Music Theory Department welcomes Joseph Straus for mini residency, two public lectures

Joseph Straus

As part of the Five Friends Master Class Series and the Robert Samels Visiting Scholar Program, the Music Theory Department will host a series of two public lectures by Joseph Straus, Distinguished Professor of Music at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. In addition, Straus’ visit will include guest-lecturing in a number of academic classes at the IU Jacobs School of Music between December 3 and 5.

Straus’ first public lecture is titled “Introduction to Disability Studies in Music” and will take place on Monday, Dec. 3 at 7:00 p.m. in Sweeney Hall. A second event, during the department’s weekly colloquium on Wednesday, Dec. 5 (3:30-5:00 p.m. in M267 in the Cook Music Library) will feature Straus’ lecture on “Stravinsky’s Aesthetics of Disability.”

Joseph Straus is the author of numerous books and articles on topics in twentieth-century music, including Twelve-Tone Music in America (2009), Introduction to Post-Tonal Theory (3rd ed., 2005), Stravinsky’s Late Music (2001), The Music of Ruth Crawford Seeger (1995), and Remaking the Past: Musical Modernism and the Influence of the Tonal Tradition (1990). His most recent publications, including Extraordinary Measures: Disability in Music (Oxford University Press, 2011), are among the first to bring to music the insights of Disability Studies. He is a former President of the Society for Music Theory.

Robert Samels

Robert Samels taught as an AI in the Jacobs School of Music Department of Music Theory. He was in charge of T231 (a sophomore aural skills course) and was loved and admired by his students. As a bass-baritone Samels appeared as Mr. Gibbs in the world-premiere of Our Town by Ned Rorem, as Marco in the collegiate premiere of William Bolcom’s A View from the Bridge, as well as Joseph and Herod in the collegiate premiere of El Niño by John Adams. In the spring of 2005, he was selected as a semi-finalist in the annual competition of the Oratorio Society of New York and, in September of that year, he conducted the premiere of his own opera Pilatvs. Samels began his vocal studies with Alfred Anderson at the University of Akron and Andreas Poulimenos at Bowling Green State University. He was a doctoral student in choral conducting at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music and studied voice with Giorgio Tozzi and Costanza Cuccaro.

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