2015-2016 Dean's Essay Prize Winners

First Prize: Mylène Gioffredo
Paper: L’Exploration du Son dans Zipangu (1980) de Claude Vivier.

Considered something of a musical genius, Vivier is known at home and abroad for the originality of his musical language, the importance he attached to vibrant timbral sonorities, and the magic he achieved through formal structures often based in a fascination with the Fibonnaci series and other mathematical relationships.  This paper combined in-depth analysis with archival documentation referencing Vivier’s own compositional processes to critique and systematically “undo” past theoretical accounts.

The jury appreciated the elegance of the writing style and the way in which the tension between process and theory was revealed.  They also appreciated the sophistication and execution of Mylène's own analytical representations. 

Second Prize: Claire McLiesh
Paper: These Days: Musical Nostalgia in The Royal Tenebaums.

This paper tracks how the Tenebaum family struggles with remembering and forgetting through the themes of the Chelsea Girl title track sung by Nico on her 1967 album and that is featured throughout the film. The analysis is a well-exceuted example of film scholarship showing how Anderson’s mise-en-scène through the music gives unspoken, sometimes even unspeakable, narrative information.

The jury appreciated the organization and craft of Claire's writing style, as well as the way in which different theoretical perspectives were integrated – particularly with respect to issues surrounding genre and style.