By Christina Masciere Wallace
LEWISBURG, Pa. — Provost Mick Smyer of Bucknell University has announced the faculty selected as the first Williams Professors in Music, endowed positions that recognize distinguished teacher-scholars at the University for their academic and teaching excellence and provide the recipients with resources to pursue their scholarly interests in music.
The Williams Professorships in Music are part of a $4 million gift from the late Ellen Peterson Williams, who graduated from Bucknell in 1919 with a degree in music and spent her life teaching music in Pennsylvania schools. Her bequest endowed two professorships and a related research fund, plus two merit scholarships, which will benefit the University in perpetuity.
"The generous support of the Williams Professorships allows us to recognize two outstanding faculty members and to recognize the lasting importance of the music department in the intellectual and aesthetic lives of our students, faculty and staff," said Smyer.
Professor William Duckworth has been named to the Ellen Williams Professorship from Sept. 1, 2009, to Aug. 31, 2014. Duckworth, who has taught at Bucknell since 1973, has won numerous teaching awards as well as four NEA and NEH fellowships, among other international honors that recognize his excellence as a composer, performer, author and professor. The founder of Postminimalism, he collaborated in 1997 with media artist and programmer Nora Farrell to create "Cathedral," the first interactive work of music and art on the web. Duckworth's most recent project was a public iPod opera based on the Orpheus myth.
Duckworth plans to use the Williams funding for travel in support of his current creative work, Sonic Babylon, an international art project planting invisible gardens of sound that will be heard on mobile devices when visitors pass through. The stipend will help fund hardware, software and travel as the project moves from Australia, where Duckworth is currently on sabbatical, to America and Europe. It will also support Duckworth's emerging work with the Princeton Laptop Orchestra.
Professor Barry Long has been named to the Samuel Williams Professorship from Sept. 1, 2009, to Aug. 31, 2012. Long, an assistant professor, was the first to receive a doctoral degree in Jazz Studies from the Eastman School of Music in May of 2007. As a trumpeter and flugelhornist, he has studied and performed with such artists as Kenny Wheeler, Bob Brookmeyer, John Clayton, Eliane Elias, Benny Carter and Jim McNeely. In addition, he received the 2007 Dave Brubeck Collections Research Grant and is the jazz author for an upcoming music appreciation text for Prentice Hall. Long's research interests include include articles for the Jazz Educators Journal, lesson plans for VH1, and presentations at numerous national conferences.
Long plans to use a portion of the Samuel Williams Professorship funding to support travel related to his research on jazz and issues of social justice as well as the differences in musical and cultural reception of jazz during its migration to Europe during the first and second world wars. In addition, his funding will sponsor a campus series of colloquia that examines the intersection of jazz, popular music, race and culture. This effort will bring leading artists and scholars to campus, and invite Bucknell faculty from other disciplines, to present and discuss their work with students and the campus community.
"The music department has been very fortunate to receive many wonderful gifts over the years, including funding for the Sigfried Weis Music Building and Rooke Recital Hall," said Lois Svard, department chair. "Bucknell has an outstanding music program, and the Williams gift is another marvelous example of the generosity of people who care about music at Bucknell."
Contact: Division of Communications