezin’ – George Benson
White! (On The Floor) – Sa-Ra
Symphony no. 9 in E minor, op. 95 “From the New World”, III. Scherzo. Molto vivace – Antonin Dvořák (Philadelphia Orchestra, Sawallisch)
Lost! – Coldplay
Bamboo Banga – M.I.A.
You Know and I Know – Bebe & CeCe Winans
Kill Joy – N.E.R.D
Allentown – Billy Joel
Symphony no. 4 in F minor, op. 36, I. Andante sostenuto – Moderato con anima – Peter Illych Tchaikovsky (Philadelphia Orchestra, Muti)
Running up That Hill (A Deal With God) – Kate Bush
Pro Nails – Kid Sister
8th Wonder – The Gossip
Queen of Apology (Patrick Stump Remix) – The Sounds
This Is Why I’m Hot – M.I.M.S.

let the adventure begin.

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#amsphilly09: a countdown

okay you guys, a week from today (tomorrow? how do those things work exactly?) i’ll be piling in my trusty rental car and hitting the road to Philadelphia. i’ve been looking forward to the American Musicological Society conference for quite some time which probably speaks badly on my social life. oh well.

so stay tuned, sports fans! i’ll be posting a lot of pictures of myself, bloggers, musicologists, friends, professors and the city of brotherly love. it’ll be a nerdfest spectacular.

also #amsphilly09 is a hashtag on the twitter. search for it, check it out, use it.

till the great exodus, here’s a little old school fresh prince/dj jazzy jeff (as inspired by the ever amazing Dr. Mark Katz):

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