2018 Candidate Bios: Member-at-Large

Philip Ewell (Ph.D., Music Theory, Yale University, 2001; M.A., Cello Performance, Queens College, CUNY, 1991; B.A., Music, Stanford University, 1989) is Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies at Hunter College, CUNY, where he has taught since 2009. He is also on the music theory faculty at the CUNY Graduate Center. He previously held positions at the University of Tennessee–Knoxville and North Central College. His research specialties include Russian music and music theory, 20th- and 21st-century music, pitch-class set theory, modal theory, and Russian rap and hiphop. He has writings published in Music Theory OnlineMusic and PoliticsJournal of Schenkerian Studies, and Popular Music, among other journals. His “Rethinking Octatonicism: Views from Stravinsky’s Homeland” (Music Theory Online 18.4) won the CUNY-wide Feliks Gross Award in 2012. He was the founding editor of Gamut: Online Journal of the Music Theory Society of the Mid-Atlantic, and he has served SMT as member (2004–2007) and chair (2007–2010) of the Committee on Diversity. He has twice been a recipient of an SMT subvention grant for publication, and he currently serves as Vice President of the Music Theory Society of New York State. In addition to U.S. appearances, he has given papers at national and international conferences in Belgium, Costa Rica, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Russia, and the United Kingdom. Recent research focuses on the music of Rimsky-Korsakov and Russian interpretations of tonality and mode. He has also generally worked with the voluminous writings of brother and sister Yuri Kholopov and Valentina Kholopova and has presented their concepts at conferences and in English translation. His most recent writings in the field of popular-music studies examine Russian rap and hip-hop. As a cellist, in addition to his American training, he studied in Russia at the St. Petersburg Conservatory with Anatoly Nikitine in the early 1990s. He is both a classical and a contemporary musician, playing either acoustic or electric cello.

Scott Murphy (Ph.D., Eastman School of Music, University of Rochester, 2004; M.M. and B.M., Musicology/Music Composition and Music Theory/Music Composition, University of Kansas, 1997 and 1994) is Professor of Music at the University of Kansas, where he has been teaching since 2001. The topics of his publications broadly range from J.S. Bach’s Art of Fugue to Penderecki’s Paradise Lost, but also focus on the music of Brahms and music for popular film and television. His articles have appeared or are forthcoming in Intégral; Journal of Music Theory; Music AnalysisMusic, Sound, and the Moving ImageMusic Theory and Analysis; Music Theory OnlineMusic Theory SpectrumPerspectives of New MusicTwentieth-Century Music, and elsewhere. He has also contributed research to the books Oxford Handbook of Film Music StudiesTerror Tracks, The Music of Fantasy Cinema, Lexikons Schriften über Musik, and the forthcoming Handbuch Musikanalyse. He received the 2009 Emerging Scholar Award from the Society for Music Theory for his article on Brahms’s op. 25. He is currently editing a volume of essays entitled Brahms and the Shaping of Time for University of Rochester Press. He has been on SMT’s annual conference program nine times, regularly presents talks both regionally and internationally, and has given numerous invited lectures in the United States, the most recent of which was “A Wisdom of Music” on Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music’s “Thinking About Music” series last November. He has engaged in scholarly outreach to lay audiences: his 2015 YouTube video on film music harmony has over 1.4 million views. He has served Music Theory Midwest in many ways, including its President (2011–2013), chair of the Program Committee (2011), and member of the Executive Board (2006–2008). He has served SMT as the founding editor of the video journal SMT-V (2014–2017), Program Committee (2013), and on the editorial board of Music Theory Online (2007–2009).

Nancy Yunhwa Rao (Ph.D., Music Theory, University of Michigan, 1994; B.A., Music, Taiwan Normal University, 1983) is Professor and Head of Music Theory at Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University. She is also affiliate faculty at Department of Asian Languages and Cultures and Department of Women’s and Gender Studies. Previously she taught at Oberlin Conservatory and Florida International University. She was a visiting associate professor at Princeton University and currently holds a visiting professorship at Shanghai Conservatory of Music. Her research includes three areas: (1) American ultra-modernism: the music of Ruth Crawford, Henry Cowell, and Elliott Carter, sketch studies, American composition theory of 1920–1950, and women composers; (2) Exploration of global perspectives in contemporary Chinese music: historical context, cultural references, music gestures, vocal style, and percussion patterns of Beijing opera in contemporary music by composers of Chinese origin; and (3) Musical history of Chinese in North America: this has led to writings on analysis of opera arias, playbills, transnationalism, and gendered performance. Her research has been supported by CSCC Fellowship from ACLS (2003), NEH Research Fellowship (2004), Epstein Award from Music Library Association (2011), and Parsons Award from Library of Congress (2013). Her articles (in both English and Chinese) have appeared in Music Theory Spectrum, Perspectives of New Music, The Musical Quarterly, Cambridge Opera Journal, American Music, Journal of the Society for American Music, 19th Century Music Review, Contemporary Music Review, Ethnomusicology Forum, Notes, The Art of Music (Journal of the Shanghai Conservatory of Music, New Music in China, Ewha Music Journal, etc., as well as six essay collections. Her book Chinatown Opera Theater in North America (University of Illinois Press, 2017) received a Subvention Grant from AMS 75 PAYS Endowment. In addition to service on the Music Theory Society of the Mid-Atlantic as Vice President (2015–2018), she chaired the SMT Diversity Committee (2002–2004) and the Nomination Committee (2009), served on the editorial boards of Music Theory Online (2011–2014) and Elliott Carter Studies Online (2015–present), and was a member of the SMT Program Committee (2006) and Committee on the Status of Women (1994–1997). She was recently appointed to the AMS Publications Committee (2018–2021). She gave keynote addresses for the Hong Kong Composer Guild Festival and Symposium (2013) and the Taiwan Musicology Forum (2009), as well as presenting a Botkin Lecture at the Library of Congress (2017). The Society for American Music awarded her essay “Ruth Crawford’s Imprint on Contemporary Composition” the 2009 Irving Lowens Article Award.

Leigh VanHandel (Ph.D., Stanford University, 2005; M.A., Music Theory, Stony Brook, 1994; B.A., Music Theory, The Ohio State University, 1992) is Associate Professor of Music Theory at Michigan State University, where she has been teaching since 2005. She also holds a courtesy appointment in the Cognitive Science program at Michigan State. She previously held positions at the University of Oregon and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her research interests focus on music cognition, music theory pedagogy, the relationship between language and music, computer applications in music research and pedagogy, and how all of those things are inter-related. She is currently acting as editor for The Routledge Companion to Music Theory Pedagogy (Routledge Press, forthcoming in 2019). Her research has appeared in Music Perception, the Journal of Music Theory Pedagogy, the Journal of New Music Research, Empirical Musicology Review, and several other journals. She has presented at numerous regional, national, and international conferences for music theory and music cognition, and has given numerous invited lectures in the U.S., Canada, England, and Austria. She is the author of Music Theory Skill Builder, a web-based fundamentals development environment which was developed with the support of MSU’s Vice Provost for Libraries, Computing and Technology, and has been licensed and distributed by Oxford University Press. Her research has been supported by multiple grants from Michigan State University, including a 2016–2017 sabbatical at McGill University supported by the Associate Provost for Faculty and Academic Staff Development; she has also received grants from the Humanities and Arts Research Program and received a Lilly Teaching Fellowship in 2007–2008. She has recently been appointed as a member of the College Board Advanced Placement Music Theory Development Committee, with her term starting in 2018–2019. Her service to SMT has included acting as a member of the Program Committee (2014), serving on the Networking Committee (2003–2005), acting as Web Manager (2005–2009), and as a member and web manager for the Committee on the Status of Women (2000–2005). She has served in multiple service roles for Music Theory Midwest and the West Coast Conference for Music Theory and Analysis. She has been, or currently is, a member of the editorial boards for Music Theory Spectrum, Music Theory Online, and the Journal of Music Theory Pedagogy Online.