skip navigation

This page is designed for modern browsers. You will have a better experience with a better browser.

Brown Home Brown Home Brown Academics

Graduate Students

A listing of current graduate students and their interests


Dillon Bustin evolutionary origins of music, modernization and musical antimodernism, African American song, Native American storytelling

Violet Cavicchi Andean huayno, musics of Latin America, music and migration, sound and place, indigenous identity, media and mediation, and music in daily life
Violet studies musics of Latin America and hopes to further explore undergraduate research in the uses of huayno in Quechua-language radio programming in Peru. She received her B.A. at Vassar College with a concentration in Anthropology and correlate in Music and Culture. While a student at Vassar, Violet interned for the Dutchess County Arts Council, researched teaching practices in Balinese gamelan ensembles, and led a student seminar on shape note singing. She wrote her senior thesis on mixing music as a means of cultural intermediation for Latin DJs in NYC. Recently returned from intensive music lessons in Indonesia, Violet is also a student of gamelan gong kebyar and looks forward to expanding her understanding of diverse music cultures as she continues her studies at Brown.

David Fossum – Central Asian and Near Eastern musics, modernization, performance/improvisation, ethnography and cultural history.
Dave has a B.A. in English/Comparative Literature from George Mason University and an M.A. in Ethnomusicology from Wesleyan University. While serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Turkmenistan, he learned to play instrumental music on a two-stringed Turkmen lute called dutar. After returning to his home town of Washington, D.C., he began performing with Turkish folk musician Hüsnü Aydogdu, who taught him to play baglama. His M.A. thesis examines the Ahal School of instrumental Turkmen dutar performance. His broader research interests include the musics of Central Asia, Turkey, and the Near East, and anything with strings – strummed, plucked, bowed or otherwise. He has recently picked up the ud and leads a Middle Eastern ensemble at Brown. He also enjoys performing with Sekar Setaman, Brown's Javanese Gamelan.

Bradley Hanson American vernacular music, applied ethnomusicology, public culture, radio, memory, heritage.
Bradley is a fourth year PhD student in ethnomusicology, with interests including American vernacular music, applied ethnomusicology,folklore, public culture, media, and memory. His dissertation field research, in Appalachian East Tennessee,centers onregional bluegrass, country, and gospel music-making, principally among devoted amateurs.He ispresentlycollaborating with agroup of musicians, most born between 1925 and 1950, to understand and documenttheir musical, social, performance, and memory practices, especially as situated around post-WWII community radio, variety, and stage shows. Among this group, he is also researching current regional trends in cultural tourism, festival making, andheritage discourse. Since 2007, Bradley has worked asa cultural interpreter with the Cumberland Trail State Scenic Trail in eleven counties in East Tennessee. As part of the Cumberland Trail Music and History project he has conducted oral history interviews, developed web exhibits, collected archival material, produced a weekly radio program, and helped organize community concerts and festivals, including the Louie Bluie Music and Arts Festival in Caryville, TN.

Kathleen Haughey South American music, applied ethnomusicology, memory, trauma, ethnotheory, performance and embodiment
Kate is a first-year graduate student in ethnomusicology, currently investigating DJ culture and the engagement of young people through community arts programs in Providence. Prior to Brown, Kate spent a year living in Orono, Maine, teaching special education and music at the local elementary school. Kate is a classically trained cellist, with a B.M. in Cello Performance and a B.A. in Hispanic Studies from Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, WA. At PLU she performed regularly in early music ensembles, the university symphony orchestra, and solo and ensemble recitals. She learned to play and dance tango while living in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She has taught music and performed in both Argentina and Brazil, most recently in Rio de Janeiro at the Rio International Cello Encounter. At Brown, Kate continues her passion of making music with others by playing cavaquinho in the Choro Ensemble and singing in the Sacred Harp ensemble. Her research interests include the intersections between music composition/performance and postmemory/trauma; community music programs as catalysts for social change; and the production, distribution, and performance of contemporary and colonial music of the Guaraní living near the Jesuit missions on the borders of Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay.

Sheila HoggAnthropological linguistics; sociolinguistics, documentary film; sean-nós singing; Irish & Scottish Gaelic languages, Irish, Cajun, Cape Breton & French-Canadian musics and dance styles.With a B.A. in Anthropology (linguistics) from Brown, Sheila is continuing her research for the M.A. with an ongoing in the singing competitions at the Oireachtas na Gaeilge annual festival in Ireland. This work combines a look at local language communities celebrating their language and culture through performance. She has received several NEA Folk Arts Apprenticeships to work with U.S.-based Irish singers, Bridget Fitzgerald (Irish language traditions) and Josephine McNamara (English language). She has performed at local and New England festivals and at the Feis nan Eilean in Stornaway, Scotland. Language study has been undertaken at Harvard and at National University of Ireland, Galway. She has taught Irish Gaelic language in the community and at Brown for many years. As a dialect coach for many Brown and Providence College productions, she has teased ‘the blas’ or right accent from the players. Her roles in festival production includethe Cajun & Bluegrass Festival in R.I.(now Rhythm & Roots) and the R.I. Irish festival in Providence. She is currently working full time in the Orwig Music Library as a Senior Library Specialist.

Francesca Inglesemusic of the African diaspora, global circulation of black music, blackface minstrelsy, performance, dance and the body, applied ethnomusicology, audio/video documentary
Francesca is a PhD candidate in ethnomusicology. She received her BA in music (with a focus on composition) from Vassar College and an MA in ethnomusicology from the University of Toronto. She has studied, performed, and taught Baroque, Jazz, and Carnatic violin/viola while living in Scotland, India, and Iceland, and played in a range of musical ensembles. Her MA thesis focused on the various musical interactions and encounters amongst African American and Jewish women vaudeville performers in the early 20th century as well as the sonic and embodied legacy of blackface minstrelsy in the performances of Sophie Tucker. Her current ethnographic dissertation research explores the music and dance practices, public parades, and youth development projects of minstrel troupes in Cape Town in relation to questions of coloured subjectivity, urban spatial politics, and corporeal knowledge in post-apartheid South Africa.

Christopher Johnson-RobersonMusic of theAfrican Diaspora, queer theory, feminism, music and technology
Chris is a first-year Ph.D student in ethnomusicology. He received his B.A. in History and Literature & Music from Harvard College, where he wrote a senior thesis on the political ramifications of Zulu women's music. His current research interests include black music from across the African Diaspora, commerce, queerness, and virtual communities. He aims to study how black musicians and their audiences incorporate technology into aesthetic practice, social interaction, and embodied experience.

Esther Viola KurtzAfro-Brazilian movement and music forms,African diaspora, body and embodiment, improvisation, race, gender, applied ethnomusicology.
Esther Viola is a first-year grad student, with a B.M. From the Eastman School of Music and an M.M. from the Utrecht Conservatory, in the Netherlands, both in oboe performance. With oboe, Esther has sought to push the boundaries of the repertoire, commissioning new works and improvising with groups in Amsterdam and Boston. She also studied choro in Rio de Janeiro, and since 2006 she has been practicing the Brazilian martial art capoeira, which is now the focus of her research. With capoeira, she is exploring embodied knowledge and music and movement as resistance practices, and further interests include gesture, communication and improvisation. Esther also dances forró and a little samba de gafieira, and co-produces the Junk Kitchen Concert Series in Cambridge, MA.

Byrd McDanielpopular music aesthetics, postmodernism, remixing and appropriation, configurable culture, rap music and performative identity, gender and sexuality theory, intersections of gender and race
Byrd is a first-year Ph.D. student in ethnomusicology. An Arkansas native, Byrd attended Trinity University in San Antonio, where he majored in English literature and Mandarin Chinese. After a time in Texas, Byrd received a Graduate Council Fellowship at the University of Alabama, which allowed him to participate in an American Studies Master of Arts program. In the program, Byrd studied popular music, published a few articles, wrote a thesis on Lil Wayne and the legacy of blackface minstrelsy, and taught a course on mashup music. Before coming to Brown, he spent the summer working at NPR’s Arts Desk in Washington, D.C. His current research interests include contemporary popular music aesthetics, configurable media and music, and performative music identities. Although Byrd’s musical leanings fall more towards scholarship and less towards performance, Byrd fancies himself a hobbyist in guitar, banjo, French horn, dobro, rap poetics, auto-tune singing, and home music production.

Nicholas Reeder African percussion, Brazilian music and culture, Documentary film, Jazz performance (guitar), Music cognition, Poetics, Songs, Sound for multimedia/video
Nick came back to Brown (where he was an undergrad, majoring in History/American Literature and a varsity lacrosse player and coach) after working as a freelance recording engineer/producer in San Francisco and Nashville for 7 years.

Shayn Smulyan Yiddish song, music and language, performative speech (especially translation), American microcultural musics, D/diaspora, revivalism
Shayn came to Brown in 2005, after a year building hiking trails and two years in an egalitarian intentional community. Prior to that she did her BA at Smith College in anthropology and music. Her current research is on the performative and communicative strategies of Yiddish singers. Shayn is an active sacred harp singer and a dabbler on various stringed and percussion instruments. She does political and cultural work in the queer and Jewish-Secularist communities (sometimes both at once), and spends too much time reading their blogs.

Alex Stein Jazz and Black Music, Africana Studies, improvisation, performance, pedagogy
Alex is a professional jazz saxophonist and longtime student of master jazz educator Barry Harris.  He has performed at Jazz at Lincoln Center, Smalls, the Kitano Hotel, and the Cape May, Mackinac Island, and Sarasota Jazz Festivals with the Stein Brothers Quintet, which he co-leads with his brother, Asher.  His earliest performing experiences at the Peppermint Lounge in Orange, NJ  illuminated firsthand the inseparability of music and the larger milieu of its production.  Alex holds a BA in History and Music Performance from UNC-Chapel Hill and an MM in Jazz Performance from William Paterson University.

Triin Vallaste – post-Soviet Eurasia, poetics and politics of hip-hop in Europe, globalization, technology and media in postcolonial contexts, gender 
Triin is a PhD student in ethnomusicology. Before coming to Brown, she received a BA and MA in musicology from the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre in her native Estonia. Triin is a classically trained pianist and choral singer and has a number of Estonian scholarly publications and translations. Triin is interested in the interrelationship of popular music, identity, and politics, especially in European hip-hop scenes. 

Aleysia K. Whitmoremusic of the Africa and the African diaspora, transnational movement of music, music of the Caribbean, dance and embodiment
Aleysia is a PhD candidate in ethnomusicology. Her dissertation, entitled Performing Pleasure: Africa and its Diaspora on the World Music Stage, is an ethnographic study of two world music bands that creatively combine West African and Cuban musics, and the industry and audiences that surround them. A multi-sited ethnographic study of the contemporary world music industry across Europe, West Africa, the Caribbean, and North America, it provides a window into the transnational lives of musicians, industry personnel, and audiences, and the specific post-colonial era of globalization in which they are situated. For her masters degree, she looked at the transnational movements and practices of salsa and the ways in which various conceptions of race and gender come together on dance floors in which diverse groups of people participate. Aleysia completed her Bachelors of Music at the University of Toronto where she enjoyed playing the oboe in a Serbian Orchestra and learning how to dance.

David Wood – Appalachian Music, acculturation, American popular music, micromusics, music cognition, psychology of music, revivals
Dave is returning to the ethnomusicology doctoral program after teaching a music cognition course for the University of Virginia’s Semester at Sea Spring 2011 voyage.  He completed his M.A. in Appalachian Studies (emphasis on Appalachian music) from Appalachian State University and has a B.A. in music from the College of William & Mary. Dave had formal instruction on trombone and piano but also plays fiddle, guitar, bass, dulcimer, mandolin, and percussion. He also has experience with recording, live sound engineering, and computer music programming. A native of southeast Virginia, Dave first learned about Appalachian music while at William & Mary and wrote his master's thesis onthe shifting ambassadorship of old-time music in western North Carolina. His current research uses methods from cognitive ethnomusicology to help understand the American traditional music revival – specifically, whether or not emotional response to music differs between Appalachian natives and non-Appalachian revivalists and how this could reinforce the cultural division between these two groups.

Computer Music and Multimedia

Jordan Bartee - Audio / visual art, object oriented ontology, game (re)design, experimental electronics engineering, techno-archaeology.
Jordan is an experimental artist, philosopher, and engineer. His work explores the nature of objects large and small through the lens of video game culture. By constructing inter-dimensional junctions between various microgardens and their shadows, he hopes to draw strange and wonderful creatures out of hiding. Under the alias Special Stage, he designs and manufactures avant-garde electronics for modular synthesizer enthusiasts.He has received a B.M. from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, an M.F.A. from CalArts, and an A.M. from Brown University, where he is currently pursuing his Ph.D. On the rare occasions that he is not surrounded by blinking lights and disassembled machines, he enjoys long distance running, sci-fi movies, and stuffed animals.

Peter Bussigel Sound and LightPeter is a composer and intermedia artist who works with sound and light to explore the areas between art, science, performance and technology. He is interested in multiples, science fictions, iteration, waiting, noise, wormholes, accordions, mapping, processes and action. He has performed at concerts, festivals, galleries and dinner parties throughout North America and Japan.

Mark Cetilla Electroacoustic improvisation, audio / visual installation + performance
Mark Cetilia is a sound / media artist working at the nexus of analogue and digital technologies. Exploring the possibilities of generative systems in art, design, and sound creation, Cetilia's work is an exercise in carefully controlled chaos. Over the past decade, he has worked to develop idiomatic performance systems utilizing custom hardware and software, manifesting in a rich tapestry of sound and image. Mark is a member of the electroacoustic ensemble Mem1 and the experimental media art group Redux, recipients of a 2006 Creative Capital grant for their Callspace installation. He received his MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2008, and is currently pursuing his Ph.D in computer music and multimedia at Brown University. He has taught classes and workshops on sound, media art and programming at RISD, Brown University, TELIC Arts Exchange (Los Angeles, CA), and OpenToko (Amersfoort, NL). Cetilia's work has been screened / installed at the Institute of Contemporary Arts (London, UK), the Ben-Ari Museum of Contemporary Art (Bat Yam, IL), R.K. Projects (Providence, RI), the Atlantic Center for the Arts (New Smyrna Beach, FL), and SoundWalk (Long Beach, CA). He has performed widely at venues including Café OTO (London, UK), the Borealis Festival (Bergen, NO), STEIM (Amsterdam, NL), the REDCAT Theater at Disney Hall (Los Angeles), Roulette (NYC), Goethe-Institut (Boston), Menza Pri Koritu (Ljubljana, SI), Issue Project Room (Brooklyn, NY), Uganda (Jerusalem, IL), the San Francisco Electronic Music Festvial, Sound of Mu (Oslo, NO) and Electronic Church (Berlin, DE). His solo sound works have been published by Iynges, Anarchymoon and Quiet Design. For more information, please visit:

Akiko Hatakeyama — Multimedia / electroacoustic composition, audio-visual performance, Improvisation
Akiko is a composer, singer, and video artist who is a native of Yokohama, Japan. She is interested in crossing boundaries between traditionally written music, electronics, improvisation, computer based live interactivity, and visual components. Storytelling, memories, nature, and food often play an important role in Akiko's work, and she most often finds beauty in simplicity. Akiko obtained her B.A. in music from Mills College. She received her M.A. in Experimental Music/Composition at Wesleyan University. Since September 2011, Akiko has been engaged in PhD study in the MEME program at Brown University.

Brian HouseRhythmanalysis, data sonification, acoustic ecology, sensor systems, feedback
Brian is a media artist whose work traverses alternative geographies, experimental music, and a critical data practice. By constructing embodied, participatory systems, he seeks to negotiate between algorithms and the rhythms of everyday life. His work has been shown by MoMA (NYC), MOCA (LA), LACE, Ars Electronica, Eyebeam, Rhizome, Conflux Festival, ISEA, and Issue Project Room, among others, and has been featured in publications including WIRED, TIME, The New York Times, SPIN, Metropolis, and on Univision Sports. He holds a degree in computer science from Columbia University and one in art from Chalmers University (Sweden). In addition to his doctoral work at MEME, Brian is working toward a masters in Modern Culture and Media at Brown.

Bevin Kelley Electronic Music Composition, Multimedia Music-based ExperimentalTheater, Interactive Sound Installation
Bevin is an electronic music / multimedia composer and sound designer, violinist and veterinary nurse. Her work can be heard in radio plays, electronic toys, theater spaces, film and television scores, advertisements, clubs, concert halls, headphones, and art spaces. Working solo and in collaboration (with Kristin Grace Erickson as Blectum from Blechdom), she has released a dozen or so records since 1998, on labels such as Tigerbeat6, Orthlorng, Phthalo, and Aagoo. Her fifth solo album (as Blevin Blectum) will be released December 4th 2013, on the Aagoo label. She plans to complete her Ph.D in MEME / Computer Music and Multimedia from Brown University in May of 2014. (costume by joseph aaron segal, photo by nicole deponte)

Jinku Kim electronic music, audio-visual performance, interactive sound installation
Jinku is a composer, performer, and multimedia artist currently residing in New England Area. His work focuses on pushing the boundaries of interaction through sound installation and audio visual performances. His works have been performed and installed at various places including REDCAT of Walt Disney Concert Hall, CEMEC in Stanford University, UC San Diego, UC Santa Barbara and Mills College, STEIM in Amsterdam, Beyond Baroque in Venice CA, Machine project in Los

Stephan Moorecollaborative performance work, computer-aided improvisation, generative music, environmental sound art, sound designs for unusual circumstances.
Stephan Moore is a composer, performer, sound artist, sound designer and curator, specializing in multi-channel audio and Max/MSP programming. Evidence, his long-standing project with sound artist Scott Smallwood, has performed widely and released several recordings over the past decade. He is the president of Isobel Audio, a maker and distributor of hemispherical loudspeakers. He also serves as the vice-president of the American Society of Acoustic Ecology, and on the Art Advisory Board for Issue Project Room in Brooklyn. From late 2004 to mid-2010, he performed over 250 concerts with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, serving as their sound engineer and music coordinator, and as a touring musician. A major exhibition of sound art, for which he is the curator, will open in June 2014 at the Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts in Katonah, NY.

Caroline Park –sound, light, chance, spacetime, design
Caroline Park is a composer, musician, and artist working primarily within minimal means. She has shared the stage with Mem1, Steve Roden, a canary torsi, Evidence, Dollshot, and Arnold Dreyblatt, and has performed at the Stone (NYC), AS220 (Providence), and in Jordan Hall (Boston). Solo releases can be found on cassette, CD, and in digital formats via labels Private Chronology, Bathetic Records, VisceralMediaRecords, Pure Potentiality Records and Absence of Wax. Her 2011 cassette 'Adrift' was recommended by Steve Smith for anyone "interested in long-form, slow-drifting electronic buzz, crackle and drift." Caroline is 1/4 of the electro-improv quartet BUMPR (with Peter Bussigel, Stephan Moore, and Tim Rovinelli) and sometimes plays under the solo moniker CHYP. She holds B.M. and M.M. degrees in composition from the New England Conservatory, and she lives and works in Providence. More information can be found at

Asha Tamirisasound, video, movement
Asha is an interdisciplinary artist that considers the expressive possibilities of computing through sound, video, and movement. Most recently her work was show at The Tank in NYC, The Santa Fe Complex, and on various buildings in downtown Akron. She has a B.A. from Oberlin College, where she studied TIMARA (Technology in Music and Related Arts).

Seth Thorn
Seth studied viola performance with Roland Vamos at Northwestern University; other teachers and mentors have included Stephan Clapp of the Juilliard School; Charles Pickler, principal violist of the Chicago Symphony; Evan Wilson, former principal violist of the Los Angeles Philharmonic; and the late Dr. William Magers. He has performed throughout the United States, Switzerland, Austria, Germany - including Leipzig's prestigious Gewandhaus - and South Korea. He holds a B.A. in philosophy and critical theory from Northwestern University and studied philosophy as a Fulbright scholar at theGoethe-University in Frankfurt, Germany, where he obtained an M.A. in political theory in 2011. He is a participant in Brown's novel "Open Graduate Curriculum," which allows him to simultaneously pursue a PhD in computer music alongside a Master's degree in German Studies. Seth's work has been performed at the International Computer Music Conference (ICMC). He was also recently invited to the New Interfaces for Musical Expression (NIME) conference. Seth's academic interests are in the history of aesthetic theory, German idealism, Adorno, Heidegger, post-structuralism and French theory, performance practice and interactive technologies. As a teaching assistant, Seth has taught German language courses in Brown's Department of German Studies.

Kristina Wolfe
Kristina is a first-year graduate student at Meme. Her work has been performed at many festivals, conferences, and concerts, including the Third Practice Electro-Acoustic Festival, International Alliance for Women and Music conference, International Computer Music Conferences, and others. In 2007, she worked as the Greg Altman Media Intern for Pauline Oliveros at the Deep Listening Institute. She received her B.A. in Music Technology from Florida International University and her Masters of Arts in Digital Musics at Dartmouth College.