Conference Program

Voice Studies Now: January 30-31, 2015 at UCLA

Nina Eidsheim, Conference Chair
Katherine Meizel, Conference Co-Chair
Barbara van Nostrand, Conference Chief Administrator

Thursday, January 29 (Schoenberg Hall 1100)

7:30pm UCLA Sings! A Concert
Reception to follow

Friday, January 30 (Royce Hall 314)


8-8:30am              Breakfast & Registration

8:30am                      Welcome, David Schaberg, Dean of Humanities

8:45-10:30am            Panel 1: Producing Voice: Voice as Medium

Jason Stanyek, “Accent in Brazilian Popular Music Performance”
Nandhu Radhakrishnan, “Laryngeal Dynamics of Taan Gestures in   Hindustani Classical Singing”
Shane Butler, “What Was the Voice?”

10:30-10:45am         Break

10:45-12:30pm Panel 2: Sensing Voice: Voice as (Multi)Sensory Phenomenon

Cornelia Fales, “‘Voiceness’ in Instrumental Musical Sound”
Greg Bryant & Kasia Pisanski, “The Evolution of Voice Perception”
Nina Eidsheim, “Voice as a Lens to Knowledge”

12:30-1:30pm    Lunch

1:30-3:15pm            Panel 3: Changing Voice: Voice as Barometer

Rupal Patel, “Vocal Identity: A Crowdsourced Definition”
Chloe Veltman, “The Evolution of Singing Culture in the United States”
Ronald Scherer & Katherine Meizel, “Fluid Voices: Practices and Processes of Singing Impersonation”

3:15-4:00pm            Break

4:00-5:00pm            Keynote Artist Address, Diamanda Galás; Schoenberg Hall 1100

5:00-5:30pm            Keynote Reception

Saturday, January 31 (Perloff Hall 1302)


8:00-8:45am             Breakfast, Registration & Welcome

8:45-10:30am   Panel 4: Framing Voice: Voice as Carrier of Meaning

Mara Mills, “The Telephone Voice: From Modulation to Signal Processing”
Alisha Jones, “‘Playin’ Church:’ Remembering Mama and Questioning Authenticity in Black Gospel Performance”
Tom McEnaney, “This American Voice: The Odd Timbre of a New Standard in Public Radio”

10:30-10:45am         Break

10:45-12:30 pm            Panel 5: Active Voice: Voice as Politics

Elias Krell, “Trans/forming White Noise: Gender, Race and Dis/Ability in the Music of Joe Stevens”
Rosario Signorello, “Voice in Charismatic Leadership”
Jessica Schwartz, “Exposed Populations: Nuclear Power and Vocal Productions”

12:30-1:30pm Lunch

1:30-3:15pm            Panel 6: Negotiating Voice: Voice as Transaction

Eve McPherson, “Robot Imams!: Responses to Centralized Call to Prayer in Turkey”
Hyun Kyong Chang, “Voicing Trans-Pacific Modernity: Mission-Led Confessions in Early Twentieth Century Korea”
Daphne Brooks, “‘Touch Me in the Morning’: Diana Ross and the Voice of Public Sphere Intimacy”

3:15-3:45pm            Break

3:45-4:45pm            Jody Kreiman, “The Interdisciplinary Study of Voice”

4:45pm-5:45pm             Closing Reception with karaoke

The Voice Challenge

In the weeks leading up to the Voice Studies Now conference, we initiated a virtual discussion on the nature of voice. Each week we presented a challenge question, asking participants to engage the issues through vocal exploration. We nominated friends, family, colleagues and others interested in voice to join the conversation by posting a short video. The challenges issued were: “This is my voice in a _______;“ “I use my voice to________;” “What is voice?”; “What are the limits of voice?”

Additionally, with the help of Jessica Schwartz (Assistant Professor, UCLA Musicology), the challenge also served to promote awareness of the Marshallese Educational Initiative, which supports a community that suffers a range of vocal limitations and damages due to US nuclear testing. More information can be found at In lieu of concert tickets or conference registration fee, please consider donating to this important organization.

Bios (in alphabetical order):

Daphne A. Brooks is the author of two books: Bodies in Dissent: Spectacular Performances of Race and Freedom, 1850-1910 (Durham, NC: Duke UP), winner of The Errol Hill Award for Outstanding Scholarship on African American Performance from ASTR and Jeff Buckley’s Grace (New York: Continuum, 2005).  Brooks is currently working on a new book entitled Subterranean Blues: Black Women Sound Modernity (Harvard University Press, forthcoming).  Brooks is also the author of the liner notes for The Complete Tammi Terrell (Universal A&R, 2010) and Take a Look: Aretha Franklin Complete on Columbia(Sony, 2011), each of which has won the ASCAP Deems Taylor Award for outstanding music writing. She is the editor of The Great Escapes:  The Narratives of William Wells Brown, Henry Box Brown, and William Craft (New York:  Barnes & Noble Classics, 2007) and The Performing Arts volume of The Black Experience in the Western Hemisphere Series, eds. Howard Dodson and Colin Palmer (New York: Pro-Quest Information & Learning, 2006).

Shane Butler is Professor of Latin at the University of Bristol (UK). His research interests include the history and theory of media, sensation, and cognition. HIs recent books include The Matter of the Page (Wisconsin, 2011), The Ancient Phonograph (Zone, forthcoming 2015), and a co-edited volume, Synaesthesia and the Ancient Senses (Acumen-Routledge, 2013). He currently is co-editing Sound and the Ancient Senses (Routledge) and editing A Deep Classics Reader (I. B. Tauris). Later in 2015 he will take up a new position as Professor of Classics at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore.

Hyun Kyong Chang (Ph.D., UCLA) explored Euro-American religious choral music in twentieth-century Korea in her dissertation, which she completed in 2014 with the support of an Alvin H. Johnson AMS 50 Fellowship. She is currently a lecturer in musicology at UCLA. Her research projects investigate the influence of U.S.’s transnational religious, military, and political engagements on the perception and experience of vocal modernity in U.S.-allied Pacific Rim, particularly Korea and Japan. Her writing has appeared in Music & Politics and Journal of the European Foundation for Chinese Music Research.

Nina Sun Eidsheim is on the faculty of the UCLA Department of Musicology. As a scholar and singer she investigates the multi-sensory and performative aspects of the production, perception and reception of vocal timbre of twentieth and twenty-first century music. She is currently working on these ideas and repertoires in two monograph projects entitled Sensing Sound: Singing and Listening as Vibrational Practice (forthcoming, Duke University Press) and Measuring Race: Listening to Vocal Timbre and Vocality in African-American Popular Music. She is also co-editing the Oxford Handbook of Voice Studies and a special issue on voice and materiality for the journal, Postmodern Culture. In addition, she is the principal investigator for the UC-wide, transdisciplinary research project entitled Keys to Voice Studies: Terminology, Methodology, and Questions Across Disciplines.

Cornelia Fales is Research Associate at Indiana University. She is an ethnomusicologist who specializes in vocal and  instrumental timbre, both acoustic and synthetic, in traditional and popular music. Her work has been published in most of the major ethnomusicology journals and she has taught at the University of California, Santa Barbara and Indiana University. In addition to ongoing research on the traditional music of Rwanda and Burundi, she is working on a book comparing concepts of timbre as they developed in the seventeenth eighteenth centuries with notions of “sound color” as used in twentieth-century electronic dance music.

Jody Kreiman is Professor of Head and Neck Surgery at the University of California, Los Angeles, School of Medicine.  She is interested in all aspects of voice production, acoustics, and especially perception, and is co-author with Diana Sidtis of Foundations of Voice Studies.

Elias Krell is a musician, performer, and a scholar whose current book project centers the singing voice as a sonic lens for the lives and performance practices of contemporary transgender-identified musicians in North America. Krell received a Ph.D. in Performance Studies and Graduate Certificate in Gender & Sexuality Studies from Northwestern University, and currently teaches in the Feminist & Queer Studies Program at Vassar College on a two-year postdoctoral fellowship through the Consortium for Faculty Diversity. In 2014, Krell was named Emerging Diversity Scholar by the National Center for Institutional Diversity at University of Michigan. Krell is currently conducting ethnographic research in South America on themes of coloniality and indigeneity amongst punk musicians who identify as travesti or trans.

Tom McEnaney is Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature at Cornell University. He has written for Cultural Critique, La Habana Elegante, and Variaciones Borges, as well as the sound studies blog Sounding Out! His book project, Acoustic Properties: Radio, Narrative, and the New Neighborhood of the Americas, investigates the co-evolution of radio and the novel in Argentina, Cuba, and the United States, charting how authors in these countries began to re-conceive novel writing as an act of listening.

Eve McPherson is Assistant Professor of Music at Kent State University, Trumbull.  Her research concerns vocal timbre, Islamic recitation practices, and Turkish art music genres and has been supported by a Fulbright-Hays DDRA fellowship, the Institute of Turkish Studies, the American Research Institute in Turkey, FLAS, Case Western Reserve University, and the University of California at Santa Barbara.  In addition, she performs frequently as a soprano soloist in the Cleveland area with the Northeastern Ohio Vocal Ensemble (NEOVocE).  As a singer she has a particular interest in performing and promoting contemporary Turkish art song.

Katherine Meizel earned her Ph.D. in ethnomusicology at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and also holds D.M.A., M.M., and bachelor’s degrees in vocal performance. Her research has focused on voices and vocalities, and topics including popular music and media, religion, American identities, and disability studies. Her book Idolized: Music, Media, and Identity in American Idol was published by Indiana University Press in early 2011; she also wrote about Idol for the magazine Slate from 2007 to 2011. Other publications have appeared in Popular Music and Society, The Grove Dictionary of American Music, MUSICultures, The Voice and Speech Review, the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, eHumanista, and several edited collections. She is currently co-editor of the upcoming Oxford Handbook of Voice Studies.

Mara Mills is an Assistant Professor of Media, Culture, and Communication at New York University, working at the intersection of disability studies and media studies. She is currently completing a book titled On the Phone: Deafness and Communication Engineering. Articles from this project can be found in Social Text, differences, the IEEE Annals of the History of Computing, The Oxford Handbook of Sound Studies, and The Oxford Handbook of Mobile Music Studies. Her second book project, Print Disability and New Reading Formats, examines the reformatting of print over the course of the past century by blind and other print disabled readers, with a focus on Talking Books and electronic reading machines. This new research is supported by NSF Award #1354297.

Rupal Patel is joint appointed across the Department of Speech Language Pathology and Audiology in Bouve College and the College of Computer and Information Science at Northeastern University. She directs the Communication Analysis and Design Laboratory, an interdisciplinary group that conducts research along two broad themes: 1) the acquisition and impairment of speech prosody (the melody of speech) in healthy speakers and those with neuromotor disorders, and 2) the design of speech enhancement and learning technologies that leverage the residual and/or developing capabilities of users. Learn more at:

Katarzyna Pisanski is postdoctoral research fellow in the Institute of Psychology at the University of Wrocław, Poland. She received her PhD in 2014 from McMaster University, Canada. Her research interests include vocal communication in humans and other animals from an evolutionary perspective. Currently, she is investigating how hormones affect the voice, and how voice production and perception vary across human cultures.

Ron Scherer, Ph.D., Distinguished Research Professor in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, Bowling Green State University, teaches voice disorders and voice and speech science courses.  His research interests include the physiology, mechanics, and acoustics of basic, abnormal, and performance sound production, and the methodologies involved in such research. He was Senior Scientist at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts voice laboratories and taught in the DCPA’s theatre voice and speech trainers program. In 2005 he was a Research Professor in the Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery at the University of Cincinnati. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Iowa, a master’s degree from Indiana University in speech-language pathology, a B.S. degree in mathematics, and also spent two years as a music major at Indiana University.

Jessica A. Schwartz is an Assistant Professor of Musicology at UCLA. She explores musical representations and sonic histories of militarization and imperial violence, Pacific politics of indigeneity, and environmental concerns, such as nuclear contamination and climate change. She is working on two monographs: Radiation Sounds: Marshallese Music and Nuclear Silences, which details how Marshallese musically and textually evoke the consequences of the US nuclear weapons testing program in their country (1946–1958), as exemplified by precarious harmonies composed of irradiated women’s voices, and Repertoires of Survival: Civil Defense, Popular Music, and the Business of Atomic Aurality in Postwar America, which offers a sonic ecology of the early American atomic age with a focus on the relationship between US governmental sound design of civil defense, codified motifs in popular music, and the rise of the postwar youth market. In 2013, Prof. Schwartz co-founded and continues to serve as Cultural Programs Advisor to the Marshallese Educational Initiative, Inc., a not-for-profit organization based in Arkansas that raises cultural awareness of and promotes educational opportunities for the Marshallese population. An active guitarist, she composes and performs experimental noise-based and punk music.

Rosario Signorello helds an international double doctorate in Phonetic Science (University of Grenoble, France) and in Social Psychology (University of Roma Tre, Italy). He is currently a postdoctoral scholar in the Department of Head and Neck Surgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine at University of California, Los Angeles. He conducts research in voice quality, laryngeal biomechanics, human charismatic voice. He is also interested in topics about voice behavior in non-human primate leadership, multimodal communication, social informatics, and affective computing.

Jason Stanyek teaches at the University of Oxford where he is Associate Professor of Ethnomusicology and Tutorial Fellow at St. John’s College. Before arriving to Oxford he was Assistant Professor at New York University, Visiting Associate Professor at Harvard University, and External Faculty Fellow at the Stanford Humanities Center. His research on Brazilian music and dance has appeared in a range of academic journals and edited volumes. He edited an interdisciplinary issue of the journal Critical Studies in Improvisation on  Brazilian improvisation and was guest producer of an hour-long radio show called “The Brazilian Diaspora in the United States” for Public Radio International’s programme Afropop Worldwide. An volume on bossa nova (co-edited with Frederick Moehn) and an ethnographic monograph on Brazilian performance in the United States are forthcoming in 2016. He also frequently writes on music technology. The two-volume Oxford Handbook of Mobile Music Studies (co-edited with Sumanth Gopinath) was published in early 2014 and “Deadness: Technologies of the Intermundane”—co-written with Benjamin Piekut and published in TDR—was given the Association of Theater in Higher Education’s Outstanding Article Award in 2011 and was also named by MIT Press as one of the 50 most influential articles published across all of its journals over the past 50 years. He currently serves as Reviews Editor of the journal Twentieth-Century Music and as general editor for Bloomsbury’s new series 33 1/3 Brazil, an offshoot of their long-running 33 1/3 series.

Chloe Veltman is a Denver-based journalist and broadcaster. She currently serves as arts editor at Colorado Public Radio. Find out more at

The Voice Studies Now concert and symposium are made possible by the generous support of:

The Herb Alpert School of Music Nelson Fund
The Herb Alpert School of Music, Departments of Ethnomusicology, Music, and Musicology
The UCLA Dean of Humanities
UCLA Arts Initiative Award
UCLA Interdisciplinary Workshop, Planning Meetings, and Symposium Fund
The UCLA Center for the Study of Women
UCLA Department of World Arts and Cultures/Dance Program
UCLA Center for Behavior, Evolution, & Culture
UCLA Department of Communication Studies
UCLA Department of History
UCLA Department of Linguistics

Special thanks to:

Mike D’Errico
Jillian Fontaine
Jessica Gonzales
Luis Henao
Norm Hirschy
Kristina Hordzwick
Raymond Knapp
Anahit Manoukian
Tiffany Naiman
Barbara van Nostrand
Jillian Rogers
Jessica Schwartz
Neal Stulberg

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