At Westminster, you will learn American and public musicology from our distinguished faculty of renowned musicians, as well as professional public musicologists from such prominent institutions as the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, the New York Philharmonic, the New Jersey Symphony, the Alice Paul Institute and the Oral History of American Music Institute at Yale University.
Core courses in the American and Public Musicology program are taught by scholars who have written significant books, published in major peer-reviewed journals and given presentations and lectures throughout North America, Europe, Asia and Oceania. Students in this program are also encouraged to take courses, private lessons and independent studies with Westminster’s highly accomplished voice, piano, composition, music education and sacred music faculty.
Musicology program faculty and their specialties include:
Justin Burton: Specialist in hip-hop and R&B
Christian Carey: Authority on the music of Elliott Carter
Eric Hung: Author of articles on film and television music and Asian American music
Anthony Kosar: Authority on country western music
Sharon Michandani: Expert on American women composers
Jerry Rife: Specialist in band music
Jack Sullivan: Author of the award-winning Hitchcock’s Music and New World Symphonies.
Justin D. Burton
Assistant Professor of Music
A musicologist specializing in U.S. popular music and culture, Justin Burton has a particular interest in hip hop, technology and expressions of identity through popular music. His book-length project, Posthuman Pop, combines these interests, blending contemporary popular music through the lens of posthuman theory.
Professor Burton serves on the executive committee of the International Association for the Study of Popular Music – US Branch and recently served as organization’s website editor, expanding the site’s offerings with the cutting-edge work of popular music scholars from around the world. His forthcoming publications include "From Barthes to Bart: The Simpsons v Amadeus" in the Journal of Popular Culture (2013) and "Dancing Silhouettes: The Mobile Freedom of iPod Commercials" in the Oxford Handbook of Mobile Music Studies (2012). He is currently working on a critical essay about the A$AP Rocky album Live/Love/A$AP, a co-edited volume on contemporary hip hop, and a special journal issue on Music and the Global South.
Assistant Professor of Music
Christian Carey is a composer, performer, writer and musicologist whose research focuses on American music and contemporary concert music. He has written extensively about classical, jazz and popular music for various websites and magazines.
Dr. Carey’s compositions have been performed by ACME, New York New Music Ensemble, Atlantic Chamber Orchestra, Cassatt String Quartet, Locrian Chamber Players, Righteous Girls, Aspen Contemporary Ensemble, Dal Suono Sommerso, singing cellist Jody Redhage, NYC opera flutuist John McMurtery and Met Opera flutist Diva Goodriend-Koven.
He is senior editor at the Contemporary Classical website Sequenza 21 and is a frequent contributor to Tempo, Signal to Noise, Musical America and other publications. His flute/piano duo “For Milton,” appeared on a CD commemorating Milton Babbitt released in 2012 by Perspectives of New Music/Open Space. Editions Delatour will publish his essay on Elliott Carter’s late concerti in a forthcoming book devoted to Carter.
Associate Professor of Music History
Eric Hung is an active musicologist, pianist and koto player whose research focuses on Asian American music, film and television music, and experimental music. He is executive director designate and a member of Gamelan Dharma Swara, the Balinese music-and-dance ensemble based at the Indonesian Consulate in New York City.
His research has been presented widely in the United States, Canada, Great Britain and Taiwan. His most recent article, “Hearing Emerson, Lake, and Palmer Anew: Progressive Rock as ‘Music of Attractions’” was published in Current Musicology. Current projects include a book on the musical portrayals of Asians and Asian Americans in Hollywood films.
Professor of Music
Chairperson, Music Composition, History and Theory Department
An authority on American country western music, Anthony Kosar heads the Music Composition, History and Theory Department at Westminster Choir College. His articles on music theory pedagogy have been published in the College Music Society Symposium, the Journal of Music Theory Pedagogy and the Journal of the Georgia Association of Music Theorists. He has presented research papers at the South Central Society for Music Theory Conference, the Texas Society for Music Theory Conference, the National Society for Music Theory Conference and the International Symposium on Music in France (1830-1940) in Melbourne, Australia.
Dr. Kosar’s most recent research deals with narrative time in American country western music. He has presented papers on this topic at the Hawaii International Conference on Arts and Humanities (2010, 2013), the Time Theories and Music Conference in Corfu, Greece (2012), and “Changing the Tune”: Popular Music & Politics in the 21st Century From the Fall of Communism to the Arab Spring, an international conference in Strasbourg, France (2013).
Professor of Music History and Theory
An expert on American women composers, Sharon Mirchandani’s research interests include American music, women in music, historiography, and 20th and 21st century music. She is the author of the biography, Marga Richter, published by the University of Illinois Press (2012). She has also written articles for numerous publications, including Choral Journal, Historical Anthology of Music by Women, Women and Music in America Since 1900: An Encyclopedia, The Hymn, Journal for the International Alliance for Women in Music and the Grove Dictionary of American Music/Grove Music Online.
Dr. Mirchandani has presented at annual meetings of the American Musicological Society and the Society for American Music, and meetings of the College Music Society. She has served as a panelist at conferences of the College Music Society, the Mid-Atlantic Women’s Studies Association, and the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning; as a board member of the International Alliance for Women in Music; and on the AMS Committee on the History of the Society.
Professor of Music and Director of Bands
Chairman, Music in the Fine Arts Department
A specialist in band music, Jerry Rife has been an active band director and performer of solo, recital, orchestra and jazz music on the East Coast. Since 1985, he has served as conductor and musical director of the Blawenburg Band, which grew under his leadership from a small town band to a 70-member organization performing over 30 concerts annually — including the White House. He is the concertmaster and occasional guest conductor of the nationally renowned Virginia Grand Military Band, and conductor and music director of the Raritan Valley Symphonic Band. His traditional jazz band, The Rhythm Kings, has performed regularly for 25 years averaging 100 performances each year. Dr. Rife is also a member of the John Johnson Trio and Blue Skies, a swing jazz quartet.
Dr. Rife has guest conducted and adjudicated at band festivals, published numerous articles on band music, is a respected lecturer and has served as the state chairman of the College Band Directors National Conference. He has been contributing writer for the Saxophone Journal since 1988, and has reviewed performances and recordings for Jazz Player Magazine. Also a specialist in the music of Florent Schmitt, Dr. Rife has published several articles on the composer, including an article for the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (forthcoming).
Professor of English
Director, American Studies Program
An American literary scholar, professor, essayist, author, editor, musicologist, concert annotator and short story writer, Jack Sullivan is one of the leading modern figures in the study of the horror genre, Alfred Hitchcock, and the impact of American culture on European music. His specialties include nineteenth and twentieth century American literature, music, and film.
Dr. Sullivan has published six books, including two music-related book length studies, New World Symphonies: How American Culture Changed European Music (1999), and Hitchcock's Music (2006). New World Symphonies analyzes the transformative influence of American literature, music, and mythology on European music. Hitchcock’s Music illuminates the importance of music in Hitchcock’s films, detailing his collaborations with such composers as Franz Waxman, Bernard Herrmann and John Williams, and singers such as Marlene Dietrich and Doris Day. His literary and music essays and reviews have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post Book World, The New Republic, Saturday Review, USA Today and Harper’s Magazine.