Presenter Bios

Session 1: 11am-12:30pm

Connections in Wyschnegradsky’s Preludes

Saad Haddad

Saad Haddad (b. 1992) is a composer of orchestral, chamber, vocal, and electroacoustic music who achieves a “remarkable fusion of idioms” (New York Times), most notably in his work exploring the disparate qualities inherent in Western art music and Middle Eastern musical tradition. Born in the state of Georgia and raised in California, Haddad holds degrees in composition from the Juilliard School and the University of Southern California. He currently divides his time between Los Angeles and New York, where he currently serves as a Dean’s Fellow in Composition at Columbia University.

Complex Leitmotif: Shifting Musical Semiotic Relations in Epic Anime

Brent Ferguson and TJ Laws-Nicola

Brent is currently a doctoral student in music theory at the University of Kansas. He graduated from the University of Texas at San Antonio with a degree in music composition in 2007 and graduated from Texas State University with a master’s degree in music theory in 2011. He is also an active composer and performer of the classical guitar. Brent serves as the director of the classical guitar program at Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas.


TJ is currently a graduate student in music history at Texas State University where they also achieved a bachelor’s degree in music performance studying under Bridgette Bellini in 2011. Both Nico Schüler and John Schmidt have been pivotal as graduate mentors in guiding TJ’s research. TJ has presented research at conferences throughout the United States, Europe and Asia. As a performer, TJ champions new music by living composers.

Instruments of Change: Musical Decolonization and Bolivia’s Orquesta de Instrumentos Nativos

Rachel Horner

Rachel Horner is a graduate student pursuing a master’s degree in musicology at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. She also holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Rutgers, where she studied Spanish and music education. In her research, Rachel explores the intersections between music, sound, language, and identity. Her master’s thesis, the result of an ongoing ethnographic project, argues for a focus on music and sound as central components of the creation and maintenance of regional identity within the Fallas festival in València, Spain.

Session 2: 1:30-3pm

Descartes' Listening Subject and the Resonance of the Passionate Body

Stephen Kovaciny

A native New Yorker, Stephen Kovaciny is a doctoral candidate at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. One of Stephen’s colleagues there recently described him as “a theorist with a musicology problem,” a description that he simply adores. His dissertation investigates aspects of exteriority and interiority in the writings of Michel-Paul Guy de Chabanon and Jean-Philippe Rameau as they relate to broader anthropologies of phenomenology, language, and aesthetics in early modern auditory culture. Recent paper presentations include the Midwest Music Research Collective, the Midwest Chapter Meeting of the American Musicological Society, and the annual meeting of the Society for Music Theory. He will be presenting a paper of Rameau’s changing views of the ear and hearing at the Music Theory Society of New York State’s annual conference this April.

German-Jewish Identity and the Music of the New Reform Temple of Berlin, 1815-1823

Samuel Teeple

As a first year PhD student in Musicology at the CUNY Graduate Center, Samuel Teeple’s most recent work investigates the role of music in early Reform Judaism. Prior to his move to New York, he completed Master’s degrees in Music History and Tuba Performance at Bowling Green State University. His other research centers questions of identity, disability, and gender in various arenas, interests drawn from his undergraduate concentration in Queer Studies. In the classroom, Teeple is a passionate teacher who seeks to decolonize the music history curriculum and instill a critical mindset within each of his students.

“The music you listen to is who you are, and who you want to be:”

Techniques of spiritual listening and self-discipline with The Overflow

Sonja Wermager

Sonja Wermager is a third-year PhD candidate in the Historical Musicology program at Columbia University. She is interested in the relationship between music and religion, particularly during the Reformation and in the Kunstreligion Phenomenon of the nineteenth century.

Session 3: 3:15-4:45pm

Influences of Bluegrass and Radiohead on Metric Complexity in the Punch Brothers

Rachel Hottle

Originally from Gettysburg, PA, Rachel Hottle is a first-year music theory M.A. student at McGill University. Prior to studying at McGill, Rachel completed a B.A. in music and biology at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania. Her primary research interests include popular music analysis, meter and form, and listeners’ emotional responses to music. She works as a research assistant in the Music Perception and Cognition lab at McGill under the direction of Prof. Stephen McAdams, where she is working on the ACTOR project (Analysis, Creation, and Teaching of Orchestration).

Beats and Brotherhood: The DIY Hip-Hop Recording Studio as Black Public Sphere

Jasmine Henry

Henry is a third-year Musicology Ph.D. student and part-time lecturer at Rutgers University. Her dissertation research focuses on do-it-yourself (DIY) music-making practices in contemporary hip-hop/R&B music. This past November, she presented at AMS’ “Rethinking Amateurism” session. You may find her forthcoming publications in the Journal of the Society for American Music and Journal of Pan African Studies. As an audio engineer, she has gained on-set and backstage experience from critically acclaimed productions such as HBO’s The Newsroom, Broadway’s Chicago, and the Blue Man Group. Currently, Jasmine serves as the Rutgers University Musicological Society’s president.

Gendering the Home Studio: Intimacy and Virtual Space in the Music of Agnes Obel and Imogen Heap

Michèle Duguay

Michèle Duguay is a doctoral student in music theory at the Graduate Center, CUNY, where she also completed a Certificate Program in Women’s Studies. She currently teaches at the City College of New York. Her research interests include the intersection of popular music analysis and gender studies, the music of Pink Floyd, and contemporary piano music. Her dissertation explores the construction of virtual space in recorded popular music. She previously received an M.A. in music theory from McGill University.

Keynote Address: 5pm-6pm

Music and the Aesthetics of Speed in the Caribbean

Dr. Jessica Swanston Baker

Jessica Swanston Baker is an ethnomusicologist who specializes in contemporary popular music of and in the Circum-Caribbean. Her research and critical interests include tempo and aesthetics, coloniality, decolonization, and race/gender and respectability. As a Caribbeanist, her work focuses on issues within Caribbean theory pertaining to small islands-nations such as representation and invisibility, vulnerability, and sovereignty. Her current ethnographic book project, Too Fast: Music, Coloniality, and Time in St. Kitts and Nevis examines the relationship between tempo perception and gendered and raced legacies of colonization. Through historical and ethnographic analysis of polysemantic colloquialisms and music reception, she argues that colonial understandings of black femininity, and Enlightenment notions of musicianship frame local perceptions of wylers, a style of Kittitian-Nevisian popular music, as “too fast.” Her most recent article, “Black Like Me: Caribbean Tourism and the St. Kitts Music Festival,” takes up music tourism as a second area of research interest. This work centers on black diasporic travel between the United States and the Caribbean, and the performance and consumption of American soul music within the context of Caribbean music festivals.

Jessica holds a Ph.D. in ethnomusicology from the University of Pennsylvania and a B.M. in Vocal Performance from Bucknell University. Prior to her faculty appointment at Chicago, Jessica was the 2015-16 postdoctoral fellow in Critical Caribbean Studies at Rutgers University.