Ritual, Material, and Sound Explored in Department Wide Workshop

Panel Discussion

For the first time, students and professors from the three subdisciplines of UChicago's music department (Composition, Ethnomusicology, and Music History and Theory) came together on Thursday, February 20th in the Logan Center for the Arts Performance Penthouse to celebrate the manifold connections between the traditional disciplinary partitions and examine the topics of ritual, material, and sound. In the first panel, theorist Steven Rings, music historian Berthold Hoeckner, and ethnomusicologists Philip Bohlman and Deborah Wong focused their collective attentions on the movement "Prayer" from University Professor Augusta Read Thomas's recent composition Resounding Earth, providing a diverse sampling of ways to approach, analyze, and appreciate the work.

Left to right: Lindsay Wright, Braxton Shelley,
Nadia Chana, Kate Pukinskis

Next, five graduate students (Nadia Chana, Ted Gordon, Kate Pukinskis, Braxton Shelley, and Lindsay Wright) presented short papers on current projects addressing ideas of the sacred, offering a rare opportunity to consider shared themes and methodologies between the subdisciplines. Lastly, a panel of Third Coast Percussion performers David Skidmore and Robert Dillon, ethnomusicology graduate student Alicia Jones, composition professor Anthony Cheung, and composition graduate student Tomas Gueglio facilitated a conversation with the audience addressing that afternoon's papers and proceedings.

This final conversation, as well as the symposium as a whole, demonstrated to all present how fruitful and invigorating such interdisciplinary collaborations within the community of the UChicago music department can be.

Photo and video content shot by Ted Gordon and edited by Luke Ramus, write-up by Lindsay Wright.