See also: SMR Alumni and Pets of SMR.

Lydia Bangura (, Music Theory Photo

Lydia Bangura (she/her) is a singer and a pre-candidate in music theory. She also holds a bachelor’s degree from Northern Arizona University and a master’s degree from Roosevelt University, both in vocal performance. Bangura was selected in 2022 as an associate artist at the Atlantic Center for the Arts in New Smyrna Beach, Florida, where she had the honor of studying with mentor artist Dr. Philip Ewell. She is the founder and host of the music research podcast series, Her Music Academia, and is on the editorial board for the Society for Music Theory’s official podcast, SMT–Pod. Bangura also currently serves as the student representative on SMT’s Standing Committee on Race and Ethnicity. Her research interests include the intersection of performance and analysis, theory pedagogy, Black feminism/womanism in Black women’s music, and the instrumental works of Florence Price. Also a lifelong music performer, Bangura has experience studying violin, viola, and voice. She was recently the recipient of the National Association of Teachers of Singing Dillard Scholar Award. Her recent operatic roles include Musetta in Puccini’s La Boheme, Alcina in Handel’s Alcina, Marcellina in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro, Amore in Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice, and the solo soprano in Judith Weir’s one woman show, King Harald’s Saga.

AJ Banta (, Historical Musicology Photo

AJ Banta (they/he) is a historical musicology pre-candidate. They hold a BA in music and theatre from Muhlenberg College, with respective concentrations in vocal performance and performance studies. Their research focuses on gender, sexuality, and race in American vocal music and musical theatre. Outside of the academic sphere, he enjoys singing in choral ensembles and getting lost in a good novel.

Emma Beachy (, Historical Musicology Photo

Emma Beachy is a PhD pre-candidate in historical musicology. She holds bachelor degrees in music and history from Bethel College. Her main research interest is in Black American music and the ways that economic constraint and opportunity shaped race and gender dynamics within this tradition and the music industry in the United States in the mid-to-late twentieth century.

Clay Conley (, Ethnomusicology Photo

Clay Conley (they/them) is an ethnomusicology pre-candidate. They hold a BA in Music and Gender and Sexuality Studies from Swarthmore College. Their current research focuses on contemporary western popular music and live performance as they intersect with theories of gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, and Posthumanism. Outside of the classroom they are a personal trainer and GroupX instructor through UM RecSports, Vice President of the UM Weightlifting Team, and multi-Instrumentalist and singer-songwriter. Ask me about my bread!

Piper Foulon (, Historical Musicology Photo

Piper Foulon (she/her) is a PhD candidate in historical musicology. She holds bachelor degrees in history and music from Pacific Lutheran University, where she completed thesis projects on the incidental music of The Bedbug by Dmitri Shostakovich, and on architectural conservation during the Siege of Leningrad. Her current research focuses on defining the musical uncanny in the context of the Russian avant-garde at the turn of the twentieth century. In her spare time, Piper enjoys writing songs, sewing, and laughing.

Michaela Franzen (, Historical Musicology

Michaela Franzen is a doctoral candidate in historical musicology. She completed her undergraduate work at Oakland University, receiving degrees in music education and vocal performance. Her research interests include twentieth-century Russian music, music and migration, and sound studies, and she has presented her work at international conferences. Her dissertation examines Sergei Prokofiev’s émigré period, rejecting former narratives of an “inevitable” Soviet return and querying the role of his Parisian context in his personal and compositional transformation, and the extent to which he found professional success in Paris. Michaela co-edits the online journal Music and Politics in the Moment. In her free time, she loves to cook, swim, and spend time with her feisty puppy Rey.

Angelina Gibson (, Historical Musicology Photo

Angelina Gibson is a first-year Historical Musicology PhD pre-candidate and a recent graduate (magna cum laude) of Augustana University in Sioux Falls, South Dakota where she majored in Music (piano), English (literature emphasis), and religion, all with distinction.

While at Augustana, Gibson served as an internationally-certified Writing Center tutor from 2019 and became its inaugural Assistant Director in 2021. A passionate advocate for linguistic justice and writing education, Gibson remains dedicated to assisting others in finding their unique, authentic writerly voice. Gibson is the 2022 Concerto-Aria winner, 2022 Christmas Vespers soloist, and attained honors in music for her senior lecture-recital, titled “Seeking the Wanderer: An Interdisciplinary Analysis of Franz Schubert’s ‘Wanderer’ Fantasie.” Gibson also pursued religion and English departmental honors through independent research theses: Sirens of the Dancing Lights: Why Create in the World of the Creator?”—which reflected upon her personal authorship in light of God as a creating being through her own original dance-theater production—and “Reading Liberty: Gender, Image, and Text in ‘The New Colossus’ and the Statue of Liberty During the Trump Administration”, an analysis of the poem and statue in response to the Trump immigration bans. Gibson has also been the recipient of academic awards such as the Augustana University Covenant Award for Excellence, alternate for the Nobel Peace Scholars, and the Arthur Olsen Research Symposium’s “Lifelong Learner” award for “Reading Liberty.”

An invested collaborator, Gibson founded Augustana’s first fine arts dance company, The ArtiTänzer Project, which eventually led to her longtime collaboration with Dr. Yi Chun Lin’s Sioux Falls Chamber Music Collective as both a choreographer and pianist. Gibson’s research and writing has been published in the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra’s Centennial program books, The Clarinet Online, and Venture (Augustana’s creative arts journal), thus far. Her research at the University of Michigan orients around music-image-law relations in American white nationalism/supremacy and America at large, with particular emphases on January 6th and politics.

Julian Grey (, Ethnomusicology Photo

Julian Grey (they/them) is a candidate in ethnomusicology. Their dissertation, titled Non-Binary Drag: A Trans* Musicology of Sensation and Interperformativity, explores gender euphoria in the musical performances of trans* and non-binary drag artists in the United States. Prior to the pandemic, they researched queer Arab identities in Palestine-Israel. They won a 2020 Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad fellowship for this work but were unable to attend due to the pandemic. Julian’s work draws upon their interests in Deep Listening, the use of language, social media, and seeking joy, daily, as a trans* person in the U.S. Julian holds a B.A. in music from SUNY Stony Brook and an M.M. in Musicology (historical) from Northwestern University. Outside academia, Julian enjoys live-streaming video games, performing drag, coding in Python, and working as a professional drag and burlesque photographer.

Cecilia Hiros (, Music Theory Photo

Cecilia is a pre-candidate in the Music Theory department. She has completed two bachelor’s degrees in Harp Performance and Music Theory at the University of Michigan. Cecilia’s research is centered around the intersection of Disability Studies and Music Theory, studying the perception and embodiment of music learning and performance of disabled musicians. When she is not studying or teaching she enjoys spending her time playing video games and rock climbing.

Kelly Hoppenjans (, Historical Musicology Photo

Kelly Hoppenjans (she/her) is a PhD pre-candidate in Musicology with a certificate in Digital Studies. She completed her BM in Musical Theatre at Northwestern University and her MM in Commercial Music at Belmont University, where she served as adjunct faculty for four years teaching commercial voice lessons, classes, and ensembles. Her research interests include amateur music production, affect and the digital, and how singers use digital technologies with their voices to construct identity and self. Kelly is also a singer-songwriter; her debut full-length album OK, I Feel Better Now was featured on NPR, The Alternative, Ghettoblaster, American Songwriter, and more. In her free time, she enjoys singing, playing guitar, sewing, knitting, and listening to too many podcasts.

Tom Ingram (, Music Theory

Tom Ingram is a pre-candidate in music theory.

Cody Jones (, Historical Musicology Photo

Cody Jones is a doctoral candidate in musicology studying the intersections of music, race, and history in the United States. He is originally from Vine Grove, Kentucky. Jones received his B.A. in Music from the College of William & Mary in 2017, where he completed a senior honors thesis on the music of German-American composer Ingolf Dahl. He also currently works as a Research Associate on the interdisciplinary research project “Singing Justice: Recovering the African American Voice in Song.” He presented at the 2018 and 2021 conferences of the Society for American Music and the 2017 spring meeting of the Capital Chapter of the American Musicological Society, at which he received the Irving Lowens Award for Student Research.

Joshua Kerobo (, Ethnomusicology Photo

Joshua Kerobo is a pre-candidate in ethnomusicology, hailing from Edo State, Nigeria and Cincinnati, Ohio. He holds both a B.A. in international studies and music from the American University in Washington D.C. As the American-born son of Nigerian immigrants, his academic interests and research aspirations have naturally centered around the histories, religions, and cultures of Nigeria and Ghana, as well as their connections to the larger Black Atlantic community. His unique subjectivity has been the exigence of his current research interests, such as music as an indicator of Muslim subjectivity, Islamic soundscape studies in Northern Nigeria as an indicator of the influence of judicial and extrajudicial Islamic fundamentalists in the region, and “Black Organic Intellectualism,” a revolutionary reframing of the traditionally Gramscian “Organic Intellectual” in the context of cross-cultural black/African communication and liberation. In his free time, Joshua enjoys playing the saxophone, composing music, playing and watching soccer, and cooking.

Sunhong Kim (, Ethnomusicology Photo

Sunhong Kim is a Ph.D. Candidate in ethnomusicology. She earned B.M. and M.M. in Korean Music (piri/taepyeongso performance) at Ewha Womans [sic] University in South Korea. Her research interest centers on the gendered nature of traditional Korean musical instrumental society. She examines how power is played out within gender dynamics in South Korea. For the rest of the time, she actively engages in the musical community by leading a student organization, Sinaboro (Korean traditional drum ensemble) or playing piri/taepyeongso/danso.

Kája Lill (, Music Theory

Kája Lill is a candidate in music theory and concurrently pursuing an M.A. in Russian, East European, and Eurasian studies. Originally from Grand Haven, Michigan, he holds a M.A. in Music Theory from the University of North Texas. Some of his research interests include 20th-century Czech music and the history of music theory in Central Europe. Kája enjoys learning foreign languages and playing bass in improvisation ensembles.

Yiqing Mitty Ma (, Music Theory Photo

Yiqing Ma is a Ph.D. Candidate in Music Theory. Her research interests are the intersections between music and language, body, performance, gender, and intersectional identities. These inquiries include intersections of feminist theory, critical theory, timbre, and voice in Japanese popular music and contemporary music, as well as the global history of music theory exchanges between East Asia and the West, reflected in her current dissertation project. She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Minnesota and then received her M.M. from LSU. She recently published her empirical work focused on emotional perceptions of lyrics on MUSICÆ SCIENTIÆ. Mitty enjoys playing with her cat cereal outside academia, as well as playing the carillon on Lurie Tower and Burton Tower in Ann Arbor.

Micah Mooney (, Music Theory

Micah Mooney is a pre-candidate in music theory.

Rhianna Nissen (, Historical Musicology Photo

Rhianna is a Ph.D. Candidate in Historical Musicology. Her dissertation “Singing for a New Nation: Liberalism and Identity in Oratorios of the Vormärz” (tentative title) explores the political discourse in amateur choral singing and repertoire in Germany before 1848. In addition to 19th century German music, Rhianna is interested in music and politics more broadly, serving on the editorial team of the Music and Politics: In the Moment online publication, which focuses on music and political issues of the current day. An avid choral singer, Rhianna has sung with choirs such as the University of Michigan Chamber Choir, Washington Master Chorale, and University Musical Society’s Choral Union. She holds a BM in Vocal Performance (magna cum laude) from the Shenandoah Conservatory in Winchester, VA, and an MM in Music History from the University of Cincinnati—College Conservatory of Music. In her free time, she enjoys sailing, cooking, and doting on her puppy, Ilsa.

Carlos Pérez Tabares (, Music Theory Photo

Carlos Pérez Tabares is a doctoral candidate in music theory. Originally from Venezuela, he holds a BM in Composition and an MM in Music Theory from the Mannes School of Music. His research interests include early-ottocento Italian opera, form, rhythm and meter, and jazz.

Yrsala Peterson (, Ethnomusicology

Yrsala Peterson is a pre-candidate in ethnomusicology.

Ingrid Racine (, Ethnomusicology

Ingrid Racine is a pre-candidate in ethnomusicology.

Luis Armando Rivera (, Music Theory Photo

Luis Armando Rivera is a doctoral student in music theory at the University of Michigan. He received his bachelor’s degrees in mathematics and piano performance from Augusta University, a master’s degree in piano performance and piano pedagogy from Georgia State University, and a master’s degree in music theory from the University of Washington. Before coming to the University of Michigan, he was a Lecturer of music theory at the University of Washington and a fellow Cleveland Institute of Music’s Future of Music Faculty Fellowship. His research interests include mathematical music theory, serialism, transformation theory, the music of Latin American, and video game music.

Juan Riveros (, Music Theory Photo

Juan Riveros is one of a new generation of young harpists who bridge a variety of genres and artistic avenues, building audiences and fostering fresh appreciation for an instrument with ancient and diverse traditions. His numerous honors include Award Winner in the 2022 Lyon & Healy Awards, Outstanding Instrumentalist in Harp at the 2022 and 2023 Sphinx SOPA Competitions, Award Winner in the 2020 Anne Adams Awards Competition, Third Prize in the Young Professional Division of the 2019 American Harp Society National Competition, and Grand Prize in the Lewisville Lake International Concerto Competition. Riveros holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the Cleveland Institute of Music in Harp Performance and Music Theory, where he studied with Yolanda Kondonassis. In 2023, Riveros received an International Postgraduate Certificate in Harp Performance and Research from the National University of the Arts (Argentina). Riveros is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Music Theory at the University of Michigan. In addition to an active performance career, Riveros maintains a private teaching studio and teaches music theory at the University of Michigan. In his instruction, Riveros is devoted to crafting constructive approaches to harp pedagogy and music theory fundamentals. His primary research interests focus on providing accessible resources on the performance practice and repertoire of the harp (especially music and traditions of Latin American origin), and music theory pedagogy at the instrument.

Christopher Sherwood-Gabrielson (, Music Theory and Composition

Christopher Sherwood-Gabrielson is a candidate in music theory and composition.

Conner Singh VanderBeek (, Ethnomusicology Photo

Conner Singh VanderBeek is a pre-candidate in ethnomusicology from Salida, California. He holds a BA in South Asian Studies and a BM in Music Composition and Musicology from Northwestern University. His research focuses on media cultures of the Punjabi-Sikh diaspora, and on experimental and electronic artists in urban India. VanderBeek also works on Sikh religious music, Sikh political history, and music in US celebrity culture. In his spare time, he composes music, films and edits videos, sews stuffed animals, and watches cartoons.

Sylvie Tran (, Music Theory Photo

Sylvie Tran is a candidate in music theory. Originally from Albuquerque, New Mexico, Sylvie holds a B.M. in flute performance from the University of California, Santa Barbara. She studies questions of music, place, and identity, primarily in American classical music; her dissertation examines musical portrayals of the American West in classical music from the twentieth and twenty-first centuries through lenses of race, gender, and landscape and the environment. This work received the Dorothy Payne Award for Best Student Paper at the annual meeting of the Music Theory Society of the Mid-Atlantic in 2022. Some of Sylvie’s secondary research interests include performance and analysis, particularly the intersubjective aspects of chamber music performance; the politics of arrangement and reorchestration in Western art music; and music theory pedagogy. In her free time, Sylvie enjoys cooking spicy food, reading murder mysteries, and walking and running in Ann Arbor’s many parks.

Mayna Tyrrell (, Ethnomusicology

Mayna Tyrrell is a pre-candidate in ethnomusicology.

William van Geest (, Music Theory Photo

William van Geest is a candidate in music theory. He holds a B.A. from Calvin College (majors in philosophy, music history, and piano performance), Master’s degrees from the University of Ottawa (piano performance) and McGill University (music theory), and a certificate in Medieval and Early Modern Studies from U-M. His areas of research interest are the history of music theory, medieval grammar, rhythm and meter, and early-20th-century music. William has presented papers at several national and international conferences, including those of SMT, EuroMAC, the SMA UK, MusCan, and SysMus. William’s dissertation examines the appropriation by music theorists of the chorale and the history of this practice. William’s work is supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. William enjoys running, swimming, and eating fine food made by the culinarily-gifted members of SMR.

Yuhan Wang (, Ethnomusicology Photo

Yuhan Wang is a PhD pre-candidate in ethnomusicology. She pays attention to the intangible cultural heritage, guqin music and its culture. With a focus on guqin’s aesthetic analysis, philosophical interpretation, ecology concerning and intellectual history and cultural research in premodern history as well as contemporary society in the context of informatization and globalization, Yuhan has presented papers at several conferences, including SEM (Society for Ethnomusicology) 2023 Annual Conference, 2023 AAS (Association for Asian Studies)-in-Asia Conference, Taiwan Musicology Forum’s 2022 Annual Conference, and CHIME (European Foundation for Chinese Music Research) 22nd Annual Conference. Yuhan is also affiliated with Lieberthal-Rogel Center for Chinese Studies at the University of Michigan. In her free time, she enjoys playing guqin, photography, graphic designing, audio production technology researching, and writing poems.

Kai West (, Historical Musicology Photo

Kai West (he/him/his) is a PhD candidate in musicology at the University of Michigan with interests in popular music, musical instrument studies, critical race studies, media studies, and opera. His dissertation on electric guitar cultures in the twenty-first century explores self-making, community formation, and the transformative relationships between people and musical instrument technologies. His published work includes a recent article in the Journal of the American Musicological Society, and a chapter contribution to the edited volume Music in Twin Peaks: Listen to the Sounds (Routledge 2021). Kai also serves as the assistant editor for the journal Music & Politics and an editorial assistant at the UM Gershwin Initiative. In his free time he makes ambient and lofi music using guitars, samplers, and tape machines (IG: @kaicarsonwest).

Eric Whitmer (, Historical Musicology Photo

Eric Whitmer (they/he) is an interdisciplinary musician, artist, and scholar who is interested in finding new ways to intertwine music and community. Their musical pursuits focus on the intersection of performance and social activism. They received their Bachelor of Music in Percussion Performance from Vanderbilt University. Their musicological work focuses on musical institutions and economic influences on the American musical landscape. Additionally, they are interested in applications of Queer Theory and Disability Studies to the musicology field. In their limited spare time, Eric can be found baking some new and challenging pastry, behind a camera taking a portrait of a friend, or on a paddleboard in one of Michigan’s many great (pun intended) lakes.

Ming Wilson (, Music Theory

Ming Wilson is a pre-candidate in music theory.

ChuYi Zhu (, Ethnomusicology Photo

Chuyi Zhu is a doctoral candidate in ethnomusicology. Her research interests include women’s lament, cultural tourism, and heritage studies. Graduated with a B. A. in Economics and Music from Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Chuyi has a wide range of academic interests. She received a certificate in Business from Harvard Business School Online and another certificate in Museum Studies from the University of Michigan. During her non-academic time, Chuyi enjoys consulting work. She has been working as an in-house consultant for Maison Youlou, a French fashion company, and has facilitated its cooperative project with the Chinese government in establishing an applied art center in Yunnan province to preserve traditional art and craft of ethnic groups in China. In her free time, Chuyi also enjoys watching movies and swimming.