News from a few of our many alumni...

Gabriel Alfieri, who received master's degrees from NEC in both vocal pedagogy and music history and is now a Ph.D. candidate in musicology at Boston University, will present two conference papers in the spring of 2012: "War, Intertextuality, and Pop Art: Reassessing Cumming's We Happy Few" at the meeting of the Society for American Music, and "The Sonnet in Elizabethan Song: Progressive Poetics, Italian Influences, and William Byrd" (based on his master's thesis from NEC) at the conference of the Renaissance Society of America. Other presenters at the RSA meeting in March will include NEC alumna Wendy Heller and NEC faculty member Rebecca Cypess.


Mark F. DeWitt ('90 MM) started work in July 2010 as Professor of Music, occupying the Dr. Tommy Comeaux Endowed Chair in Traditional Music, at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. In this newly created position, Mark will be developing a B.A. degree program and research center in traditional music at an institution situated in a region known as an incubator for Cajun music, zydeco, blues, and other American vernacular musics. This appointment follows the 2008 publication of his book by University Press of Mississippi: Cajun and Zydeco Dance Music in Northern California: Modern Pleasures in a Postmodern World. Mark writes, "Musicology trains the musicians to become more articulate about the music they make, which helps in interview situations with the media as well as in writing grants, reviews, and whatever other projects present themselves."

For Mark, musicology courses at NEC "opened my eyes and ears to new ways of hearing and thinking about music."


For composer and teacher Michael Ellison ('91 BM), courses in ethnomusicology with Bob Labaree inspired programs like this one. In his capacity as a faculty member in composition at the University of Bristol (UK), he also advises new dissertations in musicology.


Vera Kochanowsky ('81 MM) majored in early music at NEC, and studied musicology with Julia Sutton and Anne Hallmark. She has founded two ensembles that specialize in early music, including Carmina. In her career as a harpsichordist, chamber musician, singer, teacher, and choral conductor, she puts her musicological skills to work often, especially as she plans programs, researches and writes program notes, transcribes scores from early notation, and considers issues of performance practice.

"Musicological research has been a necessary component of my work," says Vera.

Emily Laurance received her MM from NEC in the spring of 1989 in harp performance. She worked as the Music History department assistant and as a teaching assistant for Music History courses. She earned her PhD in Musicology from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2003 (MA, 1994), receiving the Glen Haydon Outstanding Dissertation award. While at Chapel Hill Emily was active as a professional harpist, working with multiple orchestras, ballets, and opera companies. She served on the faculties of UNC-Chapel Hill and Duke as a harp instructor, but until about 2000, her performance and scholarship remained separate. Then she developed a long-term collaboration with the tenor Thomas Gregg, now on the faculty of Boston Conservatory, specializing in a little-known repertoire of song with harp accompaniment published in the late 18th and early 19th centuries; they first focused on American works for voice and harp, but gradually excavated repertoire from Italy, France, and Britian as well. Because this music was fairly obscure she wrote program notes for concerts and put her musicological skills to work to shed light on the music she was playing. This project earned her grants from the American Antiquarian Society (2001) the Harry Ransom Center (2007), and ASECS (also 2007); most notably, it provided the basis for a post-doctoral fellowship at the Kluge Center at the Library of Congress for the academic year 2005-2006.  Over time Emily's work has evolved into a book-length project on the harp in America from the mid 18th through the mid 19th century, in which she explores the harp as a symbol of the Romantic age and its uneasy fit with America's changing cultural identity at the turn of the 19th century. Her work has led to performances, residencies, and lecture-recitals at the American Harp Society, the American Musicological Society, the Library of Congress and the Society for American Music. With her expertise in both performance and musicology, she has expertise that very few people share; she has found a research specialty in which she feels she is making a real contribution.

With expertise in both performance and musicology, Emily has "found a research specialty in which I feel I am making a real contribution and that integrates my two musical selves."


After NEC, Margarita Restrepo earned an M.A. in Music History and Literature from Boston University in 1991 and, after a break of about ten years, started her Ph.D. at Brandeis, which she earned in 2009. Since graduating from Brandeis, she has been a member of the Music Faculty of the Walnut Hill School for the Arts in Natick, MA, which has a joint program with NEC. (In fact, about nine of her students will be entering the NEC Freshman Class in the Fall of 2011.) She teaches Music History and Music Theory. Her conference presentations include "A composer travels to the Middle East: Francisco Guerrero's Viage de Hierusalem (Valencia, 1590)," read at the 2011 meeting of the Renaissance Society of America in Montreal. Margarita has worked on other projects; one that she is particularly proud of is her critical edition of the Requiem Masses of Juan de Herrera (c.1670-1738), a composer at the Santa Fe de Bogotá Cathedral, which led to a CD and performances of Herrera’s five- and eight-voice Requiem Masses in Colombia, France and Venezuela.


Mehmet Ali Sanlikol ('00 MM, '04 DMA) has recently published a book about the so-caled "Ottoman Janissary Bands" entitled The Musician Mehters. He began resaerch for the book in Helen Greenwald's DMA seminar at NEC, and was mentored throughout his DMA studies by Bob Labaree and Anne Hallmark. Mehmet is president of DUNYA, a musical organization that seeks to "present a contemporary view of a wide range of Turkish traditions, alone and in interaction with other world traditions, through performance, publication and other educational activities." Mehmet has taught ethnomusicology at Brown University, Tufts University, and Emerson College.

Mehmet says that musicology faculty member Bob Labaree "played an important role while I was writing the book during the past two years."