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Musicology & Ethnomusicology Division

Meghan CreekMeghan Creek, PhD program, Musicology
nineteenth-century Italian opera, twentieth-century American popular music

Meghan Creek is a PhD student in musicology at the University of Maryland. She completed her master’s degree in musicology at the University of Missouri in Columbia, where she studied under Dr. Michael J. Budds. She specialized in Italian bel canto opera performance practice and completed a thesis titled “Bellini’s Norma: A Comparative Study of Significant Leading Ladies from Pasta to Callas.” For her doctoral research, Meghan is focusing on extreme heavy metal communities in the D.C. area, the American South, and Scandinavia. Specifically, she explores the sonic qualities, visual symbols, and bodily movements and gestures created and displayed by musicians and fans as they relate to identity performance. Her secondary interest is the music of Janis Joplin. Meghan is also a published book editor, with the recent release by Allez-Y Press of Ready, Set, Go: Life Hacks for Young Musicians by Jacob Hallman.


Maya CunninghamMaya Cunningham, MA program, Ethnomusicology
Jazz, traditional African American and Southern African music and cultural identity, culturally responsive music education, public/applied ethnomusicology, music and the Civil Rights Movement

Maya Cunningham is master’s student in ethnomusicology at the University of Maryland, College Park. Her research focuses on Southern African and African American traditional music and cultural identity. In 2017 Cunningham received a Fulbright fellowship to study traditional music and national identity in Botswana. She has presented papers at conferences at the University of Nottingham in England, the University of Albany, and New York University. Cunningham twice received NEH research fellowships focused on African American Gullah culture and blues traditions, as well as fellowships to study traditional music in Ghana and India. Cunningham directs the Ethnomusicology In Action project which includes culturally responsive education programs that use research in Black music to empower African American students and broadcast media programs. Prior to her graduate studies, Cunningham received Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in jazz studies from Howard University and Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College. Learn more at


Alexander DevereuxAlexander Devereux, MA program, Musicology
music and narrative, 20th-century music, documentary genres

Alexander Devereux is a master’s student in musicology at the University of Maryland. His research focuses on post-WWII classical music, especially concerning music and narrative, and he has been accepted to present at the Capital Chapter of the American Musicological Society. Prior to his graduate studies, Alexander received a B.A. in Music History and Literature from the University of Maryland, in a major he created through the Individual Studies Program. His senior thesis analyzed contemporary American composer Frederic Rzewski’s adaptation of Peter Weiss’s The Investigation, a documentary play about the Frankfurt-Auschwitz trials, in the oratorio The Triumph of Death.




Sarah England, PhD program, Musicology
Harold Arlen, American popular music from the Golden Age of Song, race and gender studies


Nate Gailey SchiltzNathanial Gailey-Schiltz, PhD program, Ethnomusicology
Japanese music, music and conflict, masculinity studies

Nathanial Gailey-Schiltz is a PhD candidate in ethnomusicology at the University of Maryland, College Park. His research interests revolve around forces such as cultural hegemonies and colonialisms and the various feelings of belonging that have shaped musics in East Asia and Asian-heritage communities in the United States, especially over the course of the 20th century. His archival-based MA thesis “Publication and Censorship of Popular Song During the Allied Occupation of Japan, 1945-1949” discusses the apparatus of Allied censorship of music in the Occupation period and the explicit and implicit censorship of sentiments in popular songs published at the time.  He has presented papers at the Society for Ethnomusicology Annual Meeting and meetings of the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the Society for Ethnomusicology and Mid-Atlantic Region Association for Asian Studies. Prior to graduate school, he earned a BA in Music with an East Asian Studies concentration from Grinnell College in Iowa.


Victor Hernandez-SangVíctor Hernández-Sang, PhD program, Ethnomusicology
Haiti and the Dominican Republic, music and migration, race relations

Víctor Hernández-Sang is a Ph.D. student in ethnomusicology and is originally from the Dominican Republic. His doctoral project examines the performance of gagá (Haitian-Dominican music and dance) and explores race, immigration, and racial discrimination in the Dominican Republic. He completed his master’s degree at UMD with a thesis focused on the performance of palos music in fiestas de misterios in the Dominican Republic. In summer 2018, he started conducting doctoral field research with the support of the Graduate School Summer Research Fellowship. Before coming to UMD, he received his B.A. from Luther College, Decorah, IA in music (flute performance) and taught flute, ear training, and English in his hometown, Santiago.



Ben JacksonBenjamin Jackson, PhD program, Ethnomusicology
Jazz, music and social space, Argentina

Benjamin Jackson is a PhD student in ethnomusicology at the University of Maryland. His research centers on the relationship between sound, narrative, and the production of space in urban areas. His dissertation considers contemporary “trad” jazz scenes in Washington, D.C. and New York City, focusing on how performers and institutions shape histories of the music. Prior to this work, he completed a Master’s thesis at UMD examining the impacts of gentrification on non-profit jazz venues in D.C. His research is influenced by his work as a trombonist and an archivist leading him to employ ethnographic, historical, and digital methods. He is passionate about making scholarly work accessible to a broad audience and has worked on curating and scripting physical and digital exhibits based on his research.


Jennifer Kobuskie, PhD program, Musicology
20th-century music, American music, criticism


Elizabeth MasseyElizabeth Massey, PhD program, Musicology
English popular ballads, the English Baroque, nationalism

Elizabeth Massey is a PhD candidate in musicology at University of Maryland, College Park.  Her dissertation explores how late-seventeenth century English popular music helped to shape Protestant national identity through musical coding and intertextual references. She recently presented part of her dissertation research in a paper titled "Music Making English Identity" at the Intermedia Restoration conference. Elizabeth is a recipient of University of Maryland's 2018–2019 Graduate All-S.T.A.R. Fellowship, and her paper “An American Bach at War” earned the 2017 Irving Lowens Award for Student Research at the American Musicological Society's Capital Chapter. Elizabeth also received the Irving Lowens Endowed Memorial Prize in Musicology from The Peabody Institute of The Johns Hopkins University, where she earned a Master of Music in Musicology and Master of Music in Bassoon Performance. Her master’s thesis examined political music and music patronage in early Renaissance England. Elizabeth received her Bachelor of Arts in Music and History from Gettysburg College.


Debra Livant Nakos, MA program, Musicology

Debra Livant Nakos is a master’s student in musicology at the University of Maryland. Her research focuses on music and music theory of the medieval and renaissance periods. Debra’s interests also include MEI (Music Encoding Initiative), computational musicology, and the application of computers in both the analysis of individual works and corpus studies. She earned her Bachelor’s of music (BM in flute, BM in harp) from The Peabody Conservatory of The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. Before continuing her graduate work, Debra was trained as a computer programmer by IBM and has enjoyed a career as a software engineer.


Briana Nave, MA, program, Musicology
Rock, music and identity, counterculture

Briana M. Nave is an MA student in musicology at the University of Maryland, College Park. Her main research interest is 20th century rock music, with a specific focus on the expression of regional and local identities, gender in songwriting and performance, and the effects of extra-musical elements on the understanding of works. In October of 2018 she presented on a paper on political activity and community identity in the Washington, D.C. punk scene at the Popular Music, Popular Movement(s) conference at Case Western Reserve University. Briana graduated from Salem College in 2016 with a BM in vocal performance and continues to be active in choirs.




Simon Polson, PhD program, Musicology
Chant; medieval liturgical music and practice; books and sources for the liturgy

Simon Polson is a PhD candidate in musicology, studying plainchant and public music in late-medieval London. His research has taken him to major archives and libraries in the USA, the UK, and Ireland. In 2018, Simon was named a Cosmos Scholar (Washington, DC), and has been awarded the Dean’s Fellowship at UMD, the Eleanor Sophia Wood Bequest Travelling Scholarship at the University of Sydney, and formerly an Australian Postgraduate Award. He has published in Études grégoriennes, the Leonardo Music Journal, and Fontes Artis Musicae, and has given invited papers at symposia on medieval music manuscripts and presented at the Musicological Society of Australia's national conference. Simon holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the University of Sydney and an Advanced Diploma in Arts from the University of New England, Australia. He sings with the UMD Chamber Singers and co-convenes the Early Music “Sing and Sip” series.




Rachel RuisardRachel Ruisard, PhD program, Musicology
Troubadour and trouvère song, orality and literacy, medieval court culture

Rachel Ruisard is a Ph.D. candidate in musicology at the University of Maryland, College Park. A recipient of the University of Maryland’s prestigious Flagship Fellowship, she holds a Bachelors of Music in Vocal Performance from Moravian College with a minor in Medieval Studies, and a Masters in Musicology with distinction from the University of Oxford. Rachel’s research in medieval vernacular song traditions focuses on the poetry, music, and performing contexts of the trouvères, as well as intersections of music and gender. Her dissertation examines the evidence for women’s participation and cross-gender performances in the musical tradition of the Lorraine region in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. Rachel is a co-author for the 2017 article “New and Borrowed Chant in New Spain and Mexico” in Études grégoriennes, and has presented at the International Congress on Medieval Studies. She is currently a student representative to the American Musicological Society (Capital Chapter).


William Donnie ScallyWilliam Donnie Scally, PhD program, Ethnomusicology
Jazz, transnational musical practices, jazz and popular music historiography

Donnie Scally is a Ph.D. student in ethnomusicology. His research focuses on musical life, aging and shrinking populations, and infrastructure change. His research interests include urban ethnography and jazz and blues historiography. He received the 2018 UMD School of Music Summer Research Fellowship and the 2017 M-Cubator award. His paper “’Smokin’, Drinkin’, Never Thinkin’’: Musical Choices and the Construction of Meaning in the Tokyo Jazz Scene” received the 2016 MACSEM Pantaleoni Prize. He ran a local series of music and politics discussions in 2017–18 and gave a lecture for the public We Are Takoma series in 2016. Donnie received his M.A. in ethnomusicology from the University of Maryland in 2016. His thesis examined professionalization among Tokyo jazz musicians. He received a B.M. in Jazz Bass Performance from Temple University in 2009. A long-time competitive martial artist, he is also writing about sound and embodiment in combat sports on the side.


Heyni Solera, MA program, Ethnomusicology
Tango, bandoneon, pedagogy, medical ethnomusicology

Heyni Yanin Solera is a master’s student in ethnomusicology at the University of Maryland. She is primarily interested in pedagogical practices in tango music, specifically how it applies to the bandoneón. Other research interests include contemporary tango music, music and transcultural exchange, and the queer tango dance scene. Heyni’s research on Washington D.C.’s emerging queer tango dance scene was recently presented at UMD’s Latin American Studies Center. Heyni holds a Bachelor of Arts in Music from Washington Adventist University. Although trained as a pianist, Heyni currently performs on bandoneón throughout the D.C. area with the Tango Mercurio Orchestra and the quintet, Da Capo Tango. Besides her academic and musical interests, Heyni works as a nurse anesthetist at Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center. 


Mariángel VillalobosMariángel Villalobos, PhD program, Ethnomusicology
Central America, music and gender, music and migration

Mariángel Villalobos is a PhD student in ethnomusicology at the University of Maryland. Her current research interests involve the circulation of Central American music through the transisthmus and how it is interpreted by the diaspora in the DMV. She was awarded a First-Class Honours Masters degree in Advanced Musical Studies from Royal Holloway, University of London with a thesis entitled “Bridging Intangible and Tangible Heritage Through Music at La Ponte-Ecomuseum, Asturias, Spain,” published in the journal Cuadiernu. As a performer, Villalobos played the lira in Costa Rica, where she began studies as a classically trained flutist.



Victoria ViscegliaVictoria Visceglia, MA program, Ethnomusicology
American music, music and tourism, regional identity

Victoria Visceglia is a master’s student in ethnomusicology at the University of Maryland. Her research focuses on gospel music in the context of a Washington, D.C. Catholic church and explores connection, engagement, race, and post-Vatican II interpretations of Catholicism. Victoria will present her research at the 45th Annual D.C. History Conference in November of 2018. Previously, she earned her Bachelor of Science in music education and taught at the secondary level for two years in York, Pennsylvania.




Max YamaneMaxwell Yamane, MA program, Ethnomusicology
Powwows, Kiowa music, music and conflict

Maxwell Yamane is a PhD student in ethnomusicology at the University of Maryland with research interests in American Indian Southern Plains music and dance, powwow, Indigenous protest music, music and change, and music and Native American language revitalization. His recent research focuses on linguistic and musical changes in Kiowa War Mother songs that reflect twentieth-century Kiowa life and warfare. Maxwell also presented his research on the role of traditional Indigenous music in No DAPL protests in Washington D.C. at the Society for Ethnomusicology Conference. Maxwell holds a Bachelor of Arts in cultural anthropology with a minor in music from James Madison University. In his free time, he performs as a powwow singer with Ottertrail, Zotigh, and Uptown Boyz drum groups.


Xiaoshan (Ilsa) Yin, PhD program, Ethnomusicology
Chinese music: the guqin, music revival, transformation of tradition

Xiaoshan (Ilsa) Yin is a first year PhD student in ethnomusicology at the University of Maryland. Her research focuses on the tradition and transformation of the guqin, a Chinese instrument. Ilsa received her master’s degree in ethnomusicology from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, with her thesis titled “The Qin Revival in 21st Century China: The Transformation and Reconstruction of Tradition.” She has presented at the 2018 British Forum for Ethnomusicology/Royal Musical Association Research Students Conference in the UK. Ilsa plays the guqin, the erhu, and (as an amateur) the gayageum.