See also: SMR Alumni and Pets of SMR.

Lydia Bangura (, Music Theory Photo

Lydia Bangura is a doctoral student in music theory at the University of Michigan, where she began in Fall 2021. She also holds a bachelor’s degree from Northern Arizona University (Class of 2019) and a master’s degree from Roosevelt University (Class of 2021), both in vocal performance. Bangura was recently selected 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 currently hosts and edits a podcast series, “Her Music Academia.” 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. Her recent operatic roles include Papagena in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, Ellen Orford in Benjamin Britten’s Peter Grimes, and the solo soprano in Judith Weir’s one woman show, King Harald’s Saga.

AJ Banta (, Historical Musicology

AJ Banta (they/them) 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, as well as the construction of the gendered voice. Outside of the academic sphere, they enjoy singing in choral ensembles, engaging in devised theatre and performance art practices, 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.

Casper Chan (, Ethnomusicology

Casper Chan is a pre-candidate in ethnomusicology from Hong Kong. He holds a B.A. in music from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. His research interest includes Han-Chinese traditional instrumental ensembles and soundscapes in modern China. He also explores current Internet subcultures as well as Japanese popular music as secondary areas of interest. In his free time, he browses for/makes memes, rides the hoverboard, and watches animes.

Nee Chucherdwatanasak (, Historical Musicology Photo

Nee Chucherdwatanasak is a candidate in historical musicology. She specializes in post-1945 Western-European and American classical music, with an emphasis on the current new-music scene in the United States. Her secondary research interest is contemporary classical music in Southeast Asia and she has received a Graduate Certificate Program in Southeast Asian Studies from the International Institute, University of Michigan.

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!

Josh DeVries (, Music Theory Photo

Joshua DeVries wears many hats as a musician, working as a theorist, cellist, and publisher. As a cellist, he has been working closely with composers for his entire career, and is currently recording a debut solo album titled “An Ecology of Caring.” Upcoming concerts include a debut with the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra and violinist Matt Albert. He is currently a PhD candidate in music theory at the University of Michigan and is writing a dissertation on George Crumb’s Black Angels. Josh also recently founded Just a Theory Press, an independent publisher for contemporary music, although perhaps his most famous moment was winning the “Bluff the Listener” game on NPR’s news quiz show Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me! In his spare time, Josh volunteers with regional animal rescues and plays with his dogs and cats. He can be heard playing Carlos Simon’s Lickety Split on the album “My Ancestor’s Gift,” available on all streaming platforms.

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.

Cecilia Hiros (, Music Theory Photo

Cecilia is a pre-candidate in Music Theory. She completed two bachelor’s degrees in Harp Performance and Music Theory from the University of Michigan. Her interests include contemporary performance and music studies for the deaf community.

Kelly Hoppenjans (, Historical Musicology Photo

Kelly Hoppenjans (she/her) is a PhD pre-candidate in musicology. She completed her BM in Musical Theatre at Northwestern University and her MM in Commercial Music at Belmont University, where she has taught commercial voice for the past four years. Her research interests are pop and rock music, virtual and real world music scenes, singer-songwriters, and voice and gender identity. 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.

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.

Meredith Juergens (, Historical Musicology

Meredith Juergens is a candidate in historical musicology. Her dissertation focuses on the performance of race and more generally, American identity, in works for the stage during the first half of the twentieth century. This interdisciplinary project draws upon Meredith’s interest and previous work in the fields of dance, performance studies, and visual culture. She has presented papers at annual meetings of the Society for American Music as well as the American Musicological Society. Her work has also been published in the Society for American Music Bulletin and Music Research Forum. In her free time, Meredith enjoys cooking (with an emphasis on carrots), working out in her living room, attending live performance events, obsessively watching animal videos, and tending to her prized and adored houseplants.

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 third-year Ph.D. student in ethnomusicology. She earned B.M. and M.M. in Korean Music (Specialization: piri/taepyeongso performance) from Ewha Womans University in South Korea. Her research focuses on a North Korean Diasporic performative community—Eunyul Masked Dance Drama—as well as gender hierarchy and power relations in traditional Korean musical instrument society. Her current research interest is expanded to contemporary practices of the intersection of traditional music and popular music in South Korea through the lens of Korean studies/gender studies. 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 currently pursuing her Ph.D. in Music Theory at the University of Michigan. She holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Minnesota, where she co-authored Basic Music Technology: An Introduction with her colleagues there, published by Springer in 2018. She has presented on music emotion in lyrics at the Society of Music Perception and Cognition and Psychonomic Society. Her current research explores how vocal timbre facilitates the construction of female identities in Japanese Popular Music. Outside of academia, Ma enjoys performing the carillon between the two bell towers in Ann Arbor.

Dorian Mueller (, Music Theory Photo

Dorian Mueller is a PhD candidate in music theory. Her research interests include music and narrative, film music theory, 19th-century music, form, and musical phenomenology and aesthetics. Her dissertation explores musical experience through the constructs of narrative space and place, introducing a theory of the musical spatial frame as a new perspective/approach to musical analysis. Dorian has presented her work at conferences in both the U.S. and abroad, including at SMT, Music and the Moving Image, and at the International Conference on Music Theory and Analysis in Belgrade, Serbia. Dorian holds an M.A. in Music Theory from Penn State University and a B.A. in Mathematics from Rutgers University. In her free time, she enjoys walking, hiking, swimming, traveling, practicing piano and violin, baking, drinking lots of coffee, and hanging out with her two cats, Luna and Squeaky.

Anna Rose Nelson (, Music Theory Photo

Anna Rose Nelson (she/her/hers) is a PhD student in the music theory department at the University of Michigan. She holds a Bachelor of Music in Theory/Composition from St. Olaf College (2012) and a Master of Arts in Music Theory from the University of Minnesota–Twin Cities (2015). In her dissertation, “Fragments, Miniatures & Microludes: Analyzing the Modernist Aphoristic Aesthetic,” she examines what she calls the “modernist aphoristic aesthetic” in Brian Ferneyhough’s “fragment forms”, György Kurtág’s “microludes,” Luigi Nono’s “fragments,” and Anton Webern’s “miniatures” through sketch study, musical and terminological analysis, and a constellation of related concepts culled from the writings of Theodor W. Adorno. More generally, she studies music theoretical terminology, modernist music (particularly string quartets), grunge and psychedelic rock aesthetics and history, and critical theory. In her free time, Anna enjoys playing viola in contemporary music ensembles, working as a steward for the campus graduate-student union (GEO 3550), and playing with her cat, Edie.

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.

Juan Riveros (, Music Theory Photo

Juan Riveros is one of a new generation of young harpists who bridge a variety of genres on the classical and world music spectrum, building audiences and fostering fresh appreciation for an instrument with ancient traditions. His numerous honors include Award Winner in the 2022 Lyon & Healy Awards, Outstanding Instrumentalist in Harp at the 2022 Sphinx SOPA Competition, 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. His first published composition, “Concert Fantasy on Pajaro Campana,” is available through Lyon & Healy. In addition to his active performing career, Riveros maintains a private teaching studio and is devoted to creating a thorough and creative approach to playing the harp. His primary music theory interests are centered in the areas of providing accessible resources on harp pedagogy, theory pedagogy at the harp, and analysis of the harp’s repertoire. Juan Riveros is currently pursuing a PhD in Music Theory at the University of Michigan.

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.

Richard Smith (, Ethnomusicology Photo

Richard Smith (they/them) is a candidate in ethnomusicology. Their dissertation explores gender euphoria in the musical performances of trans* and non-binary drag artists in the United States. Prior to the pandemic, they researched what it means to be queer and Arab in Israel, and how music may negotiate these identities. They won a 2020 Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad fellowship for this work but were unable to attend due to the pandemic. Richard’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. Richard holds a B.A. in music from SUNY Stony Brook and an M.M. in Musicology (historical) from Northwestern University. Outside academia, Richard enjoys live-streaming atmospheric horror and other story-based video games, performing drag, coding in Python, and working as a professional drag and burlesque photographer.

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. Her dissertation examines musical features that represent the American West in classical music from the twentieth and twenty-first centuries through lenses of race, gender, the environment, and other issues. Some of her secondary research has involved analysis of performances of chamber music for wind instruments, exploring questions of embodiment, and, more broadly, the politics of arrangement and reorchestration. In her free time, Sylvie enjoys hiking and running, cooking spicy food, and solving Rubik’s cubes.

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.

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).

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.