2012-2013 Dean Essay Prize Winners

FIRST PRIZE was awarded to Catherine Schwartz, a doctoral student in musicology, for a chapter from her dissertation entitled, “Pierre Bonnier, and Singing the Self in the Third Republic.”

While our current understanding of the voice has been framed largely as a function of performance traditions or musical analyses of operatic roles, Ms. Schwartz examines the concept of voice itself through early 20th C. accounts of what it means to sing represented in singing treatises, scientific accounts of voice and social theory (particularly Pierre Bonnier), and the experience of singing itself as a function of the learning process. She also introduces new concepts such a vocal porter, the idea of carrying the voice (or the service rendered) by a singer to an audience in order to ensure that he or she is heard and understood, together with how such sensations can be linked to an acoustical experience of sound and to the body’s awareness of vocal resonance.

SECOND PRIZE was awarded to Rachel Avery, a master's student in musicology, for her essay entitled, “The Cosmic Dance: The pop score and musical subjectivity as Life in Harold and Maude.

Ms. Avery not only combined literary and critical perspectives from narrative studies, film theory, and music, but she also successfully made a strong case for seeing the music in the 1971 film, Harold and Maude, as an analytic space where the characters chart and discover their own subjectivity. The jury particularly appreciated the connection she made between classical and contemporary constructs, especially since classical elements are often at play in the structural forms of composer Cat Stevens’ sound track, much as they were in the then current music of the Beatles.