James Madison University School of Music


PEDRO APONTE, Associate Professor

B.M. Instituto Universitario de Estudios Musicales (Caracas, Venezuela); M.M. James Madison University; M.A. and Ph.D. in Historical Musicology at the University of Pittsburgh. His areas of research include Latin American art music, musical nationalism, music in society, and cultural studies. A recipient of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation Field Research Grant (2000) and the Tinker Foundation, Inc. Field Trip Grant (2003), Dr. Aponte has presented his research at various conferences including the American Musicological Society, the Society for Ethnomusicology, and the Latin American Studies Association. He has published in scholarly journals such as Intercultural Musicology and International Jazz Archives Journal.

Dr. Aponte is a former member of the Gran Mariscal de Ayacucho Symphony Orchestra in Caracas, Venezuela, where he played flute and piccolo for six years. In the U.S. he has played with the Roanoke and Altoona Symphony Orchestras. Dr. Aponte is also an active performer of historical flutes and early music.

Email: apontepr@jmu.edu
Office: 540.568.5367

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KATHERINE AXTELL, Part-Time Instructor

KATHERINE AXTELL holds Ph.D. and M.A. degrees in Musicology from the Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester and a B.A. in Music from Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington. Dr. Axtell specializes in American musical theater of the early twentieth century and has presented her research in numerous venues, including two national meetings of the Society for American Music. Her publications include one volume of Recent Researches in the Music of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries (A-R Editions, 2004) and a forthcoming item in the Journal of the Society for American Music. Dr. Axtell has designed and taught courses on musical theater, opera, women in music, and other topics at the Eastman School, Nazareth College, and, most recently, Indiana University.

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B.M., San Jose State University; M.M. & M.A., The University of Michigan; Ph.D, University of California, Los Angeles

Dr. Andrew Connell is an ethnomusicologist whose primary research is in Brazilian popular instrumental music, focusing on issues of identity and musical globalization. He has recent articles published in Music Cultures of Latin America: Global Effects, Past and Present (UCLA Selected Reports in Ethnomusicology) and Women and Music in America Since 1900 (Greenwood Press) and has given presentations at various national and international conferences including the Society for Ethnomusicology and the International Council of Traditional Music. His current scholarly activities include completing a book on Brazilian jazz.

As a performer, Dr. Connell plays saxophone and clarinet in ensembles ranging from jazz to classical chamber music to Brazilian chorinho. He studied jazz improvisation and arranging with Ray Brown, clarinet with Rosario Mazzeo, Janet Averett, and Fred Ormand, and saxophone with Don Sinta. He has played with the Santa Cruz, Monterey, and Toledo (Ohio) Symphonies, and has appeared at the Monterey, Montreux–Detroit, and San Francisco jazz festivals, and the Spoleto Festival USA. In addition, Dr. Connell has performed with a wide range artists including Luciano Pavarotti, Dave Leibman, Lou Rawls, Mike Marshall, and Hermeto Pascoal, and has recorded for the Musical Heritage Society, Intrada, Adventure Music, Earthbeat! Traveler, and Acoustic Levitation labels. At James Madison University, Dr. Connell teaches courses in American music, the history of jazz, world music, and coaches small jazz ensembles.

Email: connelam@jmu.edu
Office: 540.568.3850

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VICKI CURRY, Associate Professor

Vicki Curry is an Associate Professor of Music in General Studies and Music Theory at James Madison University. Dr. Curry holds a B.M. degree in music education from Butler University (Indianapolis), an M.A. degree in music theory and composition from the University of Denver, and Ph.D. in music composition from the University of Utah. Prior to coming to James Madison, she taught at Westminster College (Salt Lake City) and, most recently, the University of Utah.

During her years at the University of Utah, Vicki Curry taught the whole gamut of undergraduate music theory for majors in addition to miscellaneous music history and appreciation courses for nonmajors. Twice, she offered short study-abroad courses that traveled to European cities such as London, Paris, Rome and Vienna.

Dr. Curry’s awards in teaching include Delta Gamma, "Anchor" Award for Teaching, 1997 and the “Student Choice Award for Excellence in Teaching,” University of Utah, 1999.

Over the years, Dr. Curry has reviewed numerous textbook manuscripts for publishers, written extended syllabi for correspondence courses in music theory and music appreciation, and published two workbooks to accompany textbooks used in general education. In addition, she created all the listening charts and musical analyses for Music: The Art of Listening, 5th edition by Jean Ferris. In 2005 she published Introduction to Music Theory--an interactive, multimedia textbook/workbook on CD-ROM. Currently, Vicki Curry is creating online tutorials for Joseph Kerman’s text Listen.

Emailto: curryvl@jmu.edu
Office: 540.568.5119

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JONATHAN GIBSON, Associate Professor

Ph.D. & A.M., Duke University; B.M. University of Richmond
Dr. Jonathan Gibson specializes in music of the Baroque era, primarily the music of late seventeenth-century France.  His research interests include musical aesthetics, performance practice, and the relationships between music and rhetoric.  His most recent publications appear in the Journal of Musicology (“‘A Kind of Eloquence Even in Music’: Embracing Different Rhetorics in Late Seventeenth-Century France”) and in the book Fiori musicali: Liber amicorum Alexander Silbiger (“Hearing the Viola da Gamba in Komm, süsses Kreuz”).  Dr. Gibson is a frequent presenter at major national and international conferences. 

At James Madison University, Dr. Gibson teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in music history and performance practice.  In addition, he contributes to and reviews numerous music history and music appreciation textbooks, and serves on the editorial advisory board for the standard music history textbook A History of Western Music (Norton, 2010).  Dr. Gibson founded and directs the two early music ensembles based at JMU: the Peartree Consort, a mixed Renaissance instrumental consort, and the 40-member choral/instrumental Valley Collegium Musicum, which incorporates the JMU student early music ensemble Collegium Musicum.  He plays the viola da gamba, as well as Renaissance and Baroque recorders. 

Email: gibsonjb@jmu.edu
Office: 540.568.6324

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MICHAEL NORTON, Part-Time Associate Professor

Norton holds a M.A. and a Ph.D. in musicology from Ohio State University, and a Bachelors degree in Music Education and an M.S. in Computer Science from James Madison University. He has published extensively in his specialty, medieval period music. At JMU, Prof. Norton splits his time between teaching in the Computer Science department and the School of Music, where he teaches music appreciation.

Emailto: nortonml@jmu.edu
Office: 540.568.2777

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MARY JEAN SPEARE, Professor | Director of Graduate Studies
Associate Director School of Music

A native of New Mexico, Dr. Mary Jean Speare received a B. M. summa cum laude from Eastern New Mexico University in piano performance, an MM in piano performance from Southern Methodist University, and a Ph. D. in Musicology from Washington University in St. Louis with a dissertation on “The Transformation of Opéra Comique: 1850-1880.” Before coming to James Madison University, she held one-year positions at Baylor University and the University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music. She has given papers at international conferences in Prague, Belgium and Dublin, and at the national convention of the American Musicological Society. Her publications include articles on various aspects of nineteenth-century French opera.

Email: spearemj@jmu.edu
Office: 540.568.3687