Graduate Students

Jamie Apgar

Research interests: Sixteenth- and seventeenth-century England; intersections of music and the politics of religion; discourses and theologies of music, sound, and public worship; uses and methodologies of historical narrative in early modernity.

Christina Azahar

I am a Ph.D. Candidate in ethnomusicology specializing in Latin American and Latinx popular musics. My B.A. in Music (saxophone) and Latin American and Caribbean studies was completed at the University of Georgia. Broadly, I’m interested in how race, gender, and sexuality impact musical circulation and musical attachments to space and place. » read more »

Susan Bay

Research interests: 19th and 20th century opera, non-operatic stageworks, 18th century Germany, performance studies, sociology of opera, philosophy of aesthetics, theories of voice, vocal production.

Oren Boneh

Composer Oren Boneh has upcoming performances from Ensemble Reconsil, Vertixe Sonora and The Nebula Ensemble and previous performances by ensembles such as Ensemble Divertimento, Ensemble Meitar, Ensemble Regards, Ensemble Pentaèdre, the Playground, Ensemble Transmission and Architek Percussion. » read more »

Rachel Colwell

Research interests: Tunisian ma’luf, Arab classical musics, listening practices, histories of listening, geography and anthropology of place, music and politics, sound studies youth, taste, sensory anthropology, nationalism and secularism, affect, organology, hybridity

Nour El Rayes

Nour El Rayes is a Ph.D. student in Ethnomusicology, with a Designated Emphasis in New Media. Her dissertation research examines constructions of the “alternative” in music in Lebanon in order to understand its role in the creation and articulation of alternative social, political, and economic futures. El Rayes also studies Middle Eastern percussion, and performs Arabic classical music with Zawaya’s Aswat ensemble, and Berkeley’s Disoriental.

Ryan Gourley

Ryan Gourley is a first-year graduate student in Ethnomusicology.  Originally from San Antonio, Texas, he completed his undergraduate studies in music at Brown University in 2016.  His research interests include Soviet jazz, music as a means of protest, Post-Soviet aesthetics, cultural ideology, and propaganda.  He is a published photographer, poet, composer, and the founder of

Melanie Gudesblatt

Melanie received her BA in Music from Cornell University in 2009 and her MMus from King’s College, London in 2011. She is currently a Candidate for the PhD in Music History and Literature at UC Berkeley. » read more »

Andrew Harlan

Andrew Harlan (b. 1995) is an experimental composer and bassist with recent work focusing on ideas of proximity, physicality, and spatial perception. He has studied with Marti Epstein, Steven Kazuo Takasugi, Marek Poliks, Aaron Helgeson, Curtis K. Hughes, and Jan Swafford. In addition, he has participated in lessons, masterclasses, and workshops with Stefano Gervasoni, Vinko Globokar, Rand Steiger, and Marianthi Papalexandri-alexandri. » read more »

Maija Hynninen

Maija Hynninen – composer and sound artist – incorporates in her work the human voice, live electronics and multidisciplinary performances. She writes virtuoso parts for the musicians yet captures a sense of lightness of texture. The music is often governed by linear thinking while the harmony gravitates towards quarter tones. The textures often combine noise and pitch which result in ambiguity of timbre.

Alessandra Jones

Alessandra received her BA from Smith College in 2008 and her MA from Hunter College, City University of New York in 2014. Her dissertation explores the new critical paradigms that emerged for Italian opera in the years immediately following the upheavals of 1848, with a particular focus on how the intersection of opera, technology, and communications promulgated a contemporary Italian view of an immediately accessible, connected world. In 2017-2018 she is a Visiting Student Researcher at the University of Cambridge.

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Ursula Kwong-Brown

Ursula Kwong-Brown (b. 1987) is a composer and media artist from New York City. Described as “atmospheric and accomplished” by The New York Times, her work has been performed in diverse venues including Carnegie Hall, le Poisson Rouge and the Manhattan Movement & Arts Center in NYC, St Paul’s Chapel and Miller’s Theatre at Columbia University, and the National Portrait Gallery and the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.

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Jonathan Meci

Jonathan’s dissertation examines the reception history of Pergolesi’s Stabat mater in the second half of the eighteenth century in order to assess how new media (public concerts, musician biography, etc) altered audiences’ affective and aesthetic engagement with music.


Clara Olivares

Clara Olivares (b. 1993) is a Franco-Spanish composer. After studying the piano at the Conservatory of Strasbourg, she entered the composition curriculum with Mark André in 2011, then continued studying with Philippe Manoury, Daniel D’Adamo, Thierry Blondeau and Annette Schlüntz. She also received advice from Chaya Czernowin, Philippe Schoeller and Alberto Posadas.

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Kirsten S. Paige

Kirsten S. Paige studied first at the University of Chicago (AB in Music History & Theory, 2011) and the University of Cambridge (MPhil in Musicology, 2012), before coming to the University of California, Berkeley to pursue a PhD in Music History and Literature. » read more »

Curtis Rumrill

The music of Curtis Rumrill explores the intersection of literary form and modern chamber music. His works with writer, naturalist and visual artist Webberly Ebberly Finnich (née Zachary Webber) tell folk-like tales of animals in desperate or violent predicaments. He is also the composer of instrumental chamber music with and without electronics, works for tape, and studio compositions.

Melissa Scott

I am a third year ethnomusicology graduate student and received my BA in Music from the University of Chicago. My research focuses on how political conceptions of place are articulated and negotiated in classical Arabic music pedagogy in Jordan.

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Desmond Sheehan

Research interests

German music and secularization in the early 19th century, sacred romantic music, secular critique, history and philosophy of aesthetics, music and theology, romantic media technologies, music and belief.

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Danni Simon

Danielle Simon received a B.A. in Music and English from the University of Puget Sound in 2009 and M.A. in the Humanities from the University of Chicago in 2011 before entering the PhD program in Music History and Literature at UC Berkeley. She was awarded the Millicent Mercer Johnsen Pre-Doctoral Rome Prize in Modern Italian Studies from the American Academy in Rome in 2016. » read more »

Andrew Snyder

My research interests lie at the intersection of public festive practices and the articulation of power relations. My dissertation, “Critical Brass: Emergent Alternatives in the Brass Movement and Street Carnival Revival in Olympic Rio de Janeiro” shows how an explosive alternative brass band movement (neofanfarrismo) has transformed from a culturally nationalist revival of carnival traditions in post-dictatorship Brazil into an internationalist and musically eclectic movement self-defined as activist.
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Jonathan Turner

Jonathan is interested in the ways technology alters musician’s views of their own authorship. Technology is forcing, with increasing might, creative people to examine their own authority and agency.  He argues for a musicology of interfaces which seeks to understand human interaction with technology more broadly.

Kendra Van Nyhuis

Research Interests: South Korean Rock and Popular Music, Scenes, Race, Intercultural Collaboration, Urbanism, Performance, East Asian Modernities, South Korean Traditional Musics, Voice Studies, Organology



John Walsh

John completed a BM in Orchestral Performance (Percussion) from Centenary College of Louisiana and an MA in the Humanities from the University of Chicago before entering the PhD program in Ethnomusicology at UC Berkeley in 2015.

Research Interests: Ethiopia, Ethiopian jazz, African urbanism, the future, affective labor, cultural policy, experiences of place, phenomenology, American popular music, and coffee.


Jacob Wolbert

Brazilianist scholar and musician looking at pedagogy in demographically and geographically modified samba groups. Other interests include sacred Afro-Brazilian music, popular musics of Brazil and the U.S., Afro-Cuban music, critical pedagogy, critical theory.

Jon Yu

Jon Yu is a Taiwanese-American composer whose works explore notions of ritual, utility, and excess. His music has been performed in Germany, Singapore, and throughout the United States by ensembles and soloists such as Mivos Quartet, Ensemble Signal, Wet Ink Ensemble, Trio SurPlus, Eco Ensemble, Transient Canvas, clarinetist Matt Ingalls, and haegeum player Soo Yeon Lyuh. » read more »