Meet our current musicology PhD students!
Jameson Foster is a first-year Ethnomusicology PhD student at CU Boulder. He earned his BA in Music from Keene State College in New Hampshire and his MM in Musicology from Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore where he wrote his thesis I Folkton: Edvard Grieg’s Development as a Norwegianist Composer and His Influence in Belle Époque Paris. In the years between his degrees, he worked as a butcher at the local food co-op and as a farm educator at Stonewall Farm in Keene, NH. He is currently teaching the recitation sections for the Nordic Studies department’s classes on the Vikings and Norse Mythology.
Foster’s research interests as an ethnomusicologist lie in the relationship between music and politics throughout modern Norwegian history, as well as the dynamics of race and identity in Appalachian roots music. As a double bassist, he is experienced in jazz combo, Bluegrass, and String Band settings, and is currently learning the ropes of Irish music performance on the mandolin. As a guitarist, he is well-versed in the Piedmont/Country Blues fingerstyle tradition of the Appalachians. When not playing music, you can find him fishing, hiking, or birdwatching with his wife Alyssa.
Ubochi Igbokwe is in her second year of pursuing a PhD degree in Ethnomusicology at the University of Colorado, Boulder. She holds a Bachelor of Arts and a master’s degree in vocal music performance from the University of Uyo, Nigeria. Her research interests are in the areas of performance of Western, African folk and art music repertory, indigeneity, performance imagery, number symbolism and spirituality in musical arts. As a student of African music, she has studied and conducted research in different areas of African musical arts which resulted in her sole authorship and co-authorship of articles in different academic journals. This process was in part furnished by her designing and teaching religion and history in a high school, and active participant observation of and in many cultural and musical events.
Currently, her multidisciplinary studies at the University of Colorado shaped her thought in writing a proposal titled “Òkùkù Nwàamadī̠: Ritual Symbolism and Musical Arts Among the People of Ndoki” which was accepted by the Program Committee of the 46th International Council for Traditional Music (ICTM) World Conference. The paper was presented at the New University of Lisbon (NOVA–FCSH), Lisbon, Portugal in July 2022.
Karl Isaac Johnson, from Murfreesboro, Tennessee, received the Bachelor of Arts-Fellow in philosophy and religion (summa cum laude) from Samford University, with a minor in organ and a Master of Arts degree in religion from Yale University Divinity School and Institute of Sacred Music, with a concentration in Liturgical Studies while also studying organ and choral conducting. For the past decade, he has worked as music director, organist, choral conductor, tenor, composer and multi-instrumentalist for churches in Alabama, Tennessee, Connecticut and Colorado. Johnson has performed organ recitals in cathedrals and churches across the U.S. and Canada.
He has a broad and diverse portfolio of academic work, spanning historical musicology, ethnomusicology, liturgical studies, religious studies, philosophy, history and Native American and Indigenous studies. He currently focuses on the adaptation of Gregorian chant in modern Catholic contexts in North America, with hopes to write a dissertation on the history and practice of Mohawk chant at the reserves of Kahnawake and Akwesasne. He also studies Catholic liturgy, art, material culture and devotionalism in New Mexico; Native American Catholicism in the southwest and in Canada; Native American religious traditions; the music of the Penitente brotherhood in New Mexico; medieval liturgical books; 17th-century and 20th-century French organ music; contemporary Catholicism in the U.S.; the social history of country music; the liturgy and music of the Old Hispanic Rite; and American jam bands.
Johnson has been published in Culture and Religion, Glossolalia, and Antiphon, with forthcoming publications in Journal of the Southwest, Sacred Music, and Études Grégoriennes. Among many others, his conference presentations include meetings of the International Congress on Medieval Studies, American Musicological Society, American Academy of Religion (twice), Society for Christian Scholarship in Music, and Society for Catholic Liturgy.
He lives in Longmont with his wife, three children and cat, and serves as organist for St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in Longmont and Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church in Denver.
Laura Klein is a first-year PhD student studying historical and performance musicology. Her research focuses on the music collection of Jane Austen and the potential impact music and playing had on her writing as a female author. Klein founded The Jane Austen Playlist in 2019, a research and performance program featuring music from Austen’s music manuscripts paired with dramatized narrations from her novels and writings. She is resident pianist for Jane Austen’s House Museum in Chawton, Hampshire, UK, where she frequently performs in virtual and live events.
An active performer, educator and researcher of music and performance practice, Klein earned her Master of Music in piano pedagogy and performance from Westminster Choir College with high honors and her Bachelor of Music in piano performance from Mars Hill University with a cumulative 4.0 GPA. She is alumna of Brevard Music Center’s Summer Festival and the Juilliard School’s International Scholar Laureate Program. She has performed throughout the USA, Canada, Austria, the UK and the Czech Republic. In addition to playing the 1813 Clementi and Co mahogany square piano at Jane Austen’s House, a few of her favorite moments include performing with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic and the dramatic cast in her production of The Jane Austen Playlist at The Trust Performing Arts Center in Lancaster, PA. Former faculty at Westminster Choir College, the American Boychoir School and Walla Walla University, she currently serves on faculty at Colorado Christian University.
When she is not teaching, playing her gorgeous 1908 rosewood Steinway grand or reading Jane Austen (again), Klein spends her free time attending concerts, hiking and traveling with her husband, Matthew, and their daughter, Alyssa.
ᎦᎵᎡᎵ ᏥᏕᎾᎸ, O Johnette Makamaeakahaio’kaho’oponoponookapunahelekupuo’kaaina Martin ko'u inoa. No Makawao koʻu ahupuaʻa a o Hāmākuapoko, Maui mai au. Noho wau i Kololako (Colorado). As an ᏣᎳᎩ and Kanaka Maoli, cis-gendered, heterosexual woman and musicologist, Martin’s research interests range from film music to gender, sexuality and identity in Indigenous music cultures, particularly of the Americas and Polynesia. Born and raised in Hawai’i Nei, she grew up immersed in the traditional Native Hawaiian practices once denied to her ancestors, including mea’ai, aloha ‘āina, spirituality, and mele (mele hula and mele oli). Martin started her collegiate music education with the goal of returning to her community and giving back in the form of teaching academic art music. This sense of kuleana or responsibility continues to inspire her drive to include her Native Hawaiian and Cherokee cultures into the conversation of American Musicology. Her goals of inclusivity stretch from ethnic identity to gender, sexuality, and spiritual identity.
At the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa, Martin successfully earned a BA in music education: Secondary instrumental and an MA in musicology, respectively. In her master’s program, she completed and defended her thesis with respect to feminism and film musicology, “Musical Aesthetics in Alex North’s Score for The Bad Seed.” She also volunteered with Nā Pua No’eau and Kamehameha Schools to aid in the cultural education of Native Hawaiian children. More recently, she worked as a teacher of Native Hawaiian culture at Mid-Pacific Institute, a private college preparatory K-12 school in Mānoa, Hawai’i. Martin is currently in the PhD Musicology program at the University of Colorado Boulder and works as a graduate assistant to Jessie Dela Cruz in the Norlin Library/American Music Research Center music archives and a graduate assistant to Susan Thomas.
ᏙᏓᏓᎪᎲᎢ. No ka lāhui.
Originally from Penang, Malaysia, and recently from Houston, Texas, Jessica Quah is a third-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 master’s thesis involved a comparative analysis of political sentiment and musical hybridity in the Yellow River and Butterfly Lovers concerti. Her research interests range from music, colonialism and national identity to 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, Quilliam 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, Quilliam co-founded and co-edited the Undergraduate Journal of Musicology, the Sydney Conservatorium’s first student-run journal. Currently in her third year, 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.
Quilliam 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, Quilliam looks forward to travel of any kind, watching Springbok rugby and playing with her dog, Coda!
Brandon Stover is a PhD candidate in Ethnomusicology. He is currently working on his dissertation titled Transmitting Neiro: Teaching Timbre and Tradition in Online Shakuhachi Lessons which looks into the transmission of the Japanese shakuhachi online and how such online interactions alter the pedagogy of the tradition. As a shakuhachi performer, he earned his first shihan menjō or teaching license to teach the Seien-ryu school of shakuhachi from his teacher in 2022. He has presented research at the Society for Ethnomusicology annual meeting, the Southwest Chapter of the Society of Ethnomusicology, the International Conference on Music Perception and Cognition, and Borders/Boundaries/Fronteras: Rethinking American Music, a symposium hosted by Americas: A Hemispheric Music Journal.
Stover has published in the Journal of Music, Health, and Wellbeing, Americas: A Hemispheric Music Journal, the Hakodate Shinbun, and has a forthcoming article in the collection Stories from the Field. He has served as the Vice President of the Graduate Musicology Society where he was in charge of the bi-yearly newsletter.
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. In his free time, Stover enjoys playing board games and traveling with his wife, Emily, and their baby boy.
Brandon Swing is a PhD pre-candidate in ethnomusicology. He holds a BM in piano performance from Union University and a MM in piano performance and piano pedagogy from the University of Memphis. Swing’s interests concern video games as social media in childhood and adolescence, and video games as nostalgia later in adult life.
Jason is a first-year PhD student in historical musicology. He received a BM in music history from the University of the Pacific and an MM in music from University of Northern Colorado.
Thompson’s research interests include early music, music in early modern France, and gender and sexuality in music. While studying at University of the Pacific, Thompson worked on a reconstruction of some music in the Ballet Royale de la Nuit (1653) and wrote his capstone paper on Jean-Baptiste Lully’s setting of the Dies Irae sequence. His master’s thesis, “Queerness in French Baroque Opera: The Relationship Between Achilles and Patroclus in Lully’s Achille et Polyxène,” looks at the portrayal of the relationship between Achilles and Patroclus in Lully’s tragédie-lyrique Achille et Polyxène (1687). He presented his research on Achille et Polyxène at the Rocky Mountain Music Scholar’s Conference in 2022.
In his free time, Thompson enjoys practicing harpsichord, designing and sewing clothes (historic and modern), going to museums and concerts and traveling with his partner, Jacob.
Lydia Wagenknecht (she/her) is a PhD candidate in ethnomusicology at the University of Colorado Boulder. A 2022-23 Fulbright Student Fellow, her dissertation titled “Conciencias Antárticas: Music, Climate Change, and Polar Identities in Punta Arenas” examines intersections between the Antarctic climate research economy and music making in southern Chilean Patagonia. Her broader research interests include voice studies, ecotourism, decolonial theory, activism, and public musicology.
A Research Assistant at the American Music Research Center, Wagenknecht works on the NEH-funded “Soundscapes of the People” project in Pueblo, Colorado. She has also served as an Engaged Arts and Humanities Scholar, College of Music Lead Graduate Instructor, GPSG Music Senator and president of the Graduate Musicology Society at CU Boulder. She received the Joann W. Kealiinohomoku Award for Excellence from the Southwest Chapter of the Society for Ethnomusicology in 2020.
An Honors Program alumna, Wagenknecht holds a B.A. in wide-range music education (choral/general music) from Wisconsin Lutheran College. She has taught music students from early childhood through adults. In her free time, Wagenknecht serves as a church musician, trains for ultramarathons and works on her mediocre rock climbing skills with her husband, Austin.
Charles Wofford is a Ph.D. student in historical musicology and critical theory. He received his B.A. in Music from Northern Arizona University in 2012, where he studied classical guitar under Tom Sheeley, a student of Manuel Lopez Ramos and Patrick Read. Wofford’s research interests include musical improvisation, music as a utopian practice, the history of radical thought, the Enlightenment, and the ideologies around “classic rock.” His current research project examines discourses of improvisation in the Led Zeppelin fanbase. Charles has presented at both regional and national conferences of the American Musicological Society.
Wofford is also current president of the Graduate Musicology Society (GMS), a recognized student organization that promotes musical performances, music scholarship, and critical thinking about music and its place in the social fabric. He also maintains an active practice in both classical and electric guitar.