Meet the Musicology PhD students at CU Boulder:
Zane Cupec is a PhD candidate in ethnomusicology. He is currently working on his dissertation “Transnational Performance of Cubanidad: Santería Repertoire in the Lives of Four Cuban Musicians.” His areas of specialty include Cuban folk and popular musical practices with interests in new diaspora theory, transnationalism, religious studies, and cultural exchange between the United States and Cuba. His digital project, “African Diasporic Religious Practice: Yoruba & Fon Heritage Abroad,” is to be published by the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage. In addition to teaching appointments in Continuing Education at CU Boulder and at Arapahoe Community College, he has presented research at the Southwest Chapter of the Society of Ethnomusicology conference and the Digital Humanities and Digital World Symposium.
As founder and previous President of the Graduate Musicology Society, he has led several artist residencies advocating for diversity, inclusion, and equity through the performing arts. Under his leadership, the organization has hosted Grammy-award winning Haitian American artist Leyla McCalla in collaboration with Jayme Stone, New York-based Afro Cuban group Ashedi with Román Díaz, and renowned Cuban vocalist Lázaro “El Maestro” Galarraga.
To compliment his research, he is an active performer in both popular and Afro Cuban religious contexts. He has toured nationally with Paa Kow and His Afro-Fusion Orchestra, and internationally with the Thompson Center Jazz Program in Costa Rica. His performance on trombonist Dr. Jose Leon’s album Journey received the 2018 Global Music Award for Outstanding Achievement for works by Latin American composers. He is an active student of Afro Cuban Santería song and drumming and has performed on consecrated bàtá drums for religious ceremony in Havana and Denver.
When not musicking and writing, Zane loves the outdoors and always looks forward to new adventures with his wife! : )
Benjamin Kammin is a PhD student in ethnomusicology. He holds a MM in Finger-Style Guitar Performance from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and a MM in Musicology/Ethnomusicology from Northern Arizona University. His research interests are rooted in the guitar-based vernacular traditions of American music. He is particularly interested in the variability of performance practices in these traditions, and the cultural and musical aesthetics than inform this phenomenon.
He has presented research at the Southwest Chapter of the Society of Ethnomusicology conference and received the 2013 Joann W. Kealiinohomoku Prize for Outstanding Student Paper. Numerous examples of his transcription and typesetting work of finger-style guitar repertoire have been published by Stropes Editions. He continues to do primary research on the music of composer and guitarist Leo Kottke, and is closely involved with the Leo Kottke Archives Project.
Benjamin has an extensive background performing and teaching the music of stylistically diverse finger-style guitar artists, from Mississippi John Hurt to Michael Hedges. He currently works with students worldwide and is an instructor for the annual Music of Leo Kottke Workshop.
Dan Obluda is a PhD Candidate in historical musicology. In addition to his teaching appointment in Continuing Education, he is currently working on his dissertation project titled, “Topics in the Hollywood Score: Neo-Riemannian Analysis as a Bridge Linking Topic Theory and Film Music Scholarship.” Before studying at CU, Dan taught a wide variety of undergraduate courses at the University of Northern Colorado, where he earned a Masters in Music History and Literature, as well as a Bachelors in Music Education. In the Fall of 2017, Dan’s edition of Anton Reicha’s Die Harmonie der Sphären was published by A-R Editions, and his article on pentatonicism in Japanese and American folk musics appeared in the 2018 issue of the American Music Research Center Journal. An active performer, Dan is a percussionist in the Fort Collins Wind Symphony and he has performed with the Greeley Philharmonic Orchestra since 2007.
Originally from Penang, Malaysia, and recently from Houston, TX, Jessica Quah is a first-year PhD student in the musicology department. She holds a BA in piano performance and English, and a MM in musicology from Rice University. Her research interests include music and colonialism, national identity, mysticism and music, linguistics, and popular music. When not studying or writing, Jessica still loves practicing the piano, spending time on the phone with her family, and reading scifi/fantasy anthologies
Megan Quilliam is working toward a PhD in Ethnomusicology with an emphasis in South African music. Originally from Johannesburg, South Africa, Megan completed her undergraduate work in Australia at the University of Sydney’s Conservatorium of Music, receiving a Bachelor of Music (musicology) with honors. While there, Megan co-founded and co-edited the Undergraduate Journal of Musicology, the Sydney Conservatorium’s first student-run journal. Currently in her third her, her research interests at Boulder center on the blending of art music customs with the traditional music of South Africa, as well as the musical activities of South African composers living abroad. She has presented research at conferences in Oregon and Colorado and recently received the 2015 Joann Kealiinohomuku Prize for Outstanding Student Paper at the regional SEM conference. She spent the summer of 2015 as a FLAS Fellow learning to speak isiZulu at the University of Florida.
Megan enjoys teaching beginner’s lessons in piano, Celtic harp and voice. As a singer and instrumentalist she has performed with Regis University’s Collegium Musicum and the Sydney Conservatorium Choir, recordings of which were broadcast live in Australia. She is currently a member of the University of Colorado Boulder’s World Vocal Ensemble, a group that has been able to perform with two legends of South African music: Ladysmith Black Mambazo and the Johnny Clegg Band. When she is not reading, performing or writing about music, Megan looks forward to travel of any kind, watching Springbok rugby and playing with her dog, Coda!
Alexandra Siso is a PhD candidate in the Musicology department. Her research interests lie in the sacred music of the Elizabethan era, musical narrative, and the intersection between religion, music, and politics in the Early Modern era. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in her native country, Venezuela, from the Universidad Central de Venezuela and then completed a program certificate in Musicology and Protection of Historical Heritage at the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando in Madrid, Spain. Since she entered the program, Alexandra has presented at regional conferences of the Society for Ethnomusicology (SEM) and the American Musicological Society (AMS). She was the regional Student Representative for AMS in the years 2017-2018.
In 2019 Alexandra has awarded the Ogilvy Travel Fellowship from the Center for British and Irish Studies to complete her dissertation research on Elizabethan sacred music, “Sacred Stage: The Music of the early Elizabethan Chapel Royal and the Politics of Ceremonies.”
Alexandra has taught several classes offered by the Musicology department, the Humanities program, and the Continuing Education program at CU Boulder. Currently, she is the Graduate Assistant for the American Music Research Center.
Brandon Stover is a PhD student in Ethnomusicology. He holds a BM in Music Education from Millikin University and an MA in Ethnomusicology from Goldsmiths, University of London. Before coming to Colorado, he was a middle school music (band/choir) and social science teacher for nine years in Illinois. He has presented at the Illinois Music Education Association Conference.
His research areas focus on Japanese music and cultural borrowing in music making as well as gender issues with Shakuhachi performance and practice. His research dives into the motivation to perform music of other cultures and how both the performer and culture barrer react, placing a focus on female practitioners and obstacles they must overcome. Other research interest areas include music’s ability to preserve language specifically looking at how music can help language preservation.
Brandon is an active performer in the University of Colorado Japanese Music Ensemble and is an active member of the Highlands Lutheran Church Handbell Choir. He plays the shakuhachi and the saxophone as well as being proficient in almost all band instruments at a middle school level (he only needed to be slightly better than his students for them to awe and wonder at his skill!)
In his free time, Brandon enjoys playing board games and traveling with his wife, Emily.
Shaun Stubblefield is a second year PhD student in Historical Musicology at the University of Colorado, Boulder. He holds a MMus in Musicology from Northern Arizona University and a PGCert in English Church Music from the University of York, UK. Shaun enjoys both musical and cultural-based research and performance, holding a BMus in Vocal Performance from Idaho State University, believing in a synthesized approach to making research relevant within both academic and performance spheres. Besides these, Shaun currently works for CU’s Nordic Studies Department as a recitation instructor, teaching various subjects such as Viking History and Norse Mythology for the 2020-2021 school year, as well as serving as acting Treasurer for the Graduate Musicology Society (GMS) at CU.
Shaun’s research focuses primarily on revisionist histories of Georgian-era Anglicanism and English Church Music, specifically examining the intersectionality of religious trends, musicianship, and manuscript dissemination within English cathedral foundations. In addition, Shaun also holds an interest in mythology and non-western music and cultural traditions, focusing his attention recently on Hinduism as expressed through art, dance and music.
Shaun has presented his research in various regional and national conferences, including the 2020 national American Musicological Society (AMS) conference and the North American British Music Scholars Association’s bi-annual 2020 conference.
Lydia Wagenknecht is a PhD pre-candidate in ethnomusicology at the University of Colorado Boulder. Her research interests include German-Chilean musical interactions in the 20th century through the present. She is especially interested in vocalities present in video and music streaming platforms. Most recently, her paper on destabilized voice in Luis Advis’ Cantata Santa María de Iquique was accepted to the Rocky Mountain Music Scholars’ Conference.
At CU Boulder, Wagenknecht serves as a Center for Teaching and Learning Lead Graduate Instructor for the College of Music, providing professional development opportunities and feedback for music graduate students in instructional roles. She is also president of the Graduate Musicology Society, which promotes creative activities, performance, research, and scholarship in the Boulder community. Additionally, Wagenknecht received the Entrepreneurship Center for Music Assistance Grant to pursue German study in the summer of 2020.
Wagenknecht graduated magna cum laude from Wisconsin Lutheran College in 2017 with a B.A. in Wide-Range Music Education (Choral/General Music). As an Honors Program student, she organized a collegiate choral conductors’ conference for her capstone project. Undergraduate awards include the Cantabile Award for choral excellence, a Batterman Foundation scholarship for nonprofit work, and the Music Scholarship for voice study. A Wisconsin native, Wagenknecht has taught students from early childhood through adults in Milwaukee and Lusaka, Zambia.
In her free time, Wagenknecht serves as a church musician, trains for ultramarathons, explores Colorado on her bike, and works on her mediocre rock climbing skills with her husband, Austin.
Charles Wofford is pursuing a PhD in historical musicology. He received his B.A. in Music in 2012 from Northern Arizona University, where he studied classical guitar under the tutelage of Tom Sheeley, a student of Manuel Lopez Ramos. Charles’ research interests engage with the aesthetics and politics of music, historical materialism and radical thought, and the nostalgic narratives around “classic rock.” Charles also maintains an active musical practice in both Spanish-classical and improvisational electric guitar. Among his favorite pieces of music are Manuel Ponce’s Concierto del Sur for guitar and orchestra, and Takashi Yoshimatsu’s Memo Flora concerto for piano and orchestra. His non academic interests include retro video games and watching YouTube videos.
Following the 2016 presidential election, Charles led local opposition to an “Alt-Right” presence on campus. In this activist capacity, he was interviewed by Colorado Public Radio, The Guardian, and others. His activist writings have been published in Boulder Daily Camera and the Hampton Institute.
Charles currently chairs the Graduate Musicology Society YouTube channel.