B.Mus(Hons), Royal College of Music; M.Mus., King’s College, University of London; Ph.D., University of Chicago
Gurminder Kaur BhogalCatherine Mills Davis Professor of Music
Scholarly interests focus on the music of French composers including Maurice Ravel, Claude Debussy, Erik Satie, Gabriel Fauré, Maurice Delage; the practice of ornament in French music and the visual arts during the early twentieth century; music and aesthetics (particularly ideas concerning ephemerality, nothingness, and atmosphere); music and orientalism/exoticism/japonisme; Sikh devotional music (Sikh Kirtan).
My research examines early twentieth-century French music and culture with a focus on relationships between music and the visual arts. My most recent book explores these connections in Claude Debussy’s Clair de Lune (New York: Oxford University Press, 2018). Other publications have examined the practice and aesthetics of ornament in music composition and visual art of early twentieth-century Paris. These include my monograph: Details of Consequence: Ornament, Music, and Art in Paris (AMS Studies in Music) (New York: Oxford University Press, 2013); “Visual Metaphors in Music Analysis and Criticism,” in The Routledge Companion to Music and Visual Culture, ed. Tim Shephard and Anne Leonard (Abingdon: Routledge, 2013); “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); “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); “Breaking the Frame: Arabesque and Metric Complexity in Ravel’s Sunrise Scene,” Zeitschrift der Gesellschaft für Musiktheorie 5/1, 2008; and “Debussy’s Arabesque in Ravel’s Daphnis et Chloé (1912),” twentieth-century music 3/2, 2007.
My article on Sikh kirtan is “Listening to Female Voices in Sikh Kirtan,” Sikh Formations Religion, Culture, Theory 13/1-2 (2017): 48-77.
I am currently working on projects that examine Ravel’s Boléro; Debussy’s piano music; French modernism, grotesquerie and the oriental subject in The Rite of Spring; ephemeral timbres and arabesque melody; the idea of unheard sound in Sikh scripture. In March 2019, I began my three-year term as Review Editor of the Journal of the American Musicological Society.
I teach a variety of courses in music history, theory, and analysis. These include core courses for the music major and minor: The Symphony in the World; Looking backwards, reaching forwards: Modernism and Music (MUS 201-202); Opera: Its History, Music, and Drama (MUS230). My electives focus on a range of topics: The Femme and Her Song; Being Modern in Paris; Virtuosity, Suspicion, Transcendence; Finding France in French Piano Music; Nothingness in Music, Poetry, and Art; Music and Sound in Video Games.