Nicholas Emmanuel – PhD in Historical Musicology

Nick has been awarded a Fulbright scholarship to study at the Liszt Academy of Music and the Institute for Musicology for the academic year 2020-2021!

What's been your favorite experience as a Music student at UB?

To choose a favorite experience from my time in the music department would do a disservice to the diversity and richness of experiences that the program has afforded me as a musicologist and as a pianist. I have had the opportunity, for instance, to play the harmonium in Schoenberg’s transcriptions of Mahler’s “Das Lied von der Erde” and Debussy’s “Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune” with the Slee Sinfonietta; I performed student works with the New York New Music Ensemble at the June in Buffalo festival; and I have developed long-standing working relationships with fellow performers and composers in and around the UB community. And of course, it would be difficult to overstate the impact that the musicology faculty have had on my growth as a scholar and as a person. Seminars and conversations with James Currie and Stephanie Vander Wel have not only reshaped the way that I think about music, but they have also transformed my understanding of the humanities as a contemporary intellectual project.

Have you had any opportunities for one-to-one mentorship?

The UB Music Department is a close-knit community. During my time here, I have had the pleasure of working closely with many faculty members. As a piano student, I have benefited from years’ of private lessons with Eric Huebner, whose singular gifts as a pianist and pedagogue have left an indelible mark on my playing. I have also had many opportunities to work and perform with other performance faculty and to participate in masterclasses with visiting artists. My experience as a musicology student has likewise been defined by close working relationships. The musicology and theory faculty here are deeply invested in the success of students; and, owing to the small size of cohorts, they are able to dedicate substantial time and energy to each of us. Meetings with my dissertation advisor, James Currie, have, without a doubt, been the most rigorous, productive, and intellectually stimulating experience of my entire education.

How has your time in the UB Department of Music prepared you for the future?

The musicology faculty, and the program as a whole, places a premium on professional training. Outside of coursework, faculty regularly host writing workshops and dedicate time to skills like crafting successful abstracts and presenting at professional conferences. Additionally, the opportunity to teach regularly has been absolutely invaluable preparation for a career in academia. I have taught numerous courses ranging in class size from 10 to 125 students, both in-person and in online formats. Having the freedom to design several of these courses myself has been especially meaningful. Above all, though, I feel that the musicology faculty has prepared me to engage critically with the discipline of music history and to approach my scholarship in a focused and professional manner.

I also really appreciate that the department encourages musicology and theory students who have an active interest in performance to continue their study in a formal capacity. Increasingly, music departments are looking for job candidates who can wear multiple hats, so to speak. Coming out of this program with a masters’ degree in piano performance in addition to my doctorate in musicology will be a definite asset in this regard.

Nick Emmanuel.

Nick Emmanuel is currently pursuing a PhD in Historical Musicology under the guidance of Professor James Currie