Theory and Composition Instructor
Media Specialist

Ashkan Tabatabaie is an interdisciplinary composer, performer, scholar, and media entrepreneur. He has composed instrumental, electroacoustic, and creative multimedia pieces that have been commissioned and/or presented by the Ukraine National Symphony Orchestra, American Creator Ensemble, Persian New Music Ensemble, New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival, Oregon Bach Festival, Utah Philharmonia, Fry Street String Quartet, Nova Chamber Ensemble, Next Ensemble, Tribeca Ensemble, VU Symposium, and Salty Cricket, among others.

Ashkan’s scholarly research focuses on the intersection of music cognition, theory, and composition, as well as music technology. He actively collaborates with scientists and artists from various fields to discover and establish untapped pathways of writing and performing music evident in Ashkan’s compositions and scholarly writings. He has presented and published co-authored articles in conferences and journals such as the Future Direction of Music Cognition, Basic and Clinical Neuroscience, OpenWest, and MOXsonic, among others.

As an entrepreneur, Ashkan co-founded Digital Content Helix LLC (DCH) in 2020, an audiovisual production enterprise that incorporates new tools and technologies such as augmented reality projection combined with digital art, data mapping, and 3D video and audio recording to shape innovative ways of future story telling within the fine arts. DCH has produced various media content such as music videos, virtual concerts, promotional videos, interviews, and advertisements within the higher education sector. One of DCH’s recent production endeavors, Artivism for Earth, in which Ashkan also collaborated as a videographer, sound engineer, and producer, was featured in the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland, and received the 2022 Anthem Awards in the category of Sustainability and Climate Awareness.

Ashkan received a Bachelor of Science in materials engineering and a Masters of Art in composition from Azad University and Tehran University of Art in Iran, and holds a PhD in composition from the University of Utah. After finishing his doctoral degree, he completed a year-long postdoctoral research assistantship in the field of auditory perception and physiology at the Department of Communication Science and Disorders under the College of Health at the University of Utah. Ashkan joined the faculty and administration team of the James Madison University School of Music in 2021 and is currently Instructor of Music Theory and Composition, and Media Specialist.

Music Theory Professors and Instructors

John Peterson

John Peterson
Associate Professor
Composition/Theory Area Coordinator
peter2jr@jmu.edu
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Composition Professors and Instructors

Administration

John Allemeier

John Allemeier
Director of the School of Music
allemejm@jmu.edu
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Mary Jean Speare

Mary Jean Speare
Professor, Associate Director of the School of Music
spearemj@jmu.edu
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Jeanette Zyko
Director of Undergraduate Music Admissions, Associate Professor
music_admit@jmu.edu
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William Dabback
Director of Graduate Studies and Admissions, Professor of Music Education
dabbacwm@jmu.edu
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Sarah Macomber
School of Music Operations Coordinator
macombse@jmu.edu
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Kirk Weaver
Administrative Assistant, Bands
weaverkr@jmu.edu
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Ashkan Tabatabaie
Media Specialist,
Theory and Composition
Instructor  
fakhrtax@jmu.edu
Contact Information

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