Recent Alumni Pursuing Musicology

Elissa Harbert ('05) graduated from Lawrence University with a Bachelor of Music magna cum laude in oboe performance. She is now a musicologist specializing in music of the United States, focusing especially on issues of cultural memory and historical representation in musical theater and film. In Fall 2015, Elissa will join the DePauw University School of Music in Greencastle, Indiana, as a tenure-track Assistant Professor of Musicology. From 2013-2015, she held a Postdoctoral Fellowship at Macalester College in Saint Paul, Minnesota, where she taught the history of European and American music as well as a popular series of music appreciation courses at a senior living center.
After finishing her studies at Lawrence, Elissa earned a Master’s degree in oboe performance from Wichita State University and performed with the Wichita Symphony Orchestra. In 2013, she completed her Ph.D. in Musicology at Northwestern University with departmental honors and a cognate area in U.S. cultural history. Her dissertation, “Remembering the Revolution: Music in Stage and Screen Representations of Early America During the Bicentennial Years,” was awarded the American Musicological Society’s Alvin H. Johnson AMS 50 Dissertation Fellowship, grants and fellowships from the American Heritage Center and Northwestern University, and was a finalist for the Society for American Music Dissertation Award. She is currently working on her first book, which explores depictions of U.S. history in Broadway musicals from 1925 to the present.

Maia Perez ('14) is pursuing a M.Mus. in Historical Musicology at Boston University.  She is primarily interested in revivals, particularly the Period Instrument Revival and its socio-cultural impact. Her other interests include various (and cross-disciplinary) modernisms, and intersections of music and literature.

Helen Rowe graduated in 2013 with a B.Mus. in Violin Performance.  She was awarded honors cum laude for her honors project—“A Study of Music, Embodiment, and Meaning in the World of Portal.”  Helen is currently in the Ph.D. program at UCLA, studying the ways in which first-person video game players and their virtual worlds musically identify, interact, and create aesthetic understanding.

Alexis VanZalen (’14) completed her B.A. in History and a B.Mus. in Organ Performance and received awards in both disciplines, including prizes in the American Guild of Organists Young Artist regional competitions. She graduated summa cum laude for her honors thesis in music history on the seventeenth-century organist Dieterich Buxtehude’s civic and musical self-fashioning. Alexis is now attending the Eastman School of Music where she is working towards a Ph.D. in musicology and an M.Mus. in early music performance. She remains an active performer and scholar and has presented her research at Vanderbilt University’s German Studies Conference and the Society for Christian Scholarship in Music. She is planning a dissertation on French baroque music and recently won Eastman's Jerald C. Graue Fellowship for the best graduate student paper for her essay, "A Native American Tyrant King, A Blubbering African Coward, and Erotic African Dancers: Exotic Spectacle in Quinault and Lully's Cadmus et Hermione (1673)."