This October, Eastman School of Music Professor of Musicology Ralph P. Locke won the prestigious Deems Taylor Award, presented by the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers. This is the 36th year that the award – which is given for “outstanding print, broadcast and new media coverage of music,” according to the ASCAP Web site – was presented.
Established in 1914, the ASCAP is comprised of over 170,000 members, including composers, lyricists and music publishers. The ASCAP, which is the world’s largest organization of its kind, includes a wide variety of music, including rap, country, Latin, blues and gospel music, as well as music from television or film.
The ASCAP Deems Taylor Award was established in memory of Deems Taylor, who was the president of the organization for six years, beginning in 1942. Taylor was a well-respected critic, composer and commentator in the music world. The first ASCAP Deems Taylor was presented in 1968.
The awards are divided into two categories, and this year, seven were given to authors and publishers of books and ten were given to writers and editors, including Locke, of journals or newspapers. Locke will be honored at a reception in New York City this December along with his fellow recipients.
Several other members of the Eastman faculty have received the award in past years, including Professor Emeritus of Conducting and Ensembles Donald Hunsberger, Professors of Musicology Ellen Koskoff and Kim Kowalke and Professor of Theory Robert Wason.
Locke, who has been a professor at Eastman since 1975, received this award for his essay “What Chopin (and Mozart and Others) Heard: Folk, Popular, ‘Functional’ and Non-Western Music in the Classic/Romantic Survey Course,” which was published by Ashgate Publishing Ltd.
The essay is a chapter in the book “Teaching Music History,” which was written by Eastman alumna Mary Natvig. The book is designed to be used with college-level introductory music history and music appreciation classes.
During the essay, Locke examined, among other issues, the different aspects involved in including a variety of music – such as folk music or non-Western music – in these courses that examine the history of Western music.
The recipient of several other awards over the past years, Locke has received the ASCAP-Deems Taylor award three previous times – in 1992, 1996 and 1999.
“These multicultural repertoires can have a lot to say to students today – even those who are particularly devoted to Western art music traditions,” Locke said in a press release, explaining why he believes that it is important for non-Western music and popular to be included in courses that examine the history of Western music.
In addition to this essay, Locke has also published several articles on composers such as Berlioz, Liszt and Schumann. He is currently examining works such as Giuseppe Verdi’s opera “Aida,” in which race or ethnic differences have a key importance.
Next semester, Locke will also be teaching a graduate-level course on 19th-century opera.
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