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By Karen Nikos-Rose on November 19, 2019

UC Davis Music Department Lands Honors

Contributed by Jeffrey Day, College of Letters and Science, and other writers

The American Musicology Society (AMS) has honored two professors, an alumna and a student in the UC Davis Department of Music.

Distinguished Professor Anna Maria Busse Berger has been elected an honorary member of the society. Busse Berger was recognized for creating “an innovative and original body of scholarship reflecting a lifelong commitment to understanding the role of memory in the transmission, performance and composition of music in Europe before the early modern era and in early 20th-century Africa.” She has been at UC Davis since 1988 and has won numerous awards.

Professor Carol A. Hess received the AMS award for a book in the teaching category for Experiencing Latin American Music. The book draws on identity, the body, religion and more as a point of departure for musical understanding. Hess (Ph.D., musicology, ’94) has been at UC Davis since 2012.

Ana R. Alonso-Minutti (M.A. ’04, Ph.D. ’08, musicology) received the Ruth A. Solie Award for co-editing Experimentalisms in Practice: Music Perspectives from Latin America. Alonso-Minutti is an associate professor of music at the University of New Mexico.

The Howard Mayer Brown Fellowship for a minority graduate in musicology was awarded to Serena Yang, a doctoral candidate in musicology. She is the first UC Davis student to earn the fellowship.

In addition to the AMS awards, associate professor Mika Pelo is one of 15 composers awarded a commission award from the Fromm Foundation at Harvard University. The foundation seeks to strengthen composition and to bring contemporary concert music closer to the public. In addition to the commissioning fee, a subsidy is available for the ensemble performing the premiere of the commissioned work. Pelo will collaborate with the Bay Area contemporary music ensemble Earplayfor the commission. Last year Pelo won a Guggenheim Fellowship. More information on these honors is on the College of Letters and Science web site.

Additionally, musicologist and former divisional dean at the College of Letters and Science Jessie Ann Owens was quoted in Classical Voice America for her essay “Uncovering the Secrets of the 1542 I madrigali a cinque voci," which accompanies a CD set.

The works, the article explains, “were written in close collaboration with the poet, whom Owens identifies as Giovanni Brevio (c. 1480-c. 1560), who wrote two, the first and last, and arranged the order of all others to tell the story of a love lost and the lover’s resignation to it. No. 9, Tu piangi, which ends CD 1, marks the pivotal emotional change.

The music is composed using modes rather than keys, with the mode of each reflecting the tenor of its text. Owens closes, “'With this print, (Cipriano de) Rore established the madrigal as a genre that celebrates the fusion of music and poetry.'"

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