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The Body Questions: Celebrating Flamenco’s Tangled Roots

K. Meira Goldberg and Antoni Pizà have recently published a collection of essays, The Body Questions: Celebrating Flamenco’s Tangled Roots.  The volume’s editors focus on how dance, like smoke, like breath, materializes for an evanescent, fluid instant, then moves on. The work presented in this volume raises an important methodological question, which is how what the dancing body knows—and questions—fits and can be integrated into a broader academic (and non-academic) discourse. Before film at least, dance was always transmitted “orally” and is only recorded in the most rudimentary fashion, even in the elite contexts in which it is recorded at all. And yet a dancer’s knowledge archives a capacious repository of non-White and non-elite practices and histories. Shifting our focus toward bodies and bodies of knowledge that have heretofore been invisible, we trace a root system that nourishes the European canon, but whose unique nature and constituent elements are often blanketed by the politics of Whiteness. These questions are urgently pressing right now, not only in light of our present reckoning with the harsh realities of racial violence, but also in light of the de-historicizing, unmooring, and disembodying effects of living ever more intensely in the global mediasphere. This volume, in sum, is a polyphonic compilation of voices about the dynamics of dancing, performance, and the embodiment of performative actions. As Frantz Fanon concludes Black Skin, White Masks: “Oh my body, make of me always a man who questions!”

This collection of essays poses a series of questions revolving around nonsense, cacophony, queerness, race, and the dancing body. How can flamenco, as a diasporic complex of performance and communities of practice frictionally and critically bound to the complexities of Spanish history, illuminate theories of race and identity in performance? How can we posit, and argue for, genealogical relationships within and between genres across the vast expanses of the African—and Roma—diaspora? Neither are the essays presented here limited to flamenco, nor, consequently, are the responses to these questions reduced to this topic. What all the contributions here do share is the wish to come together, across disciplines and subject areas, within the academy and without, in the whirling, raucous, and messy spaces where the body is free—to celebrate its questioning, as well as the depths of the wisdom and knowledge it holds and sometimes reveals.

About the Editors
K. Meira Goldberg is a flamenco performer, choreographer, teacher, and scholar. She teaches at Fashion Institute of Technology, and is Scholar-in-Residence at the Foundation for Iberian Music at the CUNY Graduate Center. She has instigated and collaborated on multiple books, exhibits, and international conferences. Her book Sonidos Negros: On the Blackness of Flamenco (2019) won the Barnard Hewitt Award for outstanding research in theatre history from the American Society for Theatre Research.

Antoni Pizà has taught Music History at Hofstra University, the City College, John Jay College of the City University of New York, and the Conservatory of Music and Dance in Palma de Mallorca, Spain. He is currently the Director of the Foundation for Iberian Music at the Barry S. Brook Center for Music Research and Documentation of the Graduate Center, USA. He has authored and co-edited numerous books in English, Spanish and Catalan.


Click the following link for The Body Questions‘ Table of Contents

The Body Questions promo TOC 978-1-5275-7692-6-contents-contributors

The Global Reach of the Fandango in Music, Song and Dance: Spaniards, Indians, Africans and Gypsies

The Global Reach of the Fandango in Music, Song and Dance: Spaniards, Indians, Africans and Gypsies (Newcastle upon Tyne, UK : Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2017), edited by K. Meira Goldberg & Antoni Pizà, is the product of the 2015 symposium Spaniards, Indians, Africans and Gypsies: The Global Reach of the Fandango in Music, Song, and Dance.

The fandango, emerging in the early-eighteenth century Black Atlantic as a dance and music craze across Spain and the Americas, came to comprise genres as diverse as Mexican son jarocho, the salon and concert fandangos of Mozart and Scarlatti, and the Andalusian fandangos central to flamenco. From the celebrations of humble folk to the theaters of the European elite, with boisterous castanets, strumming strings, flirtatious sensuality, and dexterous footwork, the fandango became a conduit for the syncretism of music, dance, and people of diverse Spanish, Afro-Latin, Gitano, and even Amerindian origins. Once a symbol of Spanish Empire, it came to signify freedom of movement and of expression, given powerful new voice in the twenty-first century by Mexican immigrant communities. What is the full array of the fandango? The superb essays gathered in this collection lay the foundational stone for further exploration.

Meira Goldberg “La Meira” is a flamenco dancer, teacher, choreographer, and historian. She is co-curator of the 2013 exhibit 100 Years of Flamenco in New York at the New York Library for the Performing Arts, co-editor of the anthology Flamenco on the Global Stage: Historical, Critical, and Theoretical Perspectives (2015), and author of the forthcoming Sonidos Negros: On the Blackness of Flamenco.

Antoni Pizà is a musicologist and writer. He is the director of the Foundation for Iberian Music at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York and a member of its Doctoral Faculty.

Announcing The International Foundation for the Theory and Analysis of World Musics

It is with tremendous enthusiasm that we announce the establishment of The International Foundation for the Theory and Analysis of World Musics (IFTAWM). The new Foundation represents the most recent addition to The Barry S. Brook Center for Music Research and Documentation, housed at the City University of New York Graduate Center along with RILM and other prominent research centers and organizations. The mission of our new Foundation is to foster a global network of specialized research organizations devoted to specific musical cultures, genres, and/or theoretical-analytical approaches. The Foundation also aims to facilitate the formation, expansion, and development of specialized research units which would otherwise be unable to sustain an independent, autonomous existence on their own. This community of like-minded interest groups will serve both as a hub for collaborative events such as conferences and symposia, and as a resource for member units in developing their own research initiatives. 

The core of the Foundation consists of the journal Analytical Approaches to World Music, the conference series of the same name, and the Routledge book series New Directions in World Music Analysis. One important benefit of the Foundation will be to assure the long-term continuation of the AAWM journal and conference series through its affiliation with CUNY and The Brook Center. In addition to these core elements, the Foundation currently has numerous research units in various stages of formation some of which are already operational and included on the IFTAWM website. Examples include AAWM Music and Nature the forthcoming new journals Analytical Approaches to African Music; and Analytical Approaches to the Music of South Asia as well as the currently restructured AAWM China

We invite and encourage existing scholarly organizations to join us. For information regarding the application and approval process for establishing new research units within the Foundation kindly contact Lawrence Shuster at Advantages of membership include nonprofit status, opportunities for joint activities, and an international network of potential resources to advance the research goals of member units. In contrast to a traditional academic society with hierarchical leadership, the Foundation will utilize a shared governance structure in which each member unit is represented by its own delegate. Our objective is to form a global alliance dedicated to the promotion and dissemination of world music theoretical and analytical research. We welcome your participation!

Lawrence Beaumont Shuster, PhD Music Theory
Director, The International Foundation for the Theory and Analysis of World Musics (
Editor, Analytical Approaches to World Music (
Series Co-Editor, New Directions in World Music Analysis (Routledge)
Co-Organizer, AAWM 2022 / Sheffield (
Lecturer in Music Theory, Cornell University

Queering Chopin: Research at the Brook Center’s Foundation for Iberian Music

Antoni Pizà has recently edited a compilation on Chopin’s sexuality for ITAMAR of the Universitat de València (see pp. 421ff).

The dossier presents four essays.  Pizà argues in “Love is a Pink Cake or Queering Chopin’s in Times of Homophobia” that Chopin’s heterosexuality has gone unquestioned for too long with terrible consequences.  Moritz Weber analyzes in “Chopins Männer” the misleading translations of the composer’s letters, especially as they refer to his love life.  Joan Estrany examines the composer’s intimate life as depicted in film in “Chopin y los Sand, amor a cuatro bandas.  Aproximación a la esfera privada de Fryderyk Chopin a partir de la película Pragnienie Miłośc”.  Finally, Javier Albo’s “¿Es gay la música de Chopin?  Aspectos de la recepción de la música de Chopin en el siglo XIX” examines the role of women and the “feminine” in the contruction and dissemination of Chopin’s music.

The articles highlight the right to know whether Chopin was gay and contextualize this inquiry in a very long and pervasive historiographical tradition, essentially two hundred years long, dedicated to examining Chopin sexual orientation, on the one hand, and on the other the more recent tradition of queering western classical music composers. The main point is not to demonstrate categorically that Chopin was “gay” (a relative, modern identity marker in any case) but rather to highlight the perversive discourses that have presented him as unequivocally heterosexual.

After Antoni Pizà published an essay of Chopin’s sexuality in 2010, the controversy really took off in the winter of 2020 when Moritz Weber presented a two-part radio documentary on the mistranslation of the composer’s letters.

This radio documentary was picked up by many important media outlets including CNN, El mundo, The Guardian, Le Figaro, etc., causing a small succès de scandale. See these links.

Understanding Ukraine Through Its Music

The bandura is a traditional Ukrainian folk instrument.

To understand a country you need to understand its culture and of course its music.  Our colleague Jane Sugarman, Professor of Ethnomusicology and Director of the Ethnomusicology Program at the CUNY Graduate Center, has compiled some links to that effect.  The last (extramusical) link includes a list of charities to help the Ukranian people.  You will also find an annotated bibliography on Ukranian music at the very end of this post.

Maria Sonevytsky, “Understanding the War on Ukraine through Its Musical Culture”

Talk that Maria gave on 2 March 2022 hosted by Michigan State University.

A live performance from 2017 of the group Dakha Brakha–the GC hosted them for a concert several years back.

An article on Dakha Brakha in yesterday’s New York Times.

New York’s own Ukranian Village Voices, featuring two of our CUNY Graduate Center ethnomusicology students:  Brian Dolphin (vocal trio and conductor) and Natalie Oshukany (vocal soloist).

A short video on the “Polyphony Project,” founded by young people to document rural music.

Polyphony Project website.

Ruslana – “Kolomiyka”

A list of charities offering aid in Ukraine and surrounding areas. 

Sounding a history of Ukrainian sovereignty: An annotated bibliography

Image: “bandura players” by polandeze is marked with CC BY-NC 2.0. To view the terms, visit

“La veuve andalouse”: New Research from the Brook Center’s Foundation for Iberian Music

Antoni Pizà and Maria Luisa Martínez have prepared a facsimile edition of “La Veuve andalouse” by Gioachino Rossini (Kassel:  Reichenberger, 2022).  Last fall, on 21 November 2022, the Fundación Juan March of Madrid presented this song in this new edition in their prestigious concert series “Rossini en España.”

Pizà and Martínez were also interviewed on Spanish National Radio and Television, click here to hear and see the interview.

Also on 11 November 2022 Pizà and Martínez lectured on their edition at the Real Conservatorio de Música de Madrid.  See here photos of the event.

Research at the Foundation for Iberian Music

Work première (2018)

Publication (2022)

  • Queering Chopin, special issue of Itamar: Revista de investigación musical

    Volume (2021)

Claire Brook Award for 2021 bestowed on two publications

The Barry S. Brook Center for Music Research and Documentation at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York is delighted to bestow the Claire Brook Award on two outstanding publications from 2020:

Werner Telesko, Susana Zapke, Stefan Schmidl, Beethoven visuell: Der Komponist im Spiegel bildlicher Vorstellungswelten [Beethoven, visually: The composer in the mirror of visual worlds of imagination] (Wien: Hollitzer, 2020), 252 p. ISBN 978-3-99012-791-9

Publishing another book on the occasion of the 250th anniversary of the birth of Ludwig van Beethoven requires courage. Werner Telesko, Susana Zapke, and Stefan Schmidl found this courage and produced a remarkable book focusing on the reception of Beethoven in visual culture.

The three thematic complexes concern Beethoven in nature on the one hand, in his concrete material environment on the other hand, and finally in connection with immaterial values ​​and sacred ideas. Within the framework of these three categories, the authors examined many media that have contributed to the formation of a visual and textual “exaggeration” so characteristic of the Beethoven phenomenon. Even if the image documents are the focus of the publication, it should always be clear that these are to be viewed in close historical and contextual relation to the literary and philosophical discourses on Beethoven. 

In his essay, Werner Telesko deals with the broad topic of Beethoven’s connections with the natural environment and, above all, takes up the question according to the different picture types from an art-historical perspective, whereby it becomes clear that the philosophical and literary debates of the respective time influence the picture production and are thus able to explain the metaphors of nature as Beethoven’s central interpretive category. Susana Zapke focuses on locating Beethoven in the interior as a creative space of the genius that can be read allegorically in a variety of ways, which in turn functions as a complement to the outside space and to nature in the sense of the culture-nature discourse of the Enlightenment. The interior becomes a field of interpretation for the psychological physiognomy of the artist and his work, revealing bourgeois-influenced thinking and pictorial traditions of the respective cultural-historical epoch. Finally, Stefan Schmidl deals with the localization of the composer in the immaterial space and points to some little-known projections of Beethoven in the spheres of the unreal, sacred and timeless, whereby virtuality as a means of representing visualizations always pushes the boundaries of hallucination, the dream and the visionary touched again. 

Michael Burden & Jennifer Thorp, eds., With a grace not to be captured: Representing the Georgian theatrical dancer, 1760-1830. Music and Visual Cultures 3 (Turnhout: Brepols, 2020), 198 p. ​ISBN 978-2-503-58346-3.​

Dancers performing on the London stage between 1760 and 1830 relied on visual impact for their success, whether in serious, heroic, or semi-character roles for the larger theaters, or in circus acts for the illegitimate venues. Some of those dancers also saw portraiture as a chance to promote their respectability–or disguise their lack of it–and to recast their image in new and interesting ways. Dancers were widely travelled and had often worked in Europe before coming to London, in an international dimension reflected by both English and European artists–the likes of Gainsborough, Hogarth, Perronneau. Pesne, and Reynolds—who painted their portraits in oils and pastels. Further down the social scale, some of the dancers who performed daring circus acts and agile acrobatics saw their fame burgeon in the likenesses put out by such engravers and print-sellers as Bartolozzi and Sayers. Even those portraits which are no longer extant would have been important to the original sitter, and those portraits which have survived were clearly cherished. The chapters in the volume explore what it meant to the dancer concerned to have a portrait, either grand or modest, how it was exploited as self-advertisement either by the dancer or as a commercial initiative by the artist and the print trade, and how it helped to produce many more images of dancers than might be expected.

The volume includes the following contributions:

Shearer West, Portraiture and the Import of Dancers in Eighteenth-Century London
​James Harriman-Smith, Garrick’s Muse? Eva Maria Veigel and her Husband
Jennifer Thorp, Portraits of Jean-Georges Noverre
Judith Milhous, Dancers Acting in 1781: The Vestris, père et fils, Adelaide Simonet, and Giovanna Baccelli
Joanna Jarvis, Natural Beauty or ‘Paint-Painted’? Giovanna Baccelli by Thomas Gainsborough
Samantha Owens, ‘Grace, Beauty, and Surprising Agility’: Representations of Barbarina Campanini, 1742–48
Keith Cavers, Portraying Heroic Masculinity: James Harvey D’Egville on Stage
Joe Lockwood, Philip Astley and the Amphitheatre
Michael Burden, Tumbling Images: Carlo Antonio Delpini at Work

Read about The Claire Brook Award and Claire Brook 

Read about the award committee.


Responses in Music to Climate Change


International conference to be held via Zoom, 4-8 October 2021

Registration now open

Conference schedule

Full program

Selected bibliography, discography, and webography about music and climate change

The deleterious effects of anthropogenic climate change continue to shape music making in a post-industrial, global society. Indigenous communities—those typically least responsible for the carbon emissions that have contributed to global warming—face the elimination or depletion of natural resources necessary for their musical practices and traditions. Composers of art music, many compelled to bear witness to our current times and bring awareness to threatened ecosystems, draw sound material from endangered environmental sources. Popular music, too, continues to respond through concerts, songs that thematize the environment, and celebrity endorsements for protection measures. Across all forms of music making, discourses of preservation, sustainability, visibility, and action are pervasive.

This conference collects and shares research on music’s place within the Anthropocene from a wide range of perspectives. Originally scheduled for April 2020, the current reimagining of this event is itself an environmental response and testament to human perseverance in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. The arrival of COVID-19 presents an important context within which to confront climate change issues, and this context will be directly addressed here, in Responses in Music to Climate Change. 

We are excited to feature the following:

Photo by Steven Feld

A keynote address by ethnomusicologist Steven Feld

A pre-recorded presentation by composer John Luther Adams

Photo by Molly Sheridan
Photo by Gabriel Majou

A live interview with composer Christopher Tin


Adaptations: Confronting Climate Change Amid COVID-19

A roundtable discussion with scholars Aaron Allen (University of North Carolina at Greensboro), Mark Pedelty (University of Minnesota), Alexander Rehding (Harvard University), Jeff Todd Titon (Brown University), Denise von Glahn (Florida State University), and Holly Watkins (University of Rochester)