Skip to main content

Syndicate contentalumni

Congratulations to our 2015 Graduates!

The Department of Music and the Center for Ethnomusicology warmly congratulate our Class of 2015 Graduates! We wish you all every success on the road ahead!

Melissa Gonzalez, Shannon Garland, and Marti Newland


Music Majors:
Ziyad Abdelfattah
Stephen Adamow
Amy Garvey
Samuel Karlinski
Yeana Lee (Departmental Honors)
Robert Lyman
Miles Oliva
Joseph Quintas
Andrew Rodriguez
Mitchell Veith (Departmental Honors)

Music Concentrators: 
Kevin Chen
Devon Mehring
Sonall Mehta
Emma Riley

Audrey Amsellem (Departmental Honors)
Benjamin Loya
Josephine Tang

BARNARD COLLEGE (Music Majors)Toby King and Marti Newland
Courtney Craig (Ethnomusicology)
Katherine Huet
Sophie Lewis (Ethnomusicology)
Isabella Livorni 
Rachel Susser 
Zaynep Toraman
Cecile Urmenyhazi (Ethnomusicology)

Shannon Garland (Ethnomusicology)
Melissa Gonzalez (Ethnomusicology)
David Gutkin
Jonathan “Toby” King (Ethnomusicology)
Ashley Nail
Martha Newland  (Ethnomusicology)
Alexander Rothe

DMA in Composition
Sophia “Zosha” di Castri
Geoffrey Holbrook
Yoshiaki Onishi


Niko Higgins Appointed Guest Faculty at Sarah Lawrence College!

Niko Higgins

The Center for Ethnomusicology warmly congratulates our alumnus Dr. Nicholas (Niko) Higgins, (PhD, Ethnomusicology, 2013), who has been appointed to a (renewable) Guest Faculty position at Sarah Lawrence College.

Dr. Higgins' PhD dissertation is entitled "Confusion in the Karnatic Capital: Fusion in Chennai, India."  It was advised by Prof. Christopher Washburne.  Dr. Higgins has previously taught at Columbia University and at The New School.


Andrew Eisenberg Appointed Assistant Professor of Music at NYU Abu Dhabi!

The Center for Ethnomusicology congratulates 2009 Columbia Ethnomusicology PhD alumnus Dr. Andrew Eisenberg, who has been appointed Assistant Professor of Music at New York University's Abu Dhabi campus!

Andrew Eisenberg

Andrew J. Eisenberg is Assistant Professor of Music at NYU Abu Dhabi.  He was Visiting Assistant Professor of Music and Anthropology at Bard College in 2013-14, and at NYUAD in 2014-15. Between 2011 and 2013, he served as Postdoctoral Research Associate in charge of the Kenya portion of the ERC Music and Digitisation Programme, while also holding a junior research fellowship at St. Catherine's College, Oxford. He earned a PhD in ethnomusicology from Columbia University in 2009, with a dissertation on vocal expression, emplacement and citizenship among marginalized Muslims of Kenya's 'Swahili coast'. A book based on his dissertation is slated for completion in 2014. Its working title is Sound and Citizenship: Voice, Place, and Belonging on Kenya's 'Swahili Coast'.
Andrew has published articles and chapters in the journal Africa, The New Encyclopedia of Africa (Scribner), Anthropology News, and the volume Music, Sound and Space: Transformations of Public and Private Experience (ed. Georgina Born, Cambridge University Press). He is currently writing three articles for the Music and Digitisation Project. Based on a year of fieldwork in Nairobi, they examine how Kenya's music recording industry has been, and continues to be, transformed by the digital revolution, the liberalisation of mass media and telecommunications, and intellectual property rights reform.

Andrew has previously held visiting posts at Northwestern University and Stony Brook University, where he has taught courses in African and African American music, and ethnomusicological theory and method

Prof. David Novak: "Music, protest,and the politics of festival in Japan's nuclear village" (March 23, Noon)

Event Start: 
Monday, March 23, 2015 - 12:00pm
701C Dodge Hall (Center for Ethnomusicology)

The Center for Ethnomusicology Graduate Colloquium Series Presents: 

Prof.  David Novak
(University of California at Santa Barbara, & Columbia Ethnomusicology PhD Alumnus)

"Music, protest,and the politics of festival in Japan's nuclear village" 

Monday March 23, 2015
12:00 Noon

701C Dodge Hall (Center for Ethnousicology)
Free and Open to the Public


David Novak is Associate Professor of Music and Co-Director of the Center for the Interdisciplinary Study of Music at the University of California, Santa Barbara.  He is the author of Japanoise: Music at the Edge of Ciruclation (Duke Univ. Press, 2013).  He holds the PhD in Ethnomusicology from Columbia University.  His work explores cultural and political formations through the ethnography of popular music, and examines how the circulation of global media becomes central to processes of social and epistemological transformation. His interests include globalization of popular music, remediation, protest culture, and social practices of listening. His current project focuses on the politics of sound in urban Japan, particularly in the impact of noise regulations on homeless and migrant labor communities in South Osaka, and on the role of music, sound, and noise in the antinuclear movement in post-3.11 Japan.            







CU Ethno Alum Prof. Adriana Helbig Publishes "Hip Hop Ukraine"

Prof. Adriana Helbig

Prof. Adriana Helbig

The Center for Ethnomusicology congratulates Adriana N. HelbigAssociate Professor of Music at The University of Pittsburgh, and a 2005 alumna of the Columbia Ethnomusicology PhD program, on the publication of her book Hip Hop Ukraine: Music, Race, and African Migration (2014, Indiana University Press). 

Hip Hop Ukraine
Book Description:
 In Hip Hop Ukraine, Prof. Helbig enters a world of urban music and dance competitions, hip hop parties, and recording studio culture to explore unique sites of interracial encounters among African students, African immigrants, and local populations in eastern Ukraine. Adriana N. Helbig combines ethnographic research with music, media, and policy analysis to examine how localized forms of hip hop create social and political spaces where an interracial youth culture can speak to issues of human rights and racial equality. She maps the complex trajectories of musical influence—African, Soviet, American—to show how hip hop has become a site of social protest in post-socialist society and a vehicle for social change."

Biography: Prof. Adriana Helbig is Associate Professor of Music and an affiliated faculty member in Cultural Studies, Women's Studies, Global Studies, and the Center for Russian and East European Studies at the University of Pittsburgh. She teaches courses on global hip-hop, world music, music, gender, and sexuality, music and technology, and cultural policy. She is also founder and director of the Carpathian Music Ensemble, a student performance group that specializes in the music of Eastern Europe, including Jewish klezmer and Gypsy music. Her research has been funded through grants and research fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, American Councils for International Education, IREX, and Fulbright. She has held a research fellowship at the Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington DC and was an inaugural research fellow at the Humanities Center at the University of Pittsburgh. Her articles on Romani (Gypsy) music, postsocialist cultural policy, music and piracy, music, race, and migration, and global hip-hop have appeared in edited collections and journals such as The Yearbook for Traditional Music, Current Musicology, and Popular Music. She is the coauthor, with Oksana Buranbaeva and Vanja Mladineo, of The Culture and Customs of Ukraine (Greenwood Press, 2009). 

Prof. Helbig completed her Columbia PhD in Ethnomusicology in 2005, with a dissertation entitled "Play for Me, Old Gypsy”: Music as Political Resource in the Romani Rights Movement in Ukraine, advised by Prof. Ana Maria Ochoa.

Prof. Helbig's Personal Website

Prof. Helbig's Faculty Page at the University of Pittsburgh.

Order Hip Hop Ukraine on

Other ordering options available through The University of Indiana Press.

Congratulations to Dr. Marti Newland!

Dr. Martha Newland

The Center warmly congratulates Dr. Marti Newland, who successfull defended her dissertation, entitled Sounding “Black”: An Ethnography of Racialized Vocality at Fisk University, on June 23, 2014.  Her dissertation was sponsoredby Prof. Fox.

Dr. Newland has accepted a postdoctoral position as Core Lecturer (Music Humanities) at Columbia University for 2014-16.  

Congrats Marti!


Congratulations to Dr. Nili Belkind!

Dr. Nili BelkindThe Center for Ethnomusicology warmly congratulates Dr. Nili Belkind, who defended her dissertation on May 8, 2014.  Dr. Belkind's dissertation is entitled Music in conflict: Palestine, Israel, and the politics of aesthetic production.  It was sponsored (advised) by Prof. Christopher Washburne. 

Dr. Belkind's dissertation is an ethnographic study of the fraught and complicated cultural politics of music making in Israel-Palestine in the context of the post-Oslo era, a time of highly polarized sentiments and general retreat from the expressive modes of relationality that accompanied the 1990s peace process. In it, she examines the politics of sound and the ways in which music making and attached discourses reflect and constitute identities, and also, contextualize political action. Ethical and aesthetic positions that shape contemporary artistic production in Israel-Palestine are informed by profound imbalances of power between the State (Israel), the stateless (Palestinians of the oPt), the complex positioning of Israel’s Palestinian minority, and contingent exposure to ongoing political violence.

Congratulations to Our Graduating Seniors!

The Center for Ethnomusicology warmly congratulates the following graduating seniors who have majored in ethnomusicology or worked closely with the ethnomusicology area faculty on senior projects.  2014 was a banner year for undergraduate ethnomusicologists at Columbia!

Veena Kumar (Independent Major in Ethnomusicology, and Biology, Columbia College) completed a senior thesis entitled "Carnatic Music in Diaspora: Tamil American Carnatic Musicians," advised by Prof. Aaron Fox. The thesis examines the bicultural musical lives of young Tamil Americans.


Kevin Woojin Lee
(Music, and Economics, Columbia College) completed a senior thesis entitled "Crisis in the Operatic Tradition: Innovation as Violation," which examines the economic failure of the New York City Opera.


Catherine Mullen (Ethnomusicology, Barnard College) completed a senior thesis entitled "The Jazz Mass: Experiencing Religion and Spirituality Through Non-Traditional Music," advised by Prof. Ana Maria Ochoa.  Kate has also worked extensively for the Center for Ethnomusicology in numerous capacities, as well as for the Music and Arts Library.


Olivia Munson
(Music, Columbia College) has been awarded Departmental Honors for her essay (advised by Prof. Aaron Fox) "A Space for Musical Therapy: On Nationalism, Modernity, Music, and Medicine in the Transition from Ottoman Empire to Turkish Republic."  The essay looks at the use of music for medicinal or therapeutic purposes across broad historical span of Turkish history. 


Debra Rosenbaum (Ethnomusicology, Barnard College) completed a senior thesis entitled "A Case Study of the NYU Steinhardt Nordoff-Robbins Center for Music Therapy: The Reception of Music Therapy as Explored through Analysis of its Research," advised by Prof. Christopher Washburne.

Hana Rosenbaum
(Ethnmusicology, Barnard College) completed a senior thesis entitled "Making Miley 2.0: The Mechanisms Behind the Rebranding of Miley Cyrus," advised by Prof. Kevin Fellezs.


Prof. Matthew Sakakeeny: Instrumentality: Technologies of Voice in the New Orleans Brass Band (4/10, 12-2PM)

Event Start: 
Thursday, April 10, 2014 - 12:00pm - 2:00pm
701C Dodge Hall, Center for Ethnomusicology, Columbia U Morningside Campus (Broadway & 116th St.)

The Center for Ethnomusicology at Columbia University Presents:

Instrumentality: Technologies of Voice in the New Orleans Brass Band

Matthew Sakakeeny
(Associate Professor of Music, Tulane University, and alumnus, Columbia PhD program in Ethnomusicology)

(click image to enlarge)

Thursday April 10, 2014
12:00-2:00 pm

Center for Ethnomusicology, 701C Dodge Hall
Columbia University Morningside Campus (Broadway at 116th St.)


Speaker Bio:

Matthew Sakakeeny is Associate Professor of Music at Tulane University. An ethnomusicologist, journalist, and musician, Matt is the author of the book Roll With It: Brass Bands in the Streets of New Orleans (Duke University Press, 2013) and articles in EthnomusicologyBlack Music Research Journal, and other publications. He graduated from the Columbia University ethnomusicology PhD program in 2008. 

The instrumentality of musical instruments is to act as a voice unmoored from language. Linguistic anthropologists have argued that speech acts produce subjectivity through vocal sound, and instruments extend this sonic materiality into domains where semantic meaning is augmented or even replaced by musical voicings. In New Orleans, the instruments of the brass band are sound technologies utilized to communicate particular messages to a community of listeners. In the local tradition of the jazz funeral, musicians determine the emotional register of the procession: mournful hymns regulate the slow march to the gravesite and upbeat popular songs signal the transition to celebratory dancing after burial. The musicians not only organize the memorial by changing tempo and repertoire, they communicate to the living and the dead through the material sound of their instruments. Black New Orleanians occupying public spaces where lynchings, race riots, segregation, and gentrification have taken place "give voice" to these submerged histories by marching and dancing to the beat of the brass band. And the most recent generation of musicians has drawn upon hip-hop, integrating the direct language of rap into a polyphony of voices that includes horns, drums, and group singing. In this case study of the brass bands of New Orleans, a holistic approach to sonic materiality integrates the spoken, the sung, and instrumental sound in a densely layered soundscape that creates meaning and value for radicalized subjects of power.

David Novak Publishes "Japanoise: Music at the Edge of Circulation"

The Center congratulates Columbia Ethnomusicology PhD program alumnus David Novak.  Prof. Novak (UCSB) has just published Japanoise: Music at the Edge of Circulation (Duke University Press, 2013).

Visit the Japanoise website

Noise, an underground music made through an amalgam of feedback, distortion, and electronic effects, first emerged as a genre in the 1980s, circulating on cassette tapes traded between fans in Japan, Europe, and North America. With its cultivated obscurity, ear-shattering sound, and over-the-top performances, Noise has captured the imagination of a small but passionate transnational audience.

For its scattered listeners, Noise always seems to be new and to come from somewhere else: in North America, it was called "Japanoise." But does Noise really belong to Japan? Is it even music at all? And why has Noise become such a compelling metaphor for the complexities of globalization and participatory media at the turn of the millennium?

In Japanoise, David Novak draws on more than a decade of research in Japan and the United States to trace the "cultural feedback" that generates and sustains Noise. He provides a rich ethnographic account of live performances, the circulation of recordings, and the lives and creative practices of musicians and listeners. He explores the technologies of Noise and the productive distortions of its networks. Capturing the textures of feedback—its sonic and cultural layers and vibrations—Novak describes musical circulation through sound and listening, recording and performance, international exchange, and the social interpretations of media. read more »

David Novak is Associate Professor of Music at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and earned the PhD in Ethnomusicology in 2006, after which he served as a postdoctoral fellow in Columbia's Society of Fellows.
Premium Drupal Themes by Adaptivethemes