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Carballo wins IU-wide Kinsley award for Ph.D. dissertation

A highly original work that broadens an understanding of composer Alberto Ginastera

Indiana University Jacobs School of Music graduate Erick Carballo has received the 2006-2007 Esther L. Kinsley Ph.D. Dissertation Award, the highest honor for a research document that Indiana University bestows upon a student each year. The award, a single prize considered across all academic fields, marks the first time that a student at the IU Jacobs School of Music has won the accolade. Considering such criteria as originality, documentation, significance, accuracy, organization, and style, it carries a stipend of $2,000.

The dissertation, De la pampa al cielo: The Development of Tonality in the Compositional Language of Alberto Ginastera, was directed by Professor David Neumeyer, who commented that "Carballo is the first scholar to bring sophisticated analytic methods to bear on Ginastera's music; in so doing, he goes beyond simple catalogues of style characteristics to construct a coherent and rich narrative of the development of the composer's musical language across his career.

"By sympathetically but critically addressing the work of some of the best known Latin American musicologists on issues of nationalism and the absorption of folk and popular musics into concert music," Neumeyer continues, "Carballo has advanced (and renewed) the methodological framework of musicology in Latin America."

Other members of Carballo's dissertation committee are equally enthused about his work. "Dr. Carballo's dissertation is a truly outstanding dissertation, highly polished in its presentation and genuinely significant in its findings and potential for subsequent application," commented Distinguished Professor Thomas J. Mathiesen.

Born in Costa Rica and receiving his bachelor's degree in music from the country's Universidad Nacional in Heredia, Carballo received a Fulbright grant in 1992 to study in music theory at the Jacobs School. Since then, he received his master's degree from IU in 1994, has worked closely with the Jacobs School's Latin American Music Center (LAMC), and has been involved in the research and performance of Costa Rican traditional music, particularly the repertory for cimarronas (street folk bands).

Professor of Music, Director of the LAMC, and member of the committee, Carmen Helena Téllez is happy to see the work attract such attention. "Erick's approach is partly formed by his close association with our center," Téllez comments, "and provides a refreshing perspective on the substantial contributions Latin American composers have made in the world of music. We're proud that his work reveals the true standing of Ginastera in the 20th century."

Professor of Music Marianne Kielian-Gilbert, the fourth member of the committee, is drawn to the way in which the research focuses on Ginastera's expressions of the Argentine malambo and idiomatic gestures of the música gauchesca (Argentinean social characters, loosely translated as "musical cowboys" of the plains). "Through the lens of harmony and linear counterpoint," she said, "Erick's dissertation is path finding, highly original, and will be a benchmark study of Ginastera's music for years to come."

With his substantial knowledge in the field of Latin American music, Carballo has also written articles on Venezuelan composers for The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians.

Presently, Carballo combines his pedagogical background and technological interests as instructional and technology consultant and developer for Indiana University's Teaching and Learning Technologies Center (TLTC).

The Esther L. Kinsley Award was established through a bequest to IU by Esther L. Kinsley, a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Indiana University. She taught civics, history, and economics at Shelbyville High School for 40 years. Each degree-granting program of the Indiana University Graduate School nominates one "truly outstanding" Ph.D. dissertation for consideration by the Awards and Financial Aid Committee of the Indiana University Graduate Council. One such dissertation is chosen for the award each year.