Music is a powerful thing. I study that power–how it manifests, and how it is used.
My first book, published in 2018, explores the sound of an all-powerful nation, the United States, during the Cold War. The quest to create a uniquely American sound in classical music was profoundly altered by this ideological conflict, I show, with effects that still shape our understanding of this music today.
I continue to explore the ways in which the United States uses music to bolster its power, and musicians’ reactions to America’s changing place in the world.
Domestic power politics have also dramatically shaped on American music in the 20th and 21st centuries, especially the debates around race and identity. These issues are another major theme in my work.
As well as examining themes of power, nation, and identity in music from the United States, I also explore attempts to marshal music’s power in a very different Cold War context: civil war El Salvador.