(781) 283-2063
B.Mus., Royal College; M.Mus., King’s College; Ph.D., University of Chicago

Gurminder Kaur Bhogal
Associate Professor of Music

Interests include ornament in music and the visual arts of the early twentieth century in France; music and aesthetics; intersections between art and technology in Sikh devotional music (Gurbani Kirtan).

My research explores the practice and aesthetics of ornament in musical compositions and visual art of early twentieth-century Paris. I have written a variety of essays on this topic. Some of my writings examine Maurice Ravel’s experimentation with different expressions of musical ornament: “Not Just a Pretty Surface: Ornament and Metric Complexity in Ravel’s Piano Music,” in Unmasking Ravel: New Perspectives on the Music, ed. Peter Kaminsky (Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press, 2011); and “Breaking the Frame: Arabesque and Metric Complexity in Ravel’s Sunrise Scene,” Zeitschrift der Gesellschaft für Musiktheorie 5/1, 2008. Another publication investigates the musical and cultural significance of a specific type of ornament that was popular at the fin de siècle, the arabesque: “Debussy’s Arabesque in Ravel’s Daphnis et Chloé (1912),” twentieth-century music 3/2, 2007. A more recent essay explores how the composer Léo Delibes relied on coloratura to challenge Orientalist stereotypes of exotic women in his opera, Lakmé. This essay highlights how musicologists still tend to adopt an Orientalist stance when it comes to hearing and understanding ornament: “Lakmé’s Echoing Jewels,” in The Arts of the Prima Donna in the Long Nineteenth Century, ed. Rachel Cowgill and Hilary Poriss (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012).

My book continues to develop many of these themes while investigating the significant ways in which ornament participated in and shaped discussions on modernism, race, gender, identity, beauty, and taste between the years of 1880 and 1925 in Paris: Details of Consequence: Ornament, Music, and Art in Paris (AMS Studies in Music) (New York: Oxford University Press, 2013).

I am currently working on two projects that continue to engage the visual arts. One investigates Claude Debussy’s relationship to Japonisme; another examines the importance of early Sikh art for present day revivals of Gurbani Kirtan in the Sikh diaspora.

I teach a variety of courses in music history, theory, and analysis. These include core courses for the music major and minor: A History of Western Music (MUS200-201-202); Opera: Its History, Music, and Drama (MUS230); and An Introduction to the Language of Music (MUS111x). In collaboration with my colleague in Ethnomusicology, Prof. Tamar Barzel, I have developed a course that explores points of intersection and difference between the fields of Musicology and Ethnomusicology: Music of the Sphere (MUS101). I have also taught more specialized, upper-level courses, which focus on specific topics. These include The Femme and Her Song, Being Modern in Paris, and Virtuosity, Suspicion, Transcendence.