Theory and Analysis of Contemporary Music: Study Abroad Course in Paris

TH 402A
Theory and Analysis of Contemporary Music: Study Abroad Course in Paris

May 30-June 27, 2021
Robert Hasegawa, director

This summer study-abroad program is a four-week, three-credit graduate-level course on contemporary music, open to performers, composers, theorists, and other music scholars. Scheduled to coincide with ManiFeste-2021, a month-long festival of contemporary music produced by IRCAM (Institut de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique/Musique), the course is designed to explore musical innovations of the last twenty-five years with special emphasis on works performed during the festival. Students will attend class meetings with Prof. Robert Hasegawa for the first two weeks of the course, then will participate as auditors in the ManiFeste Festival Academy for the final two weeks. Academy events include concerts, lectures, masterclasses for composers and performers, open rehearsals, and films.

The course is repertoire-based, and will include readings by composers and theorists and close study of scores and recordings. Course topics will include spectralism, electroacoustic music, microtonality, computer-aided composition, “new complexity,” and transformational theory.  

Classes will be offered in English, and no knowledge of French is required. The course will meet four days per week for three hours from May 31 to June 11, then for four additional meetings during the ManiFeste Academy (June 14 to June 26). Class meetings will be supplemented by frequent concerts (usually 15 to 18 performances), lectures, open rehearsals, and field trips; students will also have free time to explore other Parisian musical and cultural resources. Shared apartment housing is included in the program fee.

Faculty
Music theorist and composer Robert Hasegawa has taught at Harvard University, the Eastman School of Music, and the Schulich School of Music of McGill University, where he is an Associate Professor of Music Theory. His interests include microtonality and just intonation, the French “spectralist” composers Gérard Grisey and Tristan Murail, transformational theory, and the history of music theory. His dissertation, “Just Intervals and Tone Representation in Contemporary Music,” explores how research on the psychology of aural perception can inform the analysis of music by composers ranging from Debussy to La Monte Young. Robert’s article “Clashing Harmonic Systems in Haas’s Blumenstück and in vain” received the 2016 Emerging Scholar Award from the Society for Music Theory. Other recent projects include a special issue of Contemporary Music Review on American composer James Tenney, journal articles on music by Gérard Grisey, Georg Friedrich Haas, and Harry Partch, an encyclopedia entry on atonal theory for the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, a chapter on extended just intonation for the book Théories de la composition musicale au XXe siècle, and translations of essays by Tristan Murail.

Eligibility and Requirements
The course is designed for graduate students and advanced undergraduates. Students applying to the course should have completed at least four semesters of collegiate-level music theory or the equivalent; previous study of post-tonal theory is recommended but not required. The course will be taught in English, and knowledge of French is not necessary.

Credit for the course can be transferred to most other North American colleges and universities; contact your institution’s registrar for details. For Eastman DMA students, this course fulfills the post-tonal theory (TH 402) degree requirement; those who have already taken TH 402 can still register for the course using the cross-listed course number CMP 490. Students in other degree programs may apply the course as an elective toward the BM, BA, MM, MA, and PhD degrees.

For more detailed information and an online application form, visit the course website at www.esm.rochester.edu/theory/paris. Please note that the application deadline for this course is Friday, January 22, 2021 (earlier than other Summer Session courses). Applications may be accepted after this date if there is remaining space in the class. Contact program director Robert Hasegawa (robert.hasegawa@mcgill.ca) with any questions about applying.

The program fee of $5,885 includes shared apartment housing, concert tickets, course materials, local transportation passes, and travel/health insurance. Students will be responsible for all other expenses, including meals and airfare. Students who prefer to arrange their own housing will pay a reduced tuition fee of $5,370 (Eastman’s standard tuition for a three-credit course). Students accepted into the program must submit a deposit of $500 by Monday, February 8, 2021 to reserve their place in the class. The balance of the program fee will be due on Monday, March 8, 2021.

Tuition:
$5,885 / 3 credits (housing included)     CRN xxxxx (course numbers coming soon)
$5,370 / 3 credits (no housing)     CRN xxxxx

“The subject material of this course (music theory and analysis of contemporary works, specifically in the spectral schools) filled a gap that was not covered by any courses at my university. It was brilliant to learn about spectralism and French contemporary composers in Paris, where many of the pieces were written, especially because of our interaction with IRCAM and ManiFeste.” – 2019 student

Read our blog: Cafés, Croissants, and Contemporary Music: An Eastman Summer in Paris