75 Birthday Wishes

Wish 1

 

Jane A. Bernstein

Austin Fletcher Professor of Music
Tufts University

President
American Musicological Society

I had wanted to be a musicologist since I was thirteen years old, although I didn’t know what to call it back then. The year was 1960, and my sister had given me a copy of Grout’s newly-published A History of Western Music; I thought then that it was the greatest birthday gift I had ever received, and I still do. Although I began attending AMS chapter meetings in 1968 as a first-year graduate student, my initial experience with the national meeting was in 1973 when I gave my first paper in Chicago. Frightened as I was by the enormity of the conference, I recall two encounters that had a profound impact on my life. One was meeting Janet Knapp, the first woman president of the AMS. I had never had a woman as a music professor, and Janet immediately became an important role model for me. The second occurred after my presentation when a distinguished man wearing a bow tie came up to me and began showering me with questions. Wondering who this could be, I stole a glance at his badge and read: Howard Brown. In disbelief, I blurted out, “Excuse me, but you’re not the Howard Mayer Brown, are you?” “Why, yes I am,” he replied with amusement. Howard became an inspiring mentor for me, someone who taught me the importance of being open to all ideas, particularly those of young scholars.

A great deal of time has passed since then, and many wonderful and memorable things have happened both at chapter meetings and at our annual gatherings. For me, most of all, the AMS is not only a learned society, but a closely knit family of teachers, students, colleagues, and friends who share a passion and love for music. As we reach the culmination of our OPUS campaign, I have witnessed the generosity of our members both young and old in helping future generations of scholars. I am very proud to be a member, and I am deeply honored to be president at this special moment in the history of our extraordinary Society. Happy Birthday, AMS! Happy Birthday to all of us!

Wright

 

Jessie Ann Owens

Professor of Music
Dean, Humanites, Arts & Cultural Studies
University of California, Davis
AMS President, 2001-02

In 1974, in my second year in graduate school, I joined the AMS and attended my first annual meeting in Washington DC. I have such vivid memories of that meeting. I remember Ken Levy on “hall duty”—watching out for his shy graduate students, introducing us to other Princetonians, pointing out various luminaries. The names on the books and articles that I had been reading suddenly became real people. 1974 was the Dufay quincentenary, and I watched Craig Wright electrify a packed ballroom with his remarkable paper about Dufay in Cambrai. He delivered one bombshell after another until everyone was applauding this tour de force. Imagine learning that Dufay’s favorite watering hole was the Maison L’Homme Armé! I also remember meeting James Haar, who remarked in his trenchant way, “Oh, you¹re the one Lewis Lockwood was telling me about.” That slightest moment of recognition made me feel as though I had arrived—or at least might some day hope to arrive. In the 35(!) years since, I’ve missed very few meetings. The AMS has been my intellectual home, the place where I come to see old friends—mentors, teachers, colleagues, students—and make new ones.

Our society is a living, changing organism. In the early 1980s, faced with the calamitous loss of the Martha Baird Rockefeller Dissertation-Year Fellowships, the Society raised funds to endow our own, now named the Alvin H. Johnson AMS-50 fellowships. The generosity of our members and other donors has helped 105 students, so far, to finish their dissertations. But as the job market and the needs of our members have changed, AMS has sought to transform itself again, this time to find ways to support research, enable travel to meetings, and provide subventions for publications for a much larger segment of our membership. OPUS has been the work of some seven years, five presidential administrations, and hundreds of volunteers. Its salutary effect on the membership is already apparent. There seems every reason to believe the OPUS Campaign will build to a memorable climax in the next few weeks.

As a dean immersed in fund-raising, I have learned that there are two kinds of gifts: gifts of obligation—the small checks we write every year out of a sense of loyalty; and those of passion—the ones that come from the heart. My own heart is filled with gratitude for the American Musicological Society, with the honor of having led it, with the anticipation of our upcoming birthday, and the certainty that we all will relish what OPUS has accomplished, year after year, in perpetuum.

Wish 1

 

Robert Judd

Executive Director
American Musicological Society

I attended my first AMS meeting twenty years ago in Austin. It was a heady meeting for me, just beginning my tenure-track job in California, having completed The Diss. a few months before. I immediately stepped in it big-time with a major faux pas questioning, a bit too severely, another scholar of Renaissance Italian music named... Jane Bernstein! I'm glad to report that she's now forgiven me for that youthful excess. At my first meeting the vibrancy of the community was quite a thrill. I had to get a paper in (made it in '91). Then (who'd have guessed it), after a move cross-country to keep the family together, I happened to be at the right time and place when the administrative post at the AMS suddenly fell vacant in 1996. The first thing I did (this is unbelievable, really) was to buy a phone with a "hold" button, and a fax machine. (Then I opened a dozen bins of mail: I took up the job just as the AMS switched from its own system of publishing JAMS over to the University of Chicago Press, and every library subscriber had written—at least three times each— to confirm the address, billing instructions, etc.)

Now, as Chief E-Mailer of the Society, I'm happy to report that the paper mail is down to a trickle, although I still write about a hundred emails a day on average. Needless to say, it's been extremely gratifying to be a part of the Society and watch it grow and change over the past thirteen years. Nothing has been more exciting than seeing the growth of good will and enthusiasm for the OPUS campaign, the AMS community, and our seventy-fifth anniversary. The future is bright indeed, thanks to those who have made the campaign a success. Here's to our next seventy-five!

 

Wright

 

H. Colin Slim

Professor Emeritus
University of California, Irvine
AMS President, 1989-90
AMS member since c. 1955

Exactly a half-century ago, a rather timid, freshly-appointed acting assistant professor at the University of Chicago (salary $4500) gave his first paper at an AMS National Meeting, at Berkeley in December 1960 (preceded that April by a trial run at a Midwestern chapter Meeting at the University of Kansas).  Edward Lowinsky was then still at Berkeley.  In fear and trembling, I was about to present new evidence, from a Claudio Veggio manuscript in Castell’Arquato, for the practice of keyboard playing from scores.  This evidence was several decades earlier than Lowinsky had proposed in his paper just published in JAMS XIII.  What would be his reaction?  After Lawrence Moe, then Chair of Berkeley’s Music Department, had masterfully performed one of the Veggio ricercari on Hertz Hall’s splendid organ, Edward raised his hand.  (I thought, here it comes!): “Ach, Professor Slim, you have zee scoop on me!” and off we went, in his European fashion, arm in arm, to a fine lunch and valuable talk.  A subsequent paper about the Newberry Library’s Henry VIII partbooks of madrigal and motets that I gave at our National Meeting in 1963 in Seattle elicited similar encouragement to its again terrified speaker who had just spotted Oliver Strunk among the listeners.  Our Society’s senior scholars have generally been very forthcoming to its younger members.

I not only owe a great deal to this Society but I’ve had lots of fun at its meetings.  For example, having elected me its President, and with the connivance of Kristine Forney and the late Alvin Johnson, it indulged certain iconographical whims.  So, at our Oakland Meeting in 1990, instead of a retiring president’s address with powerpoint, our assembled members viewed a single slide and then a tableau vivant, a 16th-century Dutch artist’s “Apollo and the Muses,” with round dancing to real voices and instruments, a show that apparently delighted our members.  (The sole complaint came from the late Harry Powers, who, though plagued with dreadfully poor eyesight, was somehow able to regard Venus as insufficiently voluptuous.)

Recently the AMS has kindly attached my name to an annual award given to a “mature” scholar for the best article of the preceding year.  Each one of its recipients has contacted me, an unexpected bonus and distinct pleasure.  As I sail way beyond “maturity” and even well past what is facetiously called “latte middle age,” I realize what a gratifying sense of continuity in matters of scholarship and friendship this Society offers.  In its cognizance of, regard for, and care of its members, and especially its younger ones, it is a remarkably democratic organization.  Cheers on its 75th anniversary and long may it flourish.

Wish 1

 

Bonnie J. Blackburn

Wolfson College
University of Oxford

The AMS has been my scholarly home for forty-eight years, from my first timorous questions at a chapter meeting as a beginning graduate student at the University of Chicago to the present, where I look forward to celebrating the Society’s 75th birthday in Philadelphia. Particularly since I moved to the UK in 1990, the opportunity to meet old friends and the growing new generations of young scholars at the annual meeting has been a high point of my affiliation with the AMS. As an independent scholar with a rather irregular career (latterly as an editor), I have always found the AMS supportive and understanding when, at times, I could not contribute or could not accept an invitation to run for various offices. For freelancers, pursuing scholarship is a delicate balancing act: time off work entails a loss of income. It is, nevertheless, possible to remain a committed musicologist while working outside or on the fringes of the academic community, and the AMS meetings have facilitated that.

I have enjoyed the anecdotal aspect of the birthday wishes. My first experience of musicological meeting was not an AMS annual meeting but the 1961 Congress of the International Musicological Society in New York, before I became a graduate student. It was both overwhelming and exhilarating. The awesome scholars were there in person, and I tried to connect names with faces. Sitting in one session, overhearing the remarks of the people in back of me, I learned that the renowned Thurston Dart was just ‘Bob’ to his friends. Now a senior scholar myself, I am startled to be in the reverse position when I meet young graduate students who exclaim that they have been assigned my articles and can’t believe that they are actually talking to me in person. Yes, I’m real and my name is ‘Bonnie’. Over the decades the profession has become much less formal. At the University of Chicago when we were students it was ‘Mr. Meyer’ and ‘Mr. Lowinsky’ (never ‘Dr.’ or ‘Prof.’, a matter of pride), but Howard Brown, whom I had known at Wellesley, was always ‘Howard’. At AMS meetings, collegiality overcomes hierarchy: we are not senior and junior scholars, academics and non-academics, but one in our love of our chosen field. It is this aspect of the AMS, I believe, that is responsible for its widening appeal to scholars from abroad, to the extent that we now hold UK parties at the AMS annual meetings. Long may the Society flourish!


Ossi
Wish 2

Elaine Sisman

Anne Parsons Bender Professor of Music
Columbia University
AMS President, 2005-06

I was awestruck at the AMS annual meetin when I was 22 and knew right away (though not in these words) from the way it fostered both the creation of new knowledge and the creation of new friendships that I aspired to participate in it as fully as I could. Some mysterious chemistry ensures that for me the AMS continues to be the source of epiphanies and anxiety dreams. Just as the book exhibit makes changes in the field palpable, the work of the AMS between meetings—something that took me a lot longer to discover—supports the work of its members in tangible ways. Serving the Society over the years, especially as President, has been an honor and privilege. I’m always surprised to hear the AMS described as a volunteer organization; I’ve never considered it optional. I love the AMS. In the inspirational words of Rich Crawford, “sometimes my appetite for this stuff amazes even me.”

Reading over the President’s Message columns I wrote for the Newsletter in 2005 and 2006 reminds me that from the beginning of my career I’ve been focused on how musicology matters, and how we communicate as musicologists to each other and in what I once called the “four conversations,” with the performing world, the music-scholarly world, the humanistic world, and the public world. The AMS in its annual and chapter meetings and Journal and Newsletter, in its awards and subventions and fellowships, opens up multiple spaces for communication, to help each of us give voice to what we love. In adjourning the 70th Business Meeting in Seattle, I noted that the AMS year differs from the calendar year, the academic year, the fiscal year, the liturgical year, and the election year. It organizes our time—on committees, in scholarly pursuits, in collegiality, in offering one focus for our passion for music and scholarship—and lightly binds us to its rhythms. I am proud of the wonderful work of our members, and I am confident that our 75th Birthday will inaugurate our best years.

Many happy returns, AMS!

Wright

 

J. Peter Burkholder

Distinguished Professor of Musicology
School of Music
Indiana University
AMS President, 2003-04

I always come back from AMS annual and chapter meetings with renewed energy and enthusiasm. In paper sessions, panels, receptions, hall conversations, and random encounters, I hear from and talk to people from all over who share my interests or kindle new ones in me. Connections forged at meetings have led to many lifelong friendships with people I can ask for advice, share research questions with, or talk to about teaching. All the wonderful things the AMS does, from JAMS to travel grants, spring from the exciting community of scholars and teachers our meetings help to create.  The 75th anniversary of our first meeting is something to celebrate!

Wish 1

 

Charles M. Atkinson

Professor of Music
School of Music
The Ohio State University
AMS President, 2007-08

Some might say it was prophetic: I attended my first Annual Meeting, Toronto 1970, as a student representative to the AMS Council. There were no delusions of grandeur, though. When I and two of my colleagues were joined by George Buelow, Allen Forte, and Albert Seay at the same table for the meeting of the Council, I was intimidated, to say the least. The fears were dispelled quickly, though, by the friendly reception that we students received. The fact that these giants in the field could treat us as fellow scholars im Werden was a defining moment for me. And after hearing papers such as William Austin’s on the Schoenberg op. 31 Variations, or Andrew Hughes’s on the problems of ficta in the Old Hall Manuscript—followed by an animated exchange of views between him and Edward Lowinsky—I came home from that first AMS meeting convinced that this was the most amazing group of people I had ever met, and that the field of musicology was an arena in which intellect and musicianship could meet at the very highest level. After more than thirty-five Annual Meetings and almost twice that many chapter meetings, I am more convinced of that today than ever before. 

Today’s Society is both broader in its scope and longer in its reach than it was when I entered the field. It is more diverse and more inclusive in both its makeup and the areas of research it embraces. It continues to offer its members the leading journal in the field and the excitement of meetings at both the regional and national level, but its members now enjoy expanded opportunities to receive support for their work through fellowships and research and travel grants, along with a subvention program that is becoming ever stronger via new endowments and the initiatives made possible by the NEH challenge grant. None of this would have happened, though, without the intelligence, the vision, and the energy of our members themselves, over 300 of whom give selflessly of their time and talents each year to serve the Society in various capacities. This truly is an amazing group of people and an equally amazing institution.

In die natalis eius septuaginta quinque, celebremus Societatem Americanam Musicologiae! 


Ossi
Wish 2

Luisa Nardini

Assistant Professor of Music
University of Texas, Austin

I started attending AMS meetings when I was already in my post-doctoral years. After moving to the States, I found it financially challenging going to the conferences regularly. Now I consider the annual meeting to be my special occasion to re-encounter the many old friends and colleagues I had previously met at various academic institutions, libraries, and archives across Europe and North America and to make new acquaintances.

There is a mental game that I like to do when I am on my way to the conference. I imagine a virtual map in which one can see the  attendees’ trajectories first converging in the direction of one single geographical location before the conference and later diverging  toward the various (often international) home destinations.

My special wish is that the AMS will remain the privileged venue to discuss the future of musicology within the culture of our times, to  challenge our ideas about music, and to foster the diversities and  richness that all of us contribute to the association. Buon  compleanno, AMS!

Wright

 

Cynthia Adams Hoover

Curator Emeritus of Musical Instruments
Smithsonian Institution

My first AMS meeting was at a New England Chapter gathering in the mid-1950s at Wellesley College, where as an undergraduate I joined a small group of Wellesley singers to illustrate examples of organum for a paper given by David Hughes (see Wishes #55). The sound of those fourths and fifths resonated through my body from head to toe and helped me decide that music should be my concentration.

After graduate work and two years of teaching at Wellesley (where my colleagues included Jan La Rue and Howard Brown, who both later became AMS Presidents), I began my career as a curator of musical instruments at the Smithsonian Institution. This position gave me a base for studying musical instruments and music in American life, two areas rarely covered at AMS meetings those days. My AMS scholarly debut in 1968 was on an American topic: “A Trumpet Battle at Niblo’s Pleasure Garden” (MQ 60 1969).

AMS became my scholarly home during the next decades—a place to hear papers, meet with friends, and to work with my Americanist colleagues to encourage more focus in AMS on American topics.  Through work on the AMS Bicentennial Committee (1970-76, chair from 1973), the AMS Board (1977-79, 1988-90), and the Publications Committee (1976-90—where we set the groundwork for COPAM and MUSA), I joined with the officers and the society to ensure that American topics continued to flourish.

Huzzah for AMS!      

Wish 1

 

Matthew Butterfield

Assistant Professor of Music
Franklin & Marshall College

I joined the AMS as a graduate student at the University of Pennsylvania in the fall of 1992. At that time, the AMS office was at Penn, so signing up was quite easy. As I returned my membership form to the office, a distinguished gentleman turned to me, smiled broadly, and said, “I came down from New York just to welcome you myself—I’m H. Wiley Hitchcock!”

Startled and puzzled, I reached for his outstretched hand, and stammered inarticulately, “Um… nice to, uh, meet you… ?”
He eyed me quizzically and said, “You do know who I am, don’t you?”

“Um, I… uh… no,” I confessed, shamefully looking down at my feet.
“Well you will soon enough,” said the office administrator handling my paperwork as she handed me my first issue of JAMS with a smile.
As I hurried awkwardly from the office, my face flushed with embarrassment, I looked down at the letter I had been given welcoming me to the Society. I was shocked at what I saw. It was signed:

Prof. H. Wiley Hitchcock
President, American Musicological Society

For the next three or four months, that name haunted me. It was everywhere, in every article I read, on every bookshelf I glanced at in the library, and then… there he was in Pittsburgh at my first AMS meeting, virtually everywhere I looked! Eventually, I mustered up the courage to go and speak to him, and we enjoyed a good laugh over this. That, to me, is the beauty of the AMS: the great scholars whose works fill our libraries become less and less remote from the very day one joins, and each passing year draws one deeper into this intellectually rich community.

Happy Birthday, AMS!

Ossi
Wish 2

Christopher Reynolds

Professor of Music
University of California, Davis

It is something of a surprise to realize that, because my first AMS meeting was in Washington DC in 1975, I have been a member of this remarkable society for well over half my life. At that meeting Craig Wright’s “Dufay at Cambrai” paper knocked me off my feet and helped convince me that this was a profession—and a society— that I wanted to spend the rest of my life pursuing. As I read through the previous birthday wishes, I am struck by the number of people who refer to the AMS not as a society or a professional organization but as a community and as a family. How true! The annual meetings long ago became for me a painful competition between attending papers and grabbing a once-a-year coffee or meal with a friend. In recent years, the meeting has also become a time to remember those friends who no longer attend. This year in Nashville, Wiley’s absence was for me a considerable presence.

The AMS has been a source of inspiration on so many levels: the enlightened leadership we have grown to take for granted; the remarkable achievement that is AMS 50 (a model for other societies); the commitment of distinguished scholars to serve on unglamorous committees; the evolution of our Journal, reflecting in many ways the evolution of the society. Even the business meetings are inspiring, including what should be the driest moment of all—the treasurer’s report. And who can pass up the chance to see Rich Crawford triumphantly wave the latest MUSA volumes from the podium?

So Happy Birthday to the AMS. Long may we prosper!

Wright

 

Michael Ochs

Richard F. French Librarian, emeritus, Harvard University
and past Music Editor, W. W. Norton & Company

Just 50 ago, I took a seat in my first musicology class, Gustave Reese’s “Music in the Middle Ages and Renaissance.” A few years later, steeped in the literature of the two periods (LowC, JosqMT, and of course, ReMMA), I attended the Josquin conference in New York and was surprised to see some of the real authors of the books I so admired.

Since that time, I have met and admired many musicologists—some who came to study or teach at Harvard, others who wrote for or used Norton books. Attending AMS annual meetings became a time for reunions with old friends and for making new ones, and even for hearing the occasional paper or two.

Time has whizzed by, and here it is, 75 years since the founding of this most valuable organization. Serving on the board allowed me to see from the inside the important role AMS plays in the lives of its members. Happy birthday, AMS—now on to the next 75 years!

Wish 1

 

Donna M. Di Grazia

Associate Professor of Music
Conductor, Pomona College Choir & Glee Club
Pomona College

I suspect my first excursion to an AMS meeting was unlike most others. To get there, I was one of three graduate students enlisted to drive an old manual-transmission, university-owned cargo truck carrying all of the UC Davis Symphony Orchestra’s “big” instruments from Davis, California to Vancouver, B.C., for the 1985 annual meeting—let’s just say it was a long trip. I learned so much from that first conference experience, not the least of which was how to drive a truck with a speed governor, and how not to sit through every paper of every session for four days straight. That initial "sit-through-it-all" approach caused information overload to be sure, but such a baptism by immersion allowed me to see how the discipline I was learning to love had a face.

In the 23 years since that first trip—I haven’t missed a meeting in that time, though I’ve never again traveled by truck!—I've been inspired by the Society's rich diversity of ideas and perspectives, and I've taken great joy in making the annual pilgrimage to the national meeting, not only to keep up with the latest research and with the growing cadre of younger scholars, but also to catch up with many friends and treasured mentors. Happy 75th birthday to us!

 

Ruth Steiner

Professor of Music emerita
The Catholic University of America

The meeting in Nashville will take place fifty-one years after the first AMS Annual Meeting I attended. At the end of 1957 it seemed a presumptuous thing to do—to attend such a meeting after only a few semesters of graduate work—but it took place in California, where more things seemed to be OK (and perhaps still do) than in other parts of the country. What happened in Santa Monica was that I fell in love, not with any particular individual (at least no one I can remember clearly) but with the whole idea of the AMS. 

As I worked my way into the Society over the years, becoming a chapter officer, a member of the Council and later of the Board, and finally Secretary, my point of view changed, but not my devotion. I typed addresses on hundreds of envelopes. Six years of taking minutes on Board meetings, of counting ballots, of masterminding Chapter Officers' meetings, and even chairing an award committee taught me how the Society really works. And all of us who were officers or members of the Board during that time had the privilege of working closely with Alvin Johnson, the dearest man I have ever known. He believed that the sense of intimacy that we enjoy in the AMS comes out of the fact that so much of our work is done by volunteers—we all share in it. Those of us who were on the Board when it became inescapable that  preparations must begin for the moment when Alvin might have to step down (or, as it happened, might be struck down by a sudden catastrophic illness) suffered over having to accept that burden. In the meeting where Alvin himself admitted that he knew, in effect, that his days were numbered, I found tears on my cheeks and an equally sorrowful AMS President next to me squeezing my hand. 

Ossi
Wish 2

W. Anthony Sheppard

Professor of Music
Williams College

Minutes after learning I had passed general examinations and would be allowed to pursue the Ph.D., someone said to me, “you realize, you will never again know musicology as thoroughly as you do today.” These were sobering words, but they also represented a challenge. How could I maintain broad musicological interests while pursuing specialized research projects? The annual meetings and JAMS have long served as my lifelines to the discipline as a whole. It is through AMS that I renew contact with fields I have not studied since graduate school. These intellectual homecomings are, of course, made all the more moving when I hear former teachers and fellow students deliver papers. As a graduate student, I ran from paper to paper at my first annual meetings and read JAMS cover to cover. I am no longer quite so omnivorous, and yet it is primarily through membership in AMS that I continue my attempts to “know musicology.”

Wright

 

Alice V. Clark

Associate Professor
College of Music and Fine Arts
Loyola University, New Orleans

Happy birthday to us! I say that because we're not celebrating an abstract organization, but the community we all share.

When considering what the AMS means to me, my mind immediately focuses on how the Society, or rather a number of its members, kept me going during the darkest phrases of graduate school and the early years on the job market. It wasn't easy to get to meetings while working full time, with dissertation as “leisure-time activity,” but every time I did I was reminded of the great generosity of the musicological community, and I was made to feel as though it was worth belonging to this group. While flirting with unemployment again and again and experiencing all the difficulties of temporary jobs, I continued to benefit from the support of many of you. I wouldn't have made it to where I am without this community, and I know many others feel the same way.

Best wishes for another 75 years and beyond!

Wish 1

 

Ryan Bañagale

Ph.D. candidate in Musicology
Harvard University

As I reflect on my comparatively recent association with the AMS (2001 was my first meeting), I realize how much I am the result of the society’s ongoing commitment to diversity. My first exposure to the field of musicology was through the newly renamed Eileen Southern Travel Fund, which allowed me to attend that Atlanta meeting. The guidance I received then from members of the committee on Cultural Diversity—a lunch with then student-committee-member Charles Hiroshi Garrett particularly stands out—set me on a course leading to my current doctoral studies. My story is not unique; over 100 potential musicologists have received diversity funds to attend their first AMS and each year an increasing number of us are completing PhDs and landing that first job. As I close in on these targets myself, my birthday wish for the AMS is that it continues to embrace underrepresented voices in the field. After all, unlimited scholarship is what puts the “us” in OPUS.

Mary Natvig

Professor of Musicology
Bowling Green State University

My first AMS was just over 25 years ago in Ann Arbor. I had a master's in musicology but wasn't sure I wanted to go on for the PhD. I'm sorry to say that my first AMS experience did not do much to convince me. I didn't know anyone at the conference and I my head hurt after almost every paper. I was no wunderkind, that's for sure. In spite of that initial experience, I did decide that musicology was for me and have been happily attending conferences ever since. What changed? I think at first it was the camaraderie of my new graduate school friends. Then the lure of the book exhibits. And finally I started to follow some of those papers! Now AMS is one of the highlights of my year; I scope out the abstracts looking for thought provoking papers, make plans in advance to meet old friends, and, because of my first lonesome experience I spend time with my "AMS student buddy." Finally, I am happy to wish AMS a very happy birthday as my birthday, too, is in November, and we will celebrate together!

 

 

Beth Levy

Assistant Professor of Music
University of California, Davis

I hope I never lose the sense that AMS—especially the annual meetings—is something like a family reunion. A family reunion with a really great book exhibit. We all know that scholarship can be isolating at times, and since the 1994 meeting in Minneapolis it's been one of my greatest joys to meet new scholars and to reconnect each year with my colleagues from graduate school and postdoctoral work, and even with the professors from my undergraduate days. Little by little, I'm also gaining the pleasure of seeing former students attend our conferences and watching them become involved in all the important aspects of the Society: from paper presentations and study groups to committee work. So my hope for them is precisely what I wish for the AMS on its 75th: many happy returns!
Ossi
Wish 2

David G. Hughes

Fanny B. Mason Professor of Music, emeritus
Harvard University

As one very slightly older than the AMS, I can afford to feel just the least bit like an older brother—a very backward one with a younger sibling who is anything but. Naturally I was not doing musicology in the first years ab societate condita—indeed I met the word musicology only after the war years, when I and apparently endless hordes of veterans besieged the universities with an unquenchable thirst for knowledge, so long delayed. Some of my teachers may have been AMS members, but it was only some years later as a graduate student that the idea that there were quite a lot of us out there slowly penetrated. My first paper appeared in print in 1959 (in Speculum), the gist having been previously delivered orally at an AMS New England chapter meeting in Wellesley, attended by quite a few AMS members, some of them quite intimidating in appearance but infinitely helpful: great names from the past—Otto Kinkeldey, Leo Schrade, Nino Pirrotta, Tillman Merritt, but also young people like me, at about my level of achievement.

A few years later Oliver Strunk asked me if I would edit JAMS for a few years and, being then a brash young fool, I eagerly accepted. I learned soon enough that editing is if anything harder than writing, primarily because authors need to be allowed at least some of their own opinions. To put it another way, shooting is easier when the target is clearly visible. I am infinitely grateful to the AMS (and in particular to the patient support from Oliver Strunk) for that opportunity to learn something about writing, for there is no better training than by the constant posing of the question “How will this work in print?”

Since the editorship of JAMS passed from me to a succession of worthy scholar-editors, my relation to the AMS has been a more normal one: a paper given at an annual meeting or published in JAMS, as well as many encounters with old friends and new at the annual meetings. That this is ordinary does not mean that it is unimportant—quite the contrary. We must meet with our fellow musicologists if we are to keep up not only with the ties of friendship, but also with the evolution of our discipline and the choices that discipline must face. Without a national society that would be difficult for all of us and probably impossible for some. May the next 75 years of the AMS be as fruitful for everyone—but especially for the new scholars, those just fledging—as were the first.

Wright

 

Georgia Cowart

Professor of Music
Case Western Reserve University

I was from a smaller graduate program, so when I began to attend AMS meetings back in the early 1980s, I felt isolated as a woman and as an interdisciplinary scholar. It also felt as if everyone in the Society was so old . . . . Gradually, however, I was honored to know many of those senior scholars and to find inspiration in their dedication to our field. It has also been my pleasure to serve the Society through membership on a number of committees, and, as president of the Society for 17th-Century Music, to interface with AMS as a parent organization. Over the years I have witnessed a transformation in which the Society has opened itself to new currents while maintaining the high standards of old. And now, it seems as if everyone is so young! So, happy birthday, AMS, and may you continue to age gracefully!

Wish 1

 

Gregory Barnett

Assistant Professor of Music
Rice University

I attended my first AMS meeting in Montreal, 1993, where, awestruck, intimidated, and thrilled, I heard a hip paper on Brian Wilson’s creative process and witnessed a well-regulated shouting match over J. S. Bach. Holy cow! Above all, I discovered a society teeming with people who affirmed my love of music and validated my study of it.

I had come to musicology after several years’ experience as a bass player and teacher, in which I saw myself as something of an egghead or history geek among orchestral musicians. I was looking for something more, and with the encouragement of my first music history teacher, Bruce Gustafson, I began graduate study in musicology.

I now enjoy a rich network of longstanding friendships that is maintained through the many activities of the AMS, but I am most eager to celebrate its 75th birthday because it embodies so many of my ideals in human interaction: the various awards and campaigns alone reveal a membership that is unfailingly generous, inclusive, and broad-minded. I feel privileged to be a part of the Society, and with both gratitude and admiration, I offer enthusiastic birthday wishes.

Andrew H. Weaver

Assistant Professor of Music
The Catholic University of America

I’ll never forget my first AMS meeting: New York City, 1995. As an undergraduate who had recently decided to pursue graduate study in musicology, I had no idea what to expect. I was staying with friends elsewhere in the city, but because the program said that registration began at 9 am Thursday, I was in the hotel lobby by 8:45 sharp! The weekend was an overwhelming blur, and yet I still clearly remember many of the conversations I had and the papers I heard. I knew that this was the place for me.

Since then, AMS has become an important annual ritual, a fantastic opportunity to catch up with old friends, to meet new people, and of course to hear stimulating papers. I feel privileged to be part of such a wonderful community, and now that I’m in a position in which I’m mentoring my own students, I have enjoyed introducing them to the joys of our Society. I know I will continue to rely on the AMS for the rest of my career, and I only hope that I can give back to the Society all that it has offered me.

Happy 75th Birthday, AMS! You’re looking better than ever!

Margaret Switten

Professor of French emeritus
Mount Holyoke College

I am not a card-carrying musicologist, although music is an important part of my scholarly activity as a medievalist. The musician in the family was my husband. He was the member of the Society. When he died, I thought dropping the membership would be logical. But when I did, I discovered that without the Society and its Journal, my own scholarly life was impoverished. So I reeinstated the membership. I particularly appreciate the Journal because of what seems to me to be the uniformly high quality of the articles and the thoroughness of the reviews. The Newsletter reflects the intensity of the Society's support for scholarship and for the scholars who provide it, in addition to keeping me up-to-date on the activities of colleagues. I find the Society consistently imaginative in maintaining and renewing the vigor of its field and appreciate its willingness to engage in (sometimes rowdy) dialogue with other disciplines. So I'm happy to say "Happy Birthday."

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Virginia Newes

Cambridge, Massachusetts

When I arrived back in Boston in 1977 after 18 years raising a family in Europe, I had a newly-minted Licence en musicologie but almost no work history. Against everyone’s better judgment, I enrolled in the doctoral program at Brandeis, and a couple of years later found myself giving my first AMS paper at the national meeting in Denver. What encouraged me most in this late-life career launch was the collegiality I found at AMS, the sense of excitement at being part of an immensely varied and continually renewed scholarly enterprise. Best wishes for your next 75 years!

Wright

Leofranc Holford-Strevens

Consultant Scholar-Editor
Oxford University Press

Having come into musicology in my 40s, and been with the AMS only since 1991, not to mention living in England and coming over only for the Annual Meetings, I can hardly compete in reminiscences with those who have grown up with the Society and attended all their local chapter meetings; but I can say that from the start in that freezing Chicago November I have felt welcome and at home. Ever since then the Annual Meeting has been something to look forward to and enjoy, a stimulating occasion on which I hear good papers, meet old friends, and make new ones.


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Clyde Brockett

Professor of Music, emeritus
Christopher Newport University

My cue to this congratulatory offering comes from a fellow 1934-er, Leeman Perkins. It was not only the year of our birth that links us but also our respective connections to Columbia University: his as professor, mine as a M.A. and Ph.D. student (much earlier of course). Musicology, importantly, would introduce me to the AMS, which convened at Columbia, Yale and Princeton in September 1961 for its twenty-second annual meeting, together with the IMS. Like a typical graduate student then, I was awed in the presence of those whose names were appearing and would appear ubiquitously on pages of my studies, alongside my professors Lang and Mitchell, then visibly active in our Society. Vivid in memory for its contribution to my primary research interest was the ill-fated thirty-fifth AMS annual meeting just after Christmas 1969. I was to be introduced by Kenneth Levy -- whom I had long looked forward to meeting -- scheduled to chair the session “Liturgical Chant, East and West.” But Ken was stuck in the U.S. East with all flights to the ice-encrusted runways of St. Louis airport cancelled. Still, I was rewarded to meet the late Miloš Velimirović, also on that session. Those were the days when many ‘famous’ could be seen and recognized. While perhaps not as easily done today, we all appreciate more greatly the healthy increase in the size and programs of our professional organization. Congratulations and happy birthday, AMS! Cheers on growing and flourishing, with the one-worded motto of my hometown (Norfolk, VA): Crescas.

James L. Zychowicz

A-R Editions

Congratulations to the AMS on its 75th Birthday! Like many of us, I first became acquainted with AMS as a graduate student, and the Society has since become a part of my life. While supporting and promoting the music cultures in which we do our research, the AMS also exhibits a culture of its own through its support of journals, books, and editions. Over the years the various sessions at the annual meetings have affected generations of scholars as they share ideas to expand research in many areas of investigation. More than that, the sessions that various committees offer support the lives of musicologists in many ways, and the result is a meaningful effort that helps to define musicology not just in the textbook sense, but in action. As we reflect on the last seventy-five years, it is important not only to celebrate past success, but also to continue to build the culture of musicology for future generations.

 

Hans Tischler

Professor of Music emeritus
Indiana University

I am probably one of the few left who was active around the time the AMS was born. In 1938 Gustave Reese was in London, working on his Music in the Middle Ages. He asked me to assist him by analyzing the original Latin documents pertaining to Chapter 11, and I came close to writing it. I still own a copy of that book, inscribed by Mr. Reese to me. His other assistant was Fred Sternfeld, my friend and colleague from Vienna. Mr. Reese remained my friend all his life. In 1938 the "AMS" was still a concept struggling toward birth in the brains of Gus Reese and three or four of his colleagues, but not yet quite fully formed. Happily, it has come a long way!

 

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Pierpaolo Polzonetti

Assistant Professor of Music
Notre Dame University

There are two solemn and fun American gatherings that I cherish and always look forward to: one is Thanksgiving and the other is the Annual Meeting of the AMS. I like to the former because of the food for the belly, the latter because it offers a great opportunity to meet friends, colleagues, and have a feast for the mind. This is the great Pow Wow of musicology that brings together the 18th-century-music tribe, the Italian-opera tribe, the Renaissance tribe, the popular-music tribe, and on and on with all their chiefs. For somebody like me, who works in an interdisciplinary program it is the occasion to meet my academic nation, to feel part of a community. In the course of my career the AMS has already given me enough reasons to make me feel an honored member of the society and to confirm that what we do is important to society at large.

Wright

 

Elizabeth Aubrey

Professor of Music
University of Iowa

My first AMS meeting—Washington 1974—was easy enough for me to attend, living as I did in the D.C. suburbs while pursuing graduate studies at the University of Maryland. My limited means enabled me to travel to only a few annual meetings over the next several years, but since Boston 1981 I have not missed a one. Aside from stimulating paper sessions and the pleasure of meeting scholars whose publications I have devoured, two things stand out for me. First, the company of friends and colleagues at delightful meals and no-host (and hosted!) happy hours; in exhibit halls and hotel lounges; and on escapades to museums, concert halls, and assorted byways of annual meeting venues-hours spent in serious talk, good humor, mentoring and being mentored. Second, an endless succession of break-of-dawn breakfast meetings and late-afternoon and noontime confabs, conference calls, letters, and e-mail exchanges, all the work of the committees, councils, and boards on which I have served-priceless opportunities to experience the wisdom and wit, the generosity, diversity, and vigor that characterize this community of scholars. The AMS is its people, as excellent a collection of them as one could ever hope to know. Happy 75th!

 


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Peter Alexander

University of Iowa

My musical careers have been varied: high school band director, military bandsman, critic and journalist, church choir director—and musicologist. But musicology and the AMS have been constant. I gave a paper at my first Annual Meeting, in Louisville in 1983, and I have relished many meetings, regional and national, since then. When I was chosen to edit the Newsletter of the Society, I quickly realized two things: that the Annual Meeting felt like a homecoming (I love to walk through the book displays, talk with friends, engage with scholars outside of their books and articles, and observe all the new directions of scholarship), and that editing the Newsletter was a treasured opportunity to contribute to the field and the Society that mean more to me with every passing year. In 2008 I am especially heartened at the directions I have seen recently: fascinating work in new fields, expanding support for all musicologists— and some really rockin’ musicians at the AMS Cabaret! So Happy 75 to the AMS, and many happy returns to the Annual Meeting.

Anne Schnoebelen

Joseph and Ida Kirkland Mullen Professor emerita
Rice University

With great pleasure and admiration I offer these birthday wishes to the AMS. Over the several decades I have been a member, the organization has developed under astute leadership on the part of its officers and executive directors into a prestigious element of the academic community. I am especially delighted at the ever-growing support for young scholars the society has espoused.  Above all, the forum the AMS has provided for sharing knowledge is one of its greatest gifts to us all.  Looking back, I recall having met fellow scholars at national and chapter meetings who would later become colleagues, collaborators and friends.  Enjoying the results of their research has always been a source of inspiration for my own work. Now that I am retired from teaching, seeing former students (and their children) at meetings has become a yearly pleasure. 

Happy Birthday, AMS!  May you continue to nurture and inspire fine scholarship for many years to come.

 

Colleen Reardon

Professor of Music and Associate Dean
Claire Trevor School of the Arts
University of California, Irvine

My first job in academia took me to a small department at a regional university where I was the only music historian. I am not sure that I would have survived without the AMS. Even way back then we had e-mail and the Internet, but they were and still are no substitute for a gathering of scholars in the same place at the same time with the same purpose. The annual meetings provided the energy, the contacts, and stimulus I needed to grow as a scholar. Year after year, the AMS meetings have been a window on the brilliant work happening in our field and have provided me with an ever-widening circle of friends and colleagues. I offer both my gratitude and my heartiest congratulations to the AMS on its 75th birthday!

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Jeffrey Kurtzman

Professor of Music
Washington University in St. Louis

I attended my first AMS meeting at New Haven in December 1968. I was on a temporary appointment at Cornell University and looking forward to my first national meeting after attending a few Midwest Chapter meetings as a graduate student at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champagne. It was my first visit to Yale and one of my most vivid memories is of hearing a performance by Noah Greenberg and the New York Pro Musica. Since then I have missed only three annual meetings, which have become important gatherings for me, not only to hear some of the latest research, browse the book exhibits, hear concerts, and keep track of the myriad directions in which the field has blossomed, but also to renew annually an ever-burgeoning number of friendships, which assume increasing significance the older I get. The AMS has been the gracious host to the annual business meetings of the Society for Seventeenth-Century Music, whose formal organization commenced with the AMS meeting in Pittsburgh, and I’ve personally enjoyed enormously my contacts with colleagues I hadn’t previously known through committee chairmanships over the years: the Program Committee (of the oft-cited 1981 Boston meeting), the Ethics Statement Committee and the Palisca Award Committee. Since I have no intention of reducing my scholarly activity, I look forward to many more years with our flourishing organization.

Happy Birthday, AMS.

Wright

 

Mary Hunter

A. LeRoy Greason Professor of Music
Bowdoin College

Happy 75th, AMS! You have passed the threescore and ten mark and show no signs of decline. Indeed, you may be more full of life than ever before.

My first AMS conferences, in the mid 1970’s, were terrifying and largely miserable experiences. My perception (obviously personal and equally obviously incomplete) was of a humorless, largely male, society fostering a careerism I was conflicted about, and a set of methodologies that on the whole did not touch my soul. But now the latest scholarship and a dedication to the highest of standards co-exist with the mentoring of younger scholars, young parents pushing strollers around the book-exhibition hall, a lot of attention to repertories and methods unimaginable in 1974, and a capacious and generous sense of what “counts” as good work in the field. Here’s to the next 75!  


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Peter Bergquist

Professor emeritus of Music History, Music Theory, and Bassoon
University of Oregon

It's startling to realize that I am just a few years older than AMS. Not that I have been a member from the beginning; I joined around 1960, in graduate school. It has been a fruitful association for me in so many ways. The journal has provided no end of stimulation in its articles and reviews, and it has been a privilege to contribute to it on a few occasions. Contacts with colleagues at national and chapter meetings have always been important; without them, we would be terribly isolated from one another. The Society has contributed immeasurably to the discipline and to the professional growth of each of its members. I wish it continued success for many years to come—how about another 75 for starters!

 

Leeman Perkins

Professor of Music emeritus
Columbia University

Although I am not entirely sure why, it has been a source of some amusement to me that the AMS and I are the same age. It may be because the promising future of the Society is something to celebrate at an age when, in human terms, birthdays are no longer necessarily welcome. Unfortunately, if understandably, my parents were undoubtedly unaware that the AMS had come into existence in the year in which I was born, and they had no way of foreseeing what my career path would be. Otherwise they might have enrolled me at birth in the organization that has become the nurturing guardian of the musicological disciplines. As it happened, it was not until I was a graduate student at Yale University in the early 1960s that I became aware of the important role that the Society can play in the intellectual and professional life of those engaged with musical scholarship and became a member. Still, that has given me already nearly half a century to contemplate its work and progress.

Very early on I came to understand that the AMS provides essential elements in the training of young scholars engaged in musical scholarship and in the development of their career. It has been enormously helpful, to begin, to have a journal consecrated to scholarly discourse concerning music that establishes a professional standard worthy of emulation. But perhaps even more important, from my point of view, are the annual meetings in providing an opportunity not only to learn about new work being done in one’s own field, but also to cross into related fields in search of methodological parallels, cultural insights, and the stimulation provided by new directions in our disciplines generally. Those gatherings have also been for me a time to renew contacts and friendships with colleagues with whom I share intellectual and scholarly interests and with whom I have had the pleasure of serving on one or more of the numerous committees by means of which the Society does much of its work.

It has been encouraging to me to see, in recent years, the ever greater scope of that activity, as the AMS has begun providing for its members, in addition to intellectual stimulation and professional standards, economic means to assist with the expenses involved in programs of research and the preparation of materials for publication.  As a graduate student, I was the fortunate beneficiary of a dissertation-year grant from the Martha Baird Rockefeller Foundation, which enabled me to complete my doctorate on a reasonably timely schedule.  Consequently, I was, like many others, distressed when the foundation was liquidated and that important source of funding for graduate students in musicology was eliminated.  But the Society decided to fill that gap, and the AMS 50 Fellowships came into existence, thanks in large measure to the intelligent efforts of a former mentor and colleague, Alvin Johnson, for whom they have been named.  Since then—a milestone for the Society at its half-century mark—the initiatives to provide financial support for travel, research, and publication have multiplied, and the Society is able to assist in an ever wider variety of contexts the scholarly efforts of its members. May its successes and achievements continue, so that the first century of its existence might be an even greater occasion for celebration than its 75th year!

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Susan Forscher Weiss

Joint Appointment:
Department of Musicology, The Peabody Conservatory;
Department of German and Romance Languages, The Krieger School of Arts and Sciences
The Johns Hopkins Universityy

Before my students head off to attend their first AMS meetings, I counsel them that they may experience some of the same slightly scary feelings I had back in the 1970s when I attended my first annual meeting in Washington, D.C. To see the very scholars whose articles and books I had read, as well as to listen to them deliver papers and interact with one another was, to put it mildly, daunting. Never did I dream that many of those figures—some no longer with us—would have been so generous with their time and knowledge, nor did I know they would have had so important an influence on me, on my colleagues in ours and related disciplines, and of course, on my students and even on my own family.

To fond memories and to future ones, Happy Birthday AMS!

Wright

 

Cristle Collins Judd

Dean for Academic Affairs
Professor of Music
Bowdoin College

I joke at times that I am "married to the AMS" (in the form of Bob Judd, the Executive Director) and that we have an "AMS-baby" (our youngest daughter was born the day after I read an AMS paper). So I may have a unique sense of the AMS as family. But long before these special connections, AMS served as my scholarly "family." Meetings allow us to put voices and faces to published work, to be inspired by papers to seek out new written work, to reconnect with old acquaintances, to forge new connections. Despite the loss of the familiar deckled edge, the use of Powerpoint rather than a "tableau vivant," and whatever other earthshaking changes will occur in the next quarter century, I am confident that the AMS will continue to foster a family of musical scholars and scholarship.

Happy 75th, AMS! I'm looking forward to a great birthday party in Philadelphia in 2009.

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Bruce Alan Brown

Professor of Musicology
Thornton School of Music
University of Southern California

When then-AMS President Peter Burkholder invited me to serve as editor of JAMS, I wondered if I had a sufficient number of people in my Rolodex (so to speak) for the job. Well, I do now! During my three-year term I have had ample opportunity to see just how extensive and impressive is the pool of talent upon which JAMS relies both for authors of articles and reviews and for referees of submissions. One gains an impression of this simply by reading the Journal, of course, but dealing directly with the dedicated members of the Editorial Board, and by e-mail with many hundreds of scholars worldwide, I have expanded exponentially my awareness of who is doing what in the musicological universe, and made a great many friends (and e-friends) in the process. It has been especially gratifying to meet authors and referees face to face at AMS meetings; even authors whose articles ultimately didn’t appear in the pages of our Journal have conveyed to me their gratitude for the rigorous and constructive criticism they’ve received, surpassing in quality and level of detail what they have experienced with other journals. I consider myself lucky to have been able to help carry on this grand tradition, channeling the creative energies and generosity of AMS members and others. Nur weiter so!

Joanne Swenson-Eldridge

Independent Scholar / Holy Cross College
Notre Dame, Indiana

AMS conferences are such a boon for me. They provide opportunities to witness scholars in action (whether expounding or “arguing” a point), to communicate with authors whose writings I admire, to exchange greetings, to spend time with good friends, and to establish new friendships. Conference exhibits rank high, both in content and contacts—professional and personal. Now as an independent scholar, I retain connected to all those benefits, as well as engaged in the work of the society through the OPUS campaign and the AMS “Buddy program.”  And as a MUSA volume editor, I thank the AMS for its role in the publication of American Music and send 75th-year birthday greetings—celebrations deserved!

 

James N. Grier

Professor of Music
University of Western Ontario

It is indeed an honour for me to offer birthday greetings to the AMS.  As a Canadian, I value the opportunities the AMS makes available to all musicologists to present their work before a large and vigorous professional society. The steps the Society has made towards increasing inclusiveness and diversity ensure that musicology will continue to experience a rigorous, dynamic and sometimes noisy dialogue.  Congratulations and happy birthday!

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Margot Fassler

Robert A. Tangeman Professor of Music History and Liturgy
Yale University

No matter how many disciplines one engages in, how many societies one joins or activities one promotes—from closely argued archival work to making videos—AMS is always home sweet home. The scholarly study of music is, to my mind, the greatest of all humanistic disciplines; music is the art that lights up the entire human brain, uniting our hemispheres, joining loves of math and science, theology, aesthetics, dance, poetry, drama, anthropology and the visual arts. Great though our art and science are, there is always much new work to be done: in musicology every scholar can be a bold pioneer. Happy Birthday, AMS.  Here's to a future of great scholarship that not only enlightens the world, but helps to save it too through the inspiration and joys of music and of musical scholarship, in their diverse forms.

Wright

 

Andrew dell'Antonio

Head, Musicology/Ethnomusicology Division   
School of Music
The University of Texas at Austin

My graduate student interlocutor seemed perplexed—almost aghast— when I told her, as a college junior, that I planned to become a musicologist; but the seeds had been sown through the benevolent influence of Tom Kelly, the director of the early music ensemble in which I had performed as a high-school-student college brat, and well watered by my college faculty, most of all Claude Palisca and Laurence Dreyfus.  Still, it was my attendance at the AMS national meeting in the fall semester of my senior year in college that "sealed the deal": this was the 1984 meeting in Philadelphia, and I felt entirely at home (though of course deeply intimidated) among the hordes of music scholars.  Soon thereafter I received a booklet produced by the Society called The PhD and Your Career, and I was hooked; even through years of graduate-school penny-pinching and above-the-legal-limit hotel-room sharing, I have attended almost every AMS meeting since then. It was at the meeting in Minneapolis a decade later that I fell in love with my scholar-spouse, Susan Jackson, and at every meeting before and since my trajectory as a thinker has been challenged and renewed. Throughout these two decades and more, and most recently through the privilege of sitting in on the first planning meetings for the Committee for Professional Development, I have seen the AMS develop and flex, responding to the needs of its growing and changing constituencies. As we move toward the 75th annual meeting—my 25th anniversary with the AMS!—I am delighted to be a part of such a vibrant and committed organization. Many happy returns to us all!

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Victoria Cooper

Senior Commissioning Editor, Music and Theatre
Cambridge University Press

I joined the American Musicological Society when I was a graduate student at the University of Chicago. As a student it was a wonderful and exciting place to see and hear musicology in action and to learn about the field and the profession. Over the years the Society has come to be like family to me and now, as Commissioning Editor for the music and theatre lists at Cambridge, I hope I can give something back, in some way, to the Society, its members, and the discipline by providing a forum for research and investigation, and by helping both scholars and students with their ideas and projects. I still carry that feeling of family when I participate in Society events and it is true to say that the AMS is an organisation which, perhaps in a unique way, can sustain, nurture, and carry one through many different stages in life.

I send all very best wishes to the Society and look forward to its long and fruitful future.

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Lois Rosow

Professor of Music
The Ohio State University

My earliest experiences with the AMS date from around the time the SMT was established. Since then the number of ancillary organizations has burgeoned, some of them study groups within the Society but many of them independent societies. Far from splintering the field beyond recognition, these special interest groups confirm the primacy of the AMS itself. It is still the annual meeting of the AMS where musicologists go to hear the best and the latest work in the field of musicological scholarship as a whole, to take the pulse of American musicology at times of disciplinary turmoil, to connect faces with names, to network with colleagues and publishers, and to reunite with our many musicological friends from around the country. Happy birthday, AMS, and all the best for a healthy and happy future!

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Bruno Nettl

Professor emeritus of Music and Anthropology
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Happy 75th!  My earliest memory of AMS goes back six decades, to a 1948 regional meeting in Bloomington that my father arranged. A still shaky kitten of an organization dominated by bewildered Europeans, no one expected AMS to become the dominant lion of music scholarship. I look back fondly at my first paper at a national meeting, in 1952, on American Indian music—a subject welcomed with kindness and even enthusiasm by the fifty in the audience—and getting my wrist gently slapped by the venerable Curt Sachs and Charles Seeger. This was before the founding of SEM, with which I have been most associated, but AMS, to which I have belonged for 55 years now, then made (and still makes) no bones about including all types of musicology in its programs. Music research today is such a large world that we need specialized societies, but I hope that the AMS will continue its original mission of representing all of musicology.

Wright

 

Marcia Citron

Lovett Distinguished Service Professor of Musicology
Shepherd School of Music
Rice University

The AMS has come a long way since I attended my first national meeting, in 1969. There were not many women, and most scholars worked on early music. It has been a joy to see a vital female presence emerge over the years, and the expansion into later music and cultural approaches has invigorated the discipline. The Society has also dramatically increased its support of members and the nurturing of young scholars and graduate students. I'm thrilled to be a part of this creative organization. Happy Birthday, AMS, and many happy returns over the coming years!

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Lawrence Archbold

Professor of Music
Carleton College

The AMS has been vital to me and my career both despite—and because of—the fact that I am a genre specialist: I study organ music and organists are the audience for my work. The AMS keeps me abreast of the larger world of musicology and encourages me—indeed, challenges me—to bring to my own projects all that I can learn from and find useful in the widest range of the best scholarship. For me more a resource than a platform, the AMS is an indispensable source of inspiration and point of reference, an umbrella under which to make and sustain connections.



Judy Tsou

Head, Music Library
University of Washington

The oft-cited diary entry of Ruth Crawford regarding the New York Musicological Society meeting in 1930 (the predecessor of AMS) demonstrates the exclusionary nature of the early society. Looking back to recent history, however, we see that AMS has come a long way to include women and to become more diverse. Through the vision of its presidents and the generosity of its members, many grants, awards, and committees have been established to address issues particular to women, to recruit minority students, to honor gay and lesbian studies, and to aid independent scholars. These are official actions; many more personal outreach and mentoring efforts are not quantifiable or documented. I personally have benefited from both tracks; continuing these efforts will ensure that AMS remains a strong society in the next 75 years. Happy Birthday AMS!  

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Marica S. Tacconi

Associate Professor of Musicology
Director, Institute for the Arts and Humanities
Pennsylvania State University

Soon after entering the doctoral program at Yale, my classmates and I were welcomed at a reception for new graduate students hosted by the Music Department. The conversation quickly turned to the upcoming AMS meeting and I asked the faculty whether they recommended that we, first-year students, attend. One senior scholar jumped right in and replied, “Yes, of course, although there won’t be any ‘fireworks’ this year.” My immediate reaction was “Fireworks! I didn’t know they had fireworks at AMS meetings!” After a few long seconds and a collective look of shock and bewilderment (“who in the world did we accept into our program!?”), the distinguished faculty member added, “It’s an idiom!” 

Truth is that every AMS annual meeting is full of “fireworks.” There are the public and highly visible “fireworks”—the much-anticipated awards announced at the business meeting; the discipline-defining papers; and the lively, sometimes heated, exchange of ideas following a session.  But there are also the more personal, inner “fireworks”—the sense of relief and satisfaction after presenting a successful paper; the excitement of seeing one’s newly-published book on display at the book exhibit; the joy of catching up with a former classmate or mentor. And how to describe that special, tiny, but potent “firework,” that spark of excitement and revelation—an epiphany, really—that can often be detected in the eyes of our youngest members, still in the process of sorting out what musicology really is and suddenly “getting it”!

The AMS is a society of “fireworks.” And, who knows… maybe the skies of Philadelphia really will be brightened by fireworks in mid November 2009! It will be a birthday worth celebrating in grand style!

 

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Honey Meconi

Professor of Music, College Music Department
Professor of Musicology, Eastman School of Music
University of Rochester

"When I with pleasing wonder stand and all thy frame survey..." Thus begins (almost) the choral work Creation by American composer William Billings, and those words mirror my feelings as I think about the AMS and its first 75 years. It's impossible to capture all that the AMS frames: chapter meetings and annual meetings, JAMS and monographs, awards and prizes, publishers and performers, Canadians and Americans and anyone anywhere who wishes to belong, from the newest member to the most venerable eminence. Even as an undergraduate I benefited from the extraordinary support and generosity of those far senior to me, and now my generation tries to give back to the Society in gratitude for the intellectual richness, ever-expanding opportunities, and lifelong friendships that it has provided.

Creation ends with these words: "Strange that a harp of thousand strings should keep in tune so long." We're still in tune; may we perform thus forever!

Wright

 

Michael McClellan

Associate Professor of Music
Chinese University, Hong Kong

For me the AMS is a musicological republic of letters in which the exchange of ideas flourishes amid much entertaining causerie and gossip. Like its eighteenth-century counterpart, the AMS has its own Voltaires and Rousseaus as well as its Grub Street denizens, all participants in lively, open-ended conversation. Methodological quarrels occasionally rage and tempers may flare, yet we share the same conviction, i.e. music—in all its manifestations—matters. Being a member of this community has sustained me intellectually over the years and across many miles. Our collective passion for music serves as a reminder of what first drew me to this profession and continues to offer inspiration.

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Joseph Auner

Professor of Music
Tufts University

It was during my freshman year at Colorado College thirty years ago that I discovered not only that there was such a thing as musicology, but that there was a community of scholars who devoted their lives to it—researching, collaborating, debating, all for the joy of better understanding what music is and what it can mean. With the support of all my teachers and colleagues, the AMS has provided me many pathways for becoming part of this dynamic community along with many inspiring models of generous, committed, engaged, and enthusiastic scholarship. When I speak to students with an interest in thinking and writing about music, I tell them that there has never been a more exciting time to enter the field. Thanks, and Happy Seventy-Fifth Birthday to the AMS!



Maribeth Payne

Music Editor
W. W. Norton & Co.

I was a newly minted editor for Schirmer Books with two weeks on the job when I headed off to my first AMS annual meeting, held in Ann Arbor in 1982. Eager to get the lay of the land, I decided to spend my time going to papers and learning about the hot topics of the day by listening to scholars present their research. As luck would have it, the very first paper I attended was one by Richard Taruskin—and I was blown away.  It was a great introduction to musicology, and it engendered an excitement in the subject that I have never lost during my 25 years as a music editor, first at Schirmer Books, then at Oxford University Press, and now at Norton. Music and musicological scholarship have changed time and time again over that span, but one constant through the years has been AMS; and it is thanks to this wonderful organization that I have met so many of the scholars whose work I have published and whose friendships I have cherished. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the AMS for introducing me to so many wonderful scholars and friends, and to call attention to programs like the AMS Studies in Music and AMS 75 PAYS, both of which assist talented scholars in pursuing their research, getting published, and enriching the lives of the rest of us with their work.   

Whatever our specific interests, careers, or areas of specialization, AMS unites us all through our common passion for music, and provides a forum for scholarship, for friendship, and for just plain fun. Happy Birthday, AMS—I don’t know what I would have done without you! 

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Marie Louise Göllner

Professor emerita of Music
UCLA

As we celebrate this anniversary, I'd like to honor one of the founding fathers, Prof. George Sherman Dickinson of Vassar College, who chaired the organizing committees of both the AMS in 1934 and JAMS in 1947-48 when he was President of the Society. "Dickie's" course in music history at Vassar was legendary, and his love and enthusiasm for music and its literature sparked my lasting interest in the field. My own modest contribution to the inner workings of the Society was as chair of the local arrangements committee for the 1975 national meeting in Los Angeles, an event just recently repeated. Throughout the years I've watched the AMS and JAMS grow in both membership and international influence. The Society forms a focus of communication among colleagues and in recent years has become increasingly active as the sponsor of awards and fellowships to benefit younger scholars in their research and careers.  May it continue to prosper!

Ossi
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Richard Freedman

Professor of Music
Director, Hurford Humanities Center
Haverford College

For me, the AMS has always been both local and national.  In the late 1970's, when I first entered graduate school at the University of Pennsylvania, the AMS was neither remote nor abstract--it was down the hall in Alvin Johnson's office, with its boxes of JAMS back issues and bound ledgers of membership lists. Alvin occasionally enlisted us to move these glacial piles, and routinely offered strong advice over weak coffee in a spartan lunch room nearby. When I started attending the national meetings, this familiar character was suddenly transposed in sharp relief (and never more so than in his droll reading of the annual business report). The experience helped me recognize the warm collegiality that awaits discovery across the AMS, whenever we pause to get to know each other through our shared intellectual pursuits.

Wright

Anna Celenza

Caestecker Professor of Music
Georgetown University

There are many rituals in life: birthdays, holidays, the first week of classes. Most blur together as the years pass, but not AMS conferences. Each meeting is fairly distinct in my mind. I can recall the papers I heard, the dinners with friends and colleagues, the late-night conversations. Logic tells me that the change of venue helps to distinguish one year from the next, but I know it's more than that.  AMS is the core of my intellectual community. With each meeting I gain inspiration and guidance. Like rings in a tree, the annual gatherings mark my personal development.

Wish 1

Stefano Castelvecchi

St. John’s College
Cambridge University

At the cost of being unoriginal, I must repeat what other colleagues have written ("75 Birthday Wishes" is growing into a micro-genre in its own right): the AMS has provided many of us with the sense of a community. (And a supportive one: only think of the role played by the AMS 50 in the life of a number--by now quite a number--of young scholars.)

And of course there is the annual meeting. Where else could you, in three or four days, feel the pulse of the field, hear papers from the masterly to the outrageous, see so many friends and colleagues (AMS meetings have given "lobbying" a new, nicer meaning), and glance at so many musicological publications? Where else--another topos of our micro-genre--does the student put faces and names together, and behold awe-inspiring epiphanies (say, the great Chaliapin in his much-acclaimed role of Riccardo Taruskin)?

A personal recollection. Picture the desert of Arizona in blinding sunlight, two figures standing side by side--a tall cactus and Philip Gossett, President of the Society, in his presidential three-piece suit and tie: not the content of a surrealist painting, but the most vivid memory from the 1997 AMS meeting in Phoenix. Cento di questi giorni!

Pamela Starr

Professor of Music
University of Nebraska

My first serious encounter with musicologists was as a (very, very young) assistant working in the Music Division of the New York Public Library. I had been allowed to prepare canapés for the inaugural reception hosted by the library for the Josquin Festival Conference. I was bemused at the sight of so many distinguished-looking people deep in conversations. Someone pointed out Edward Lowinsky himself, peering into the card catalogue, canapé in hand. I was privileged to attend some of the papers, most of which went way over my head. I little thought how many times I would eventually cite the published papers I heard, nor how much enjoyment I would gain from hearing the papers of my colleagues and friends over the years, and from engaging in similar earnest conversation at so many receptions and parties. An unbroken string of 26(!) Annual Meetings has only reinforced my conviction that musicology is a wonderful, and completely nourishing profession. May AMS go boldly into the future, publishing, presenting, and partying.   Happy 75th and many, many more.

Russell Murray

Associate Professor of Music
University of Delaware

Over the next three years, my father will turn 80, my daughter will turn 18, and the AMS will turn 75! Such milestones always prompt reflection about our loved ones: how they’ve grown, how they’ve changed, and how our relationship with them has developed. The same holds for organizations that are important parts of our lives. In the 25-plus years I’ve been a part of AMS, I’ve seen wonderful things. Although we’ve argued about seemingly minor issues (deckle edges come to mind), we have united in the work of transforming our organization to make it more inclusive, more welcoming, and more relevant.  I always come away from our annual meetings with a renewed sense of optimism for our profession and its future. Happy Birthday AMS (and Dad and Diane too!)

Ossi

Margaret Murata

Professor of Music
University of California, Irvine

If the AMS were to disappear today, it would be re-born tomorrow. Once it was a small group of scholars with similar knowledge and goals, among them the recognition that the study of music is a humanist endeavor and a discipline that belongs in the university. From that base, American research in music followed its own lines of development, the predictable and the not, immersed in ever-changing intellectual seas and tide pools. The changes over the last 75 years in the academic molecule that is American musicology have nonetheless all been catalyzed by our common passion for music, for our musics, something that guarantees birthdays and regenerations to come.

Wright

Ann Dhu McLucas

Professor of Music
Univesity of Oregon

I suspect that the AMS has meant many things to each of us. For me, national meetings were an uncomfortable fit for a graduate student interested in American music in oral tradition (SEM was then no more hospitable to these same topics—both organizations have changed for the better!). My papers were placed awkwardly at the end of medieval sessions (monophony was the thin connecting thread), and the whole audience would leave, with a trickle of friends and the curious coming in. And my very first paper was fiercely attacked by someone with a grudge toward Harvard! But a kindly person took me to lunch to give me the low-down on the attack, and I think it is this—the personal connections, the kindly people, and the chance to see old friends that have kept me coming to AMS, even when American topics were thin. Now they are plentiful, the papers are often as interesting as the hallway action, and AMS is a vibrant 75-year-old—something we can all aspire to! Long live AMS, and may it continue to grow and change to fit the times.

van Boer

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Mark Clague

Assistant Professor of Music
University of Michigan

Celebrating the seventy-fifth birthday of the AMS calls to mind my first national meeting—1991 in Chicago, Illinois—what became my own baptism into the field. As a newly minted graduate student at the University of Chicago, I had volunteered to assist local arrangements. I knew little about musicology as a field, but having a role to play—even as a mere session monitor—made me feel part of it all. I remember the awe I felt in putting faces to the names I knew only as the authors of books and articles I either loved or with which I loved to disagree. Emotions ran high at this particular meeting as the growing pains of the “new musicology” and the influence of critical theory sparked repeated controversy. The identities of canonical figures such as Josquin, Beethoven, and Schubert had been cracked open anew for debate. Yet after the smoke of argument had cleared and I was left to pick up discarded handouts and turn out the lights, what remained was the air of energy and passion, knowledge and dedication with which these scholars had battled. It was a great introduction to the world of musicology and the values the AMS holds dear. Happy birthday and best wishes for seventy-five more.


Jeanne M. Thompson

Seattle, Washington

For me the AMS provides a time, a place, and a community where I can continue to be a musicologist.  As someone who now falls somewhere on the spectrum between dilettante and independent scholar, I look forward to attending the annual meeting because it serves as a touchstone, reminding me that there is a community of people who care passionately about a dizzying array of topics across the history of music.  It’s a place to feel intellectually at home, and it offers me the time to be reinvigorated and revitalized about scholarship.  I am grateful that in this day of blogs and message boards for every topic under the sun, the AMS continues to meet as a group in real time and real space to share ideas, methods, and conclusions, encouraging our musicological community to remain connected, challenged, and committed.  Happy Birthday, AMS!

Ossi
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Jann Pasler

Professor of Music
University of California, San Diego

Elaine Sisman recently described us as “motivated by passion rather than duty” (AMS Newsletter [August 2006]). After the scholarly controversies characterizing the 1981 Boston meeting, especially the question of what should determine Bach’s intentions in performing Bach, came new questions and repertoire inspired by feminism, queer identity, and popular culture. What brings me back to national meetings each year and makes me feel part of a community is the people. We share a passion for understanding music. I value our dialogue through differences of generation, geography, ethnicity, and background, and the way we allow this dialogue to empower our growth.

Wright

 

Rufus Hallmark

Professor of Music
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

Ah, the allure of the annual meeting! For our first meeting together, Anne and I packed two different outfits for each day, a sartorial effort we never repeated, for two reasons: friends poking fun and the weight of the luggage!

The meeting lets young members put faces and names of famous scholars together. I remember staring at “big name” scholars as if they were movie stars. And there are those “blockbuster” papers. There’s already a buzz before the meeting that a respected or controversial scholar will hold forth on a hotly debated topic, and at the session, listeners are practically hanging from the rafters. Hearing such a paper presented live by its author is much more fun than reading it in print.

And chapter meetings. At the New England meeting in the mid-70s in honor of Renaissance scholar Isobel Pope Conant, there were speeches and also tributes from absent colleagues.  Nino Pirrotta sent her his contrafactum “De tous biens pleine est Isobel.”

If you want to hear why the meeting dates and hotel of the 1995 New York meeting were changed, catch me in the hall in Los Angeles, and I’ll tell you not only that story, but also about my memorable first inspection of the (eventually selected) Grand Hyatt.

van Boer
Wish 1

 

Bruce Gustafson

Charles. A. Dana Professor of Music
Franklin & Marshall College

I remember well my first AMS meeting. It was in 1969 and I had just finished a master’s degree in performance. I tagged along with a new friend (who turned out to be my lifetime partner), and I had not considered even dabbling in musicology. At that meeting, however, I met such interesting and intelligent thinkers, including one senior scholar who was generous and open to a young outsider, that suddenly musicology had a human component. I eventually realized that this was the field for me and went back to school to earn a Ph.D., finding encouragement, inspiration, and scholarly contacts at the annual AMS meetings. Once launched, I only skipped the meetings when I was doing research in France, and even then I sorely missed seeing my colleagues, doing business with publishers, and hearing papers on topics that I didn’t know I was interested in. Happy Birthday, AMS, and thank you!

Ossi
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Massimo Ossi

Associate Professor, School of Music
Indiana University

75 years: the Great Depression, the Holocaust, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Civil Rights, the Cold War, the Space Age, the 60s, the British Invasion, Multiculturalism, the War of the Sexes and the Computer Revolution, the Digital Age; from 78s to 33s, reel-to-reel 8-track to minidiscs to iPods; from manuscript sketches to e-files.

Americans in Europe, Europeans in America; systematic musicology to positivism to deconstruction; gender studies and post-modernism; colonialism, humanism, the end of history; ethnomusicology and music theory, eurocentrism and world music; Mexicans and Chinese and Puerto Ricans, and Charles Seeger too; salsa and ciacconas and Shaker hymns.

Through it all, the AMS: playground, battleground, jungle drum, deckled edges and ams-list (or is it ams-lost?), debating society, idea-market, job-market, keeper of the traditions and target of tradition-abolitionists; Beethoven in Ballroom 1 and African Drumming in Ballroom 2 (thin curtain in-between), counterpoint and shouting matches.  Who cares if you listen?

AMS: one, divisible (e unum pluribus). 

May it long endure.

Wright
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Rebecca Baltzer

Professor emerita
University of Texas, Austin

Urged by my mentor, who had an article forthcoming in JAMS, I joined the AMS in 1963 and attended my first national meeting in New Orleans in 1966. At that time, several of the society’s founding members were still part of the scene, and AMS met between Christmas and New Year’s. That December, there were no more than half a dozen graduate students present, including me, but one I met and have known ever since was Richard Kramer. I have missed only two national meetings between 1966 and 2006, because I cannot imagine being a musicologist in North America without the AMS. Long before the internet, AMS became the professional lifeline that connected musicologists in every nook and cranny to their peers and to the field at large. It still does today. As beginning musicologists, friends and I used to marvel that if a bomb were to drop on the annual business meeting, American musicology would be decimated for decades. Fortunately, that has never happened! Happy anniversary, AMS!

van Boer
Wish 1

Alexandra Amati-Camperi

Associate Professor, Performing Arts and Latin American Studies
University of San Francisco

I have been going to AMS since I came to this country 17 years ago. At first, as a grad student, I attended entire sessions and avidly put faces to names of scholars whose research I knew. Then I started talking with those scholars, and attending fewer papers. Now I enjoy AMS not only for select papers and conversations with colleagues, but also because it is a time to see my old friends, to measure the passing of time -- at our school’s party there are more and more younger generations, and, sadly, a few beloved faces missing -- and because those are the three days each year when I don’t have to deal with my kids' homework, piano and ballet lessons etc. (although I have been known to leave AMS early to see them). It’s my special time of the year.

Wright
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Lesley A. Wright

Professor of Musicology
University of Hawai'i at Manoa

I joined the AMS as a grad student because my advisor told me to. At my first national conference I remember being too intimidated to speak with the scholars whose JAMS articles I had just been reading. Later, as a young faculty member I quickly came to appreciate stimulating exchanges of ideas in AMS sessions or over lunch. Now these dialogues can continue in online form, too. And, importantly, AMS has also begun supporting more and more scholars at a time when national and state agencies no longer do. I am now the advisor who tells her students to join AMS. I know that they will come to treasure this network of scholars, too. Bon anniversaire!

van Boer
Wish 1

Bertil van Boer

Professor of Musicology-Theory
Western Washington University
AMS life member (member since 1978)

As a graduate student my first AMS in New York opened up a world of music through the discussions and papers, showing not only a vibrant, living scholarship to a young student, but a future as well. Over the course of the years, the AMS has been my inspiration and refuge. The meetings not only allow for intellectual discourse, they provide a way to network and meet both old and new friends, to encourage our successors on their path, and to see how our work affects the world in
which we live. Happy birthday, AMS. Long may we all thrive.