Visiting Assistant Professor

Jessica Sommer, Visiting Assistant Professor of Music Theory, joined the Lawrence University community in Fall 2020. She completed her PhD in music theory at Indiana University in December 2018. She has a M.M. in music theory from the University of Cincinnati, a M.M. in oboe performance from Florida State University, and a B.A. in music from Truman State University.

Prior to Lawrence, she has taught music theory for several years, at Ball State University and Grand Valley State University as visiting professor, and the Indiana University and University of Cincinnati as a graduate student; at Indiana, she was presented with the Mary Wennerstrom Associate Instructor Fellowship for excellence in the classroom.

Her dissertation, Embodiment, Enaction, and Signification in Analyzing Opera, uses theories of embodied cognition and enaction to look at—and listen to—operatic performances and apply that embodied attitude to analysis. She is using her dissertation for her next stage of research, with a continued focus on the analysis of opera. She has presented her research at several conferences, including the Society for Musicology Ireland, AMS Midwest, and the Music and Spatiality conference in Belgrade, Serbia. She also has a background in music-based empirical work; she has a paper published in Musicae Scientiae (with Kimberly Simmons and Daphne Tan) entitled “Effects of Metrical Dissonance and Expertise on Perceived Emotion in Schumann’s Carnaval.” She is also interested in philosophical research on the nature of embodied musical motion/movement, time, and human interaction.

In addition, she performs on oboe, voice, and piano.

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