School of Music

Musicology and Ethnomusicology

Current Students

Heather Bergseth
PhD Program, Ethnomusicology | Afro-Brazilian Music; Pedagogy; Embodiment, Dance, and Movement; Applied

Heather is an ethnomusicologist and percussionist who is currently pursuing her Ph.D. at the University of Florida. Her dissertation examines virtual learning of capoeira music and community during the pandemic.

Her dissertation examines virtual learning of capoeira music and community during the pandemic. She completed her Master of Music degree from Bowling Green State University in Ohio, with a thesis comparing music schools in Ghana and Tanzania. Her bachelor's degree (from BGSU) was in Music Education and World Music. Heather’s research interests include pedagogy, embodiment and dance, and the African diaspora. She is also interested in applied ethnomusicology, and her latest work was a grant that enabled her to bring world-renowned Ghanaian musician Bernard Woma and his Saakumu dance troupe to UF for a week-long residency (2018), with the shared support and direction of her advisor. She has studied the music of Brazil, Ghana, and Cuba. She has also been a performer and teacher of North American taiko music. She is a practitioner of capoeira and has been active in the local Latin dance scene (salsa and bachata). She is an avid cat lover, and she still holds out hope her cat Mama Delores will become famous on social media (IG: heathercoruja, mamadthequeentorbie).

Cody Case
PhD Program, Ethnomusicology | Blocos Afro in Salvador, Brazil | Samba-Afro and Samba-Reggae | Black Resistance, Diaspora, and Intersectional Studies in Brazil | Audio-Visual Fieldwork Methods | Applied Ethnomusicology

Cody Case is a PhD Candidate in Ethnomusicology specializing in blocos afro community percussion ensembles, Black resistance, and the musical movements of samba-afro and samba-reggae music in Salvador, Brazil. Funded by a Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Award, Cody conducted fieldwork for 12 months in Salvador from May 2022 until May 2023 to document the return of events among four blocos afro post-pandemic. During this fieldwork, Cody recorded nearly five terabytes of live performances in high-quality HD/Stereo formats, collected archival materials and dozens of interviews with musicians, members, and leaders, and engaged in multiple collaborative audio-visual and international grant projects. Cody plans to defend his dissertation in Spring 2024.

At UF, Cody completed coursework in Ethnomusicology, Latin American Studies, and Arts in Public Health, and the Portuguese language while teaching an Introduction to World Music for multiple semesters. Prior to UF, he worked for six years in higher administration as the University of Kansas, played guitar in multiple bands, taught secondary language and music classes, and earned his MA and BA degrees in Ethnomusicology from the University of Washington. His former research interests and fieldwork experience include researching African popular music in Ghana and Tunisia before dedicating his academic work to Afro-Bahian popular music.

Aaron Colverson
PhD Program, Ethnomusicology | Music; Biology; Culture

I am a third-year PhD student at the University of Florida studying Ethnomusicology, with partnering research in neuroscience.

I received my BA in Professional Music from Berklee College of Music and MM in Ethnomusicology from the University of Florida. My research passions lie at the crossroads of music, biology, and culture, and I endeavor to develop understanding of music as means to facilitate communication within and between these disciplinary borders. My dissertation seeks to determine differences in learning and performance of simple and complex rhythms in younger and older adults, as means to social well-being in the aging population of the United States. I am also an active performer in Gainesville, FL, playing violin and singing in multiple ensemble settings.

Abigail Carissa Lindo
PhD Program, Ethnomusicology | Portuguese Music; Gender Studies and Queer Theory; Afro-diasporic Musicking; Cultural Geographies; Ecomusicology; Community Music-Making

Abigail Lindo is a PhD candidate in ethnomusicology whose dissertation, "Azorean Acoustemologies: Gendered Postcolonial Musicking and Sonic Eco-Cosmopolitanism in Ponta Delgada," focuses on ecotourism, the postcolonial imagination, gendered behaviors in music creation, and intersectional awareness in sonic engagement in the Azores - where she resided during the 2022-23 academic year on a Fulbright U.S. Student Fellowship. Within this work, Lindo interpolates the geographically and culturally specific ideas from works of Black feminist scholars into her ethnographic work to aid in a sociocultural critique of postcolonial sonic realities on the island. She recognizes the shifting definition of cultural identity in the Azores in response to globalization and contextualizes how understanding the colonial past transforms the geographical sounding and silence into sexualized and racialized realities. For more information about her research, click here.

Lindo is a Jamaican-born, vocalist, educator, creative, and social scientist whose academic interests include Black sonic expression and identity, Jamaican popular music and gender dynamics, the politics of community music-making, and Portuguese popular music consumption and festival culture in the Azores. She is a P.E.O. Scholar, SEC Emerging Scholar, and recent inductee of the Edward A. Bouchet Graduate Honor Society at Yale. Her work has been presented nationally and internationally, supported by funding from the University of Florida, the American Musicological Society, the Society for Ethnomusicology, and the Fulbright Commission in Portugal. She has published work on Black music and visual culture, ethnographic fieldwork, and has multiple forthcoming publications relating to community music-making and womanist literature connected to the work of Black female vocalists. She is a former K-12 teacher and classically trained mezzo-soprano who is actively incorporating performance into her current dissertation work, among other creative approaches.


Jeana Melilli
PhD Program, Musicology | European Instrumental Music

Jeana Melilli is a PhD candidate in Historical Musicology at the University of Florida. Areas of study include Eighteenth-Century performance practice, gender studies, labor history and practice, and the confluence of theory and praxis. Her dissertation, “Unfootnoting Women: The Sociability of the Eighteenth Century Trio and Accompanied Sonatas,” reveals the genre’s reliance on the musical ability and patronage of women musicians and composers in the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, especially Naples and Noto, Sicily.

Jeana has presented her research on the trio sonatas of François Couperin, Pietro Locatelli, and J. S. Bach at national and international conferences. She co-created Lux Solaris, an Eighteenth-Century music ensemble at the University of Florida. For the 2021-2022 academic year, she was a FLAS fellow in Italian at UF. The UF Center for European Studies and Center for the Humanities and the Public Sphere each awarded her travel grants to finish her dissertation in Italy for the summer of 2023.

Jeana received her BM in Flute Performance from The Catholic University of America and an MM in Flute Performance from Northwestern University. As an orchestral flutist, Jeana is Principal Flute of the Savannah Philharmonic and Third Flute/Piccolo of the Greenville Symphony Orchestra Her chamber groups include the historical performance ensembles Savannah Baroque and the Vista Ensemble in Columbia, SC, as well as more modern chamber works with The Blue Heron Chamber Ensemble in Savannah, GA.

Jason Mullen
PhD Program, Ethnomusicology | Economic Ethnomusicology; Theories of Reciprocity and Exchange; Timbre and Popular Music

My work explores musical commodities at the intersection of market and non-market exchange.

I am particularly interested in the articulation of production and consumption, where sound and sonic registers are my guide. With fieldwork in factories, warehouses, and call centers, my research has focused on the fetishization of musical products. At the University of Florida, I am the instructor of the course Popular Music in America and the founding director of the Popular Music Ensemble—an ensemble open to all University of Florida students coming from any musical background. I am also a member of the Alachua Guitar Ensemble. I hold an MM in guitar performance from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and a BM from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts.

Qian Sun
MM program, Ethnomusicology

I am a first-year MM student in Ethnomusicology. I am interested in Chinese rock music, Chinese traditional local opera, and folk music.

I come from Qingdao, China. I received my bachelor’s degree in keyboard performance at Qingdao University, with Profs. Chen Yuanwen and Chen Lv, and a master's degree in piano performance at Missouri State University with Drs. Minju Choi and Hye Jung Hong. I am currently researching music subcultures in China, especially Chinese rock music. I am also interested in the dialects of some specific Chinese rock music.

Sara Fazeli
PhD program, Ethnomusicology: Sound, Politics, and Protest Music; Music and Migration; Music and Gender; Iranian Music; Music in the Middle East

Sara is a Santour player with extensive experience in performing Persian Classical music and its discourse. She completed her master's degree in ethnomusicology at Tehran Art University, where she conducted a two-year fieldwork project, including interviews and live performance recordings, focused on hybrid genres in Iranian music. She also worked as a researcher at the Music Museum of Iran, contributing to a project aimed at digitizing gramophone records.

At the University of Florida, her current work focuses on the politics of sound in the Middle East and among the Iranian diaspora in the United States, with a particular emphasis on sound studies. Additionally, she is pursuing a certificate in Women's Studies and conducting research on music and gender.

As an active musician, Sara has performed with the UF Afropop ensemble as a percussionist and led a Persian ensemble. She is also one of the creators of the Iranian Ethnomusicology Network (IEN), which seeks to expand knowledge and collaboration among Iranian ethnomusicologists and provides mentoring opportunities for Iranian students.

Overall, Sara's research and musical interests demonstrate a deep commitment to exploring the intersections of music, culture, and politics in the Middle East and beyond.

Leo Walker
PhD Program, Historical Musicology | Benjamin Britten; 20th-cent. opera; Trauma studies; Voice studies; Politics

Leo Walker is a PhD student in historical musicology focusing on the production histories of Benjamin Britten’s vocal works.

Leo is a musicologist, performing artist, and dramaturg who seeks to define the intersections between living, active performance, and curated reception histories. His current research on Benjamin Britten’s vocal works investigates violence, trauma, sex, and gender on the twenty-first-century stage. Leo often combines archival material, performer/audience testimonials, and public media to offer dynamic, sensitive approaches to contemporary theater design. Supported by the Center for European Studies, he has presented his work nationally and internationally, including chapter meetings of the American Musicological Society (AMS), UConn Graduate Music Conference, UNT’s GAMuT Graduate Student Conference, as well as the Society for Musicology of Ireland (SMI). Leo currently serves as the Student Representative to AMS-Southern, Vice President of UF’s Student Society for Musicology, and teaching assistant for undergraduate music and dance history surveys. He holds graduate and undergraduate degrees in historical musicology and voice/dance performance(s) from Western Michigan University.

Holly Tumblin
PhD Program, Ethnomusicology | Latin American and Caribbean Music and Dance, Gender, Embodiment, Popular Music

Holly is an ethnomusicologist, dancer, and clarinetist from Lexington, KY. She is currently pursuing her Ph.D. at the University of Florida, where she focuses her research on Latin American and Caribbean music and dance genres, particularly within multicultural and diasporic communities.

Holly completed her Master’s in Musicology at the University of Tennessee in August 2020. Her thesis on bachata music and dance examines how aspects of gender, embodiment, and code switching challenge and perpetuate binary gender roles in bachata dance communities at selected sites in the southeastern United States. Her other research interests include gender, performativity, identity, national identity, and film music. An active musician, Holly also completed her Master’s in Clarinet Performance at UTK in 2019. Her performance activities and her ethnomusicological interests continue to shape and enrich one another.

Emily O’Keefe
MM program, Ethnomusicology: areas of expertise: music education, race and identity

Emily O’Keefe is a second-year Master’s student in Ethnomusicology focusing on the intersection of ethnomusicology and music education, especially in the United States.

Emily is a violinist and has a Bachelor’s in Music Education from the University of Miami. Her research interests include Scandinavian music, the use of folk music (both national and international) in the American public school system, race in music and music education, and the sociological implications of the historical roots of the general music canon. In her thesis, Emily is currently investigating the routes of blackface minstrel songs from origin to current presence in children’s media and elementary general music curricula. In addition to being a student of musicology, Emily has also been a member of the UF Symphony Orchestra and UF Club Synchronized Swimming team.

Andrew Vogel
PhD Program, Ethnomusicology | Jazz | Ska | Popular Music | Popular Culture and Identity

Andrew Vogel is a saxophonist, educator, and researcher from St. Louis, Missouri. He is a PhD candidate in Ethnomusicology with a cognate in Anthropology at the University of Florida. His dissertation focuses on the circulation of ska in Mexico and southern California, cultural ownership, and identity. Other areas of interest include jazz studies, popular music studies, and the anthropology of race.

He received his Bachelor of Music in Jazz Studies, Music Technology from Webster University, and his Master of Arts in Jazz History and Research from Rutgers University where Andrew studied under Dr. Henry Martin and Dr. Lewis Porter. His Master’s thesis is titled, Angel Song: The Suite Life and Music of Kenny Wheeler.

Before coming to the University of Florida, Andrew taught courses in jazz history, popular music, and fundamentals of music at Rutgers University and Webster University. From 2015-2020, he worked with the Center for Jazz Studies at Columbia University contributing to J-DISC, the Center’s online jazz discography, and Dig That Lick: Analyzing large-scale data for melodic patterns in jazz performances.

John-Peter S. Ford
PhD program, Musicology | Music in 18th and 19th Century Vienna, George Chadwick, Early American Comic Opera, Music and Landscape

John-Peter S. Ford is a first-year Ph.D. student in Historical Musicology at the University of Florida where he serves as the president of the Student Society for Musicology. He received his Bachelor’s in Music Education with a concentration in voice from Mississippi State University and Master’s in Musicology at the University of Mississippi under the tutelage of Thomas Peattie. His thesis, George W. Chadwick and Robert A. Barnet’s “Tabasco” is available through ProQuest. His research interests include American Comic Opera, the comic operas of Robert A. Barnet, George W. Chadwick and other composers of the Second New England School, Reginald De Koven, and music’s evocation of landscape. He is a member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia and Phi Kappa Lambda and serves as serves the community as a free-lance organist.

Gerard Spicer
PhD program, Musicology: Cold War cultural diplomacy, global perspectives on U.S.-mediated diplomacy, twentieth-century American music, American orchestras, and digital humanities methods.

Gerard Spicer is a fourth-year Ph.D. candidate in Historical Musicology at the University of Florida whose research interests include Cold War cultural diplomacy, global perspectives on U.S.-mediated diplomacy, twentieth-century American music, American orchestras, and digital humanities methods.

Gerard's dissertation research focuses on the New York Philharmonic's 1958 Latin America Tour, a cultural diplomacy tour under the auspices of the U.S. State Department, and Brazilian perspectives on U.S. soft power in Latin America during the Cold War. Gerard served as adjunct professor of saxophone at the University of Florida for the 2018-2019 school year and regularly performs at conferences and with regional orchestras. Gerard holds degrees from the University of Florida and the University of Western Ontario where he studied saxophone with Jonathan Helton and Barry Usher.

Kayleigh Bagley
PhD Program, Historical Musicology | 20th and 21st Century Orchestral Music | Soviet Politics | Nationalism | Film Music

Kayleigh Bagley is a PhD student in Historical Musicology. Her current research examines the cultural exchange between the United States and the Soviet Union during the Cold War. 

Kayleigh received an AD from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, MM in Bassoon Performance from the University of Florida, and BM in bassoon performance from the Hartt School of Music. In addition to her studies in musicology, Kayleigh regularly performs with orchestras throughout Northern Florida, and maintains a private bassoon studio.

Christy Sallee
PhD program, Historical Musicology: Mélanie Bonis; Women in music; Gender in British Music Culture; English Pianism; French Pianism

Christy Sallee is a PhD student in Historical Musicology at the University of Florida. She received both her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in piano performance from the University of South Florida, and she is active in Central Florida as both a soloist and a collaborative pianist. As a teacher, Christy maintains a vibrant private piano studio and teaches both Applied Piano and Class Piano in collegiate settings. In performing and in teaching, she strives to instill a genuine love of the piano in her students and listeners through the exploration of piano literature beyond the standard repertoire, especially music by women composers. An organic extension of her work at the piano, Christy’s doctoral research is focused on the piano music of fin-de-siècle French composer Mélanie Bonis.

Kingsley Okyere
MM program, Ethnomusicology: West African and Afro-diasporic musics, popular music aesthetics, studio musicking practices, semiotics, and creative musicology

Kingsley Okyere is a second-year master's student in ethnomusicology at the University of Florida where he is currently completing his thesis on The Sonic Aesthetics of Afrobeats.

He is a Graduate Assistant and performs with the UF AfroPop Ensemble as vocalist and keyboardist. Kingsley’s research interests include West African and Afro-diasporic musics, popular music aesthetics, studio musicking practices, semiotics, and creative musicology. Kingsley holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music with a minor in Classics from the University of Ghana where he studied piano and composition with Kyong Ok Kim and Kenn Kafui. He has composed and arranged music for stage, screen, and installation, including for Agyeman Ossei’s Cycling on a Pool (2020) and Karim Hakib’s adaptation of I Told You So (2017). His recent major projects include the Bo Diddley Beat/African Rhythms project with UF Libraries (2022) and the Ghana National Anthem Project (2020) with former University of Ghana Vice Chancellor Prof. Ivan Addae Mensah. Prior to coming to UF, Kingsley taught ABRSM Music Theory and Piano in Accra, Ghana. He is an active tenor with the UF Pazeni Sauti African Choir and enjoys leading dance demonstrations and DJing events for the African community in Gainesville.

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