(781) 283-2078
B.A., Barnard College; M.M., Manhattan School of Music; Ph.D., New York University

Jenny Olivia Johnson
Assistant Professor of Music

Composer of amplified opera, scholar of music, trauma, and synaesthesia.

I am currently engaged in a long-term scholarly project on music, synaesthesia, and traumatic memories of childhood sexual abuse. This is an ethnographic and philosophical project in which I profile a series of musically synaesthetic sexual abuse survivors and their intricately sensual relationships to certain kinds of "memory songs" or "memory sounds." Additionally, I am working on an evening-length video opera about therapeutic relationships and the vicissitudes of traumatic memory.

My teaching interests are broad, but all cohere around my equal passions for sound, sonic discourse(s), music pedagogy, and--most importantly--musical communities. In addition to teaching Music 111 (introduction to music theory) and Electronic/Computer Music, I have also coordinated an extracurricular seminar for student composers which culminated in a reading session of student works. I am looking forward to teaching a seminar on music and emotion, as well as a course on 16th- and 18th-century counterpoint, and a seminar on composing for chamber ensemble.

I am currently the co-chair of the Special Interest Group for Music and Violence in the Society for Ethnomusicology, along with my colleague Joshua Pilzer of the University of Toronto. I am also a rock drummer, most recently active with the celebrated Brooklyn-based indie rock band RENMINBI, with whom I recorded an EP (with producer Don Fleming) at Sonic Youth's Think Tank Studios in May 2009.

My family resides in Hawaii, so one of my many leisure passions is spending time on the beach! I'm also an amateur video artist and a lover of billiards, B-movies, vintage video gaming, dusty paperbacks, and cats.

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