Current Institutional Affiliation
Adjunct Assistant Professor, Music, Franklin & Marshall College

Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 2005
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
Ethnomusicology, New York University (NYU)
“The Cultural Practice of Western European Art Music in Vienna: An Historical and Ethnographic Study of ‘Classical Music’ and the Viennese Racial Imagination”

My project is an ethnomusicology of "classical music," that is, an ethnographic study of the Western art music canon as a cultural practice in Vienna. As a scholarly concern, "classical music" has been constructed by music scholars and music critics as an autonomous, modernist object-that which, in its transcendent quality, has remained with few exceptions, beyond the disciplinary boundaries of the contextual studies central to ethnomusicology. Employing both historical and ethnographic methodologies and building upon my own frequent experiences of Viennese musical life since first living there in college, my work explores how classical music figures into Viennese conceptions of identity. I am specifically interested in the complex ways music as a cultural practice quietly marks the normative racial constituency of Vienna. Simply put, I seek to understand how the city's art music heritage has been and remains an implicit expression of a dominant racial formation. My project recovers the cultural labor of Viennese Jews within the art music world of Vienna during the period of their assimilation. In its ethnography-based focus upon specific Viennese meanings of the music as a cultural practice, it restores classical music to the Viennese. Finally, by studying classical music I both work towards breaking down disciplinary boundaries between musicology and ethnomusicology, and, by focusing upon, race, particularly a dominant racial formation, expand the critical frames for studying expressive cultures of dominant or normative racial formations.