Month: August 2020

Online Music Ensembles for Students

Music Department Student Ensembles – Fall 2020
All Stony Brook students are eligible to participate in Music Department ensembles. These 1-credit classes are offered completely online in Fall 2020:

Stony Brook Chorale – MUS 261
Monday evenings
Camerata Singers – MUS 271
Wednesday Evenings
Conducted by Shoshana Hershkowitz

Stony Brook Choral Ensembles will be holding auditions via Zoom for new members on August 24th and August 26th from 6-8:30 pm. Sign up online here: Students should prepare a song they are comfortable singing. Students auditioning for Camerata Singers should be prepared to sight sing an 8 measure exercise. All students who are interested will be placed in a choral ensemble.

West African Drumming and Dance – MUS 235 and MUS 335
Thursday Evenings
Conducted by JB Gnonlonfoun
MUS 235 and MUS 335 classes online this fall 2020 will consist of history, live performance videos watching and discussion, interviews of professional  performers, singing and dancing of selected West African drumming pieces from Ghana, Benin and Togo.
Marching Arts Appreciation – MUS 268 (SBU Athletic Band)

Monday evenings (but can be completely asynchronous)
Directed by Justin Stolarik
For Fall 2020 only, this fun 1-credit online course will focus on the marching arts and band culture, while also offering virtual performance and limited in-person opportunities for those interested. Exposure to multiple styles of marching bands and other unique musical genres will broaden your cultural knowledge of music. Weekly seminars in special topics such as the basics of conducting, score reading, and arranging, as well as teaching and leadership fundamentals, will develop rudimentary and intermediate knowledge of the arts and musical leadership. MUS 268 can be taken both synchronously (Mondays 7:00p-9:00p EDT) or asynchronously (or a combination of both), and allows you to pick and choose topics/activities based on your interests. There is no requirement for access to musical instruments or equipment. Experience reading music is suggested but not required. Open to all students.
University Orchestra – MUS 262
Tuesday Evenings
Conducted by Susan Deaver

The University Orchestra is open to non-majors as well as Music Majors/Minors and is usually an orchestra of 75 undergraduate students.  This fall the University Orchestra will meet online on Tuesday evenings between 6:30 and 9:20 p.m with the projected goal of recording and producing a “virtual” concert. Auditioning students should send a link to their audition video to Susan Deaver, conductor of the University Orchestra at  Audition Video Requirements (limit video to five-minutes or less and submit by August 23 if possible):  include two short contrasting sections of a solo or concerto of the student’s choice OR two contrasting orchestra excerpts from Continuing members of the University Orchestra do not need to re-audition although they do have the option to do so if they wish.

Jazz Ensemble – MUS 264
Monday Evenings
Jazz Combos – MUS 267 or MUS 289
Beginning Improvisation – MUS 189
Directed by Ray Anderson
Everyone should first register for the classes. If you have already been in an ensemble you probably won’t need to audition. Professor Anderson will contact you to let you know. Intro video.

We will study Jazz through the lens of small jazz ensembles. We will concentrate on the two essential tensions in the music: between composition and improvisation, and between individual and group. There will be an emphasis on the Afro-American cultural roots of the music. We will be exploring both individual and group styles of expression, tracing influences and innovations. We meet once a week to discuss what we’re working on and listen to each other.

We will study Jazz and Improvised music through the lens of the big band. We will be studying history, analyzing scores, and listening intently to study balance, blend, articulation, dynamics, style and expression. There will be an emphasis on the Afro-American cultural roots of the music. Over the 12 weeks of the semester we will concentrate on 4 different big band arrangements. If possible, we will assemble a recording of these by combining everyone’s recorded parts. There will be guest lecturers coming to share their professional history and insights.

In this course you will learn to play jazz by practicing daily on your instrument and playing in class. Harmony, melody, phrasing, rhythm and the study of the African-American roots of jazz will be included.

Wind Ensemble – MUS 263
Wednesday Evenings
Conducted by Bruce Engel

The Stony Brook Wind Ensemble (Symphonic Band) explores, rehearses, and performs the great classics from Bach to Broadway. Due to the Covid-19 circumstances, special attention may be given to the performance of chamber wind ensemble works. This may necessitate, duo, trio, quartet, etc. preparation and production of wind ensemble and chamber wind works. The course will meet synchronously (during designated class time), Wednesday evenings from 6:00-8:45 PM) with the possibility of synchronous meetings if deemed necessary. All classes will meet via Zoom. A video will be produced as the culmination of the semester’s work. All students will be required to have a microphone and camera set up on their computer, as weekly individual submissions of the practiced and prepared music will be required. All students are welcome but new members are required to audition for seating placement only.

Undergraduate Chamber Music – MUS 391
Meeting times based on members’ schedules
Directed by Joanna Kaczorowska
Auditions for placement will take place on Wednesday, August 26 from 12:00 – 2:00 pm. Email for audition information.

Musicology Professor Erika Honisch Featured on the Premiere of “Sound Expertise”

Episode 101 of Sound Expertise

honischWhat if harmony isn’t just about sounding good, but also about living together in a fractious time? How did sacred music in early modern Prague shape how people of different faiths existed alongside each other? A conversation with Erika Supria Honisch, Assistant Professor of History/Theory (and Affiliate Faculty in History Department) at Stony Brook University.

If you’re interested in learning more about Prof Honisch’s work, follow her on Twitter as @DrCanonic and check out:

Sound Expertise is hosted by Will Robin (@seatedovation), and produced by D. Edward Davis (@warmsilence). Please subscribe via Apple PodcastsStitcher, and/or Spotify. Questions or comments? Email williamlrobin@ gmail

Using Violin Synchronization to Learn About Better Networking

Sixteen violinists participating in the networking experiment in which they are connected to a computer system hearing only the sound received from the computer. Photo by Chen Damari

Sixteen violinists participating in the networking experiment in which they are connected to a computer system hearing only the sound received from the computer. Photo by Chen Damari

Titled “The Synchronization of Complex Human Networks,” the study was conceived by Elad Shniderman, a graduate student in the Department of Music in the College of Arts and Sciences at Stony Brook University, and scientist Moti Fridman, PhD, at the Institute of Nanotechnology and Advanced Materials at Bar-llan University. He co-authored the paper with Daniel Weymouth, PhD, associate professor of Composition and Theory in the Department of Music and scientists at Bar-llan and the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel. The collaboration was initiated at the Fetter Museum of Nanoscience and Art.

The research team devised an experiment involving 16 violinists with electric violins connected to a computer system. Each violinist had sound-canceling headphones, hearing only the sound received from the computer. All violinists played a simple repeating musical phrase and tried to synchronize with other violinists according to what they heard in their headphones.


Full article:

Link to study:

Professor Margarethe Adams Publishes New Book About Postsocialist Music in Kazakhstan

adamsSteppe Dreams: Time, Mediation, and Postsocialist Celebrations in Kazakhstan, Central Eurasia in Context, University of Pittsburgh Press, June 16, 2020.  Amazon link.

Steppe Dreams concerns the political significance of temporality in Kazakhstan, as manifested in public events and performances, and its reverberating effects in the personal lives of Kazakhstanis. Like many holidays in the post-Soviet sphere, public celebrations in Kazakhstan often reflect multiple temporal framings—utopian visions of the future, or romanticized views of the past—which throw light on present-day politics of identity. Adams examines the political, public aspects of temporality and the personal and emotional aspects of these events, providing a view into how time, mighty and unstoppable, is experienced in Kazakhstan.

“This book engagingly describes how time and space, sound and belief, celebration and memory are negotiated by contemporary Kazakhstani citizens. It is a beautifully written work of cultural studies that provides both an overview for the novice and new insights for the expert.”—Laura Adams, Harvard University

“In vigorous and accessible language, Steppe Dreams deftly illuminates post-Soviet Kazakhstan’s ubiquitous culture of public festivity, celebration, and pilgrimage as a window into the construction of Kazakhstani nationhood. Margarethe Adams is an insightful ethnographer and graceful writer whose broad knowledge of life in Kazakhstan comes alive on every page.”—Theodore Levin, Arthur R. Virgin Professor of Music, Dartmouth College

“Margarethe Adams shows us that the Soviet past is never past, that time lingers in pools of memory, structures, habits, celebrations, the arts and politics. The legacies of a transformative empire endure even in the visions of an alternative future in what seems a precarious and unending pursuit of an elusive happiness. Based on extensive fieldwork in Kazakhstan, Adams explores the nationalizing processes in the independent post-Soviet republic — the revival of Kazakh folk music, the calendar of holidays new and old – as well as the stubborn ideological reminders of the Soviet era. This is a masterwork of thick description of complex cultures in flux that speaks to larger theoretical issues of temporality, memory, and the affective affiliations to nation.”—Ronald Grigor Suny, The University of Michigan

About the Author
Margarethe Adams, assistant professor at Stony Brook University, is an ethnomusicologist specializing in music and popular culture in Central Asia. She has conducted ethnographic research in Kazakhstan, northwest China, and Mongolia, and has published in Collaborative Anthropologies and The SAGE International Encyclopedia of Music and Culture. Her work investigates temporality and politics in postsocialist culture, and her current research examines popular forms of religion and spirituality, including Muslim pilgrimage, religious healing, and Korean evangelical practices in Kazakhstan.

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