Jesse Guessford Named Fenwick Fellow for 2011-12

Posted: October 4, 2011 at 1:03 am, Last Updated: October 3, 2011 at 7:05 pm

The following information was provided by University Libraries.

Jesse Guessford, assistant professor in the School of Music in the College of Visual and Performing Arts, is the Fenwick Fellow for the 2011-12 academic year, University Librarian John Zenelis announced.

Guessford’s research project, “John Cage and Henry Cowell’s ‘New Musical Resource,’” sets out to find the source of the compositional procedures and techniques used by John Cage between the years 1933 and 1951.

Guessford proposes that a major source of these ideas had roots in “New Musical Resources,” a book by Henry Cowell published in 1930. In it, Cowell describes many new techniques and procedures that at that time had been recently used or could be used by composers in their compositions.

Guessford plans to begin his research by organizing Cowell’s compositional ideas into distinct categories. He will then delve into Cage’s works with the idea of seeking out those elements described in “New Musical Resources.” Guessford will reconstruct the techniques Cage used and look for common compositional threads within them, and subsequently determine how they correlate with those ideas presented in Cowell’s work.

Guessford expects that through this research, he will find a common relationship between the techniques used by Cage and those detailed by Cowell. He plans to eventually complete two publications: an extensive journal article highlighting the links between Cage’s works and Cowell’s publication, and a book extensively analyzing Cage’s works between 1933 and 1951.
The Fenwick Fellowship is awarded annually to a Mason tenured or tenure-track faculty member to pursue a research project that uses and enhances the University Libraries’ resources while advancing knowledge in his or her field.

The 2011-12 Fenwick Fellow winner was recommended by a six-member selection committee composed of three instructional faculty members and three librarians. The fellowship provides the recipient with a research office in Fenwick Library and a $5,000 award to support the research project. In the spring of the following academic year, the libraries sponsor a public lecture in which the fellow presents the results of his or her work.

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