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Musicology goes "Hip" at IU

Newest recruit comfortably merges cultural studies with traditional musicology

The Indiana University Jacobs School of Music Musicology Department's newest recruit, Assistant Professor Phil Ford, (Ph.D. University of Minnesota, 2003) brings hipness into the fold, comfortably merging cultural studies with traditional musicology. Hipness, he suggests in his Ph.D. dissertation, "American Popular Music in the Cold War: The Hip Aesthetic and the Countercultural Idea," can be understood as an aesthetic and can be heard in all kinds of American postwar music, particularly of the 'counterculture.'

"We are very excited that Phil Ford is joining the department," says Musicology Department Chair Massimo Ossi. "He will bring to the Jacobs School a wide range of interests in American music of the second half of the twentieth century, including jazz, musical theater, and radical and countercultural intellectual movements. He is a lively lecturer, an excellent writer, and a stimulating intellectual; our students, both in musicology and in the Jacobs School in general, will undoubtedly benefit from his presence. Moreover, as an alumnus he will easily fit into the school's culture."

"Phil Ford's breadth, scholarship, and pedagogical abilities make him an exciting addition to the musicology faculty," says Jacobs School Dean Gwyn Richards. "At such an early point in his career, he has been described as a superb scholar, meticulous researcher, and a gifted synthetic thinker. Those in the field fully anticipate his work on mid-twentieth century jazz, hip culture, and aesthetics to be defining contributions. We are eager to have this unfold at Indiana."

Ford first experienced Bloomington as an undergraduate and graduate student and was attracted to the total immersion in music that the school has to offer. Traveling widely since then, he has taught at Stanford University and the University of Texas at Austin. Ford was also a fellow at the Stanford Humanities Fellows Program from 2003 to 2005.

His piano performing interests have taken him to the École St.-Trinité in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. He also co-founded the Minneapolis Festival Dancing in Your Head and was music programs curator at Frank Gehry's Weisman Art Museum.

"I'm excited to be given an opportunity to teach and research at IU," says Ford "and look forward to be immersed in that world again. There is so much music in Bloomington, on such a high level. The opportunity to work as a musicologist in one of the world's richest musical environments, with one of the finest music libraries is a rare and great honor. My colleagues in the department are awesome, too. And I mean that literally; they inspire awe."

Phil Ford begins his new era as musicologist, educator, and cutting-edge intellectual in Bloomington in the upcoming Fall Semester. To learn more about him, take a look at his blog, "Dial 'M' for Musicology," at

The Musicology Department at the IU Jacobs School of Music is one of the most highly respected departments in the United States. Faculty members are at the forefront of research in areas that range from the music of ancient Greece to American jazz, from Monteverdi to Bach, Chopin, Debussy, and Ives. Representing a wide spectrum of methodologies-from critical theories to political and cultural context, analytical approaches, archival and codicological research, and the history of ideas-all members publish actively and maintain a high profile in their disciplines and in the profession in general by participating in the governance of various societies and by sitting on program committees, journal boards, and other advisory bodies.

For more information about the IU Jacobs School of Music Musicology Department, go to: