In the Loop
Alumni News : Mar 19, 2018

Prolific SOM alumna makes important contributions to music academia

Christina L. Reitz, (M.M. 02 and Ph.D. 07), associate professor of music at Western Carolina University, presented her paper “Higdon’s ‘Civil Words’: An Analytical Survey of Inclusivity” at the second annual International Music by Women Festival. The festival was held Mar. 1-3 in celebration of Women’s History Month at Mississippi University for Women in Columbus, Mississippi. Reitz’s research examined “Civil Words,” a song cycle, through its compositional history, form, unifying elements and critical reception, but the primary focus was the setting to music of varying perspectives of those affected by war through the lens of 19th-century poetry by American women and men. An extended version of this paper has been accepted for publication in the peer-reviewed International Alliance for Women in Music Journal’s Spring 2018 issue.

Later that month, Dr. Reitz presented her paper "The Venetian Vistas of Franz Liszt's Années de pèlerinage" at the national conference of the Nineteenth Century Studies Association. Reitz's research explored the inspiration for Sposalizio which combines Liszt's Catholicism and the Raphael painting of the same name based on an episode from the apocryphal book, the Infancy Gospel of Saint James. Additionally, Reitz examined "Gondoliera," from Venezia e Napoli in the presentation. This traced the theme La Biondina in Gondoletta from Beethoven's work for piano, violin, and cello in his 12 Songs of Various Nationalities to the original version of Liszt's work simply titled Andante Placido before reaching its well-known final version. Reitz also moderated the panel "Celestial Views" at the conference which convened in Philadelphia, PA on Mar. 15 through 17.

Dr. Reitz also contributed entries for Jennifer Higdon’s blue cathedral and Kaija Saariaho’s L’Amour de Loin (“Love From Afar”) for The Music Book: Big Ideas Simply Explained. The anticipated date of publication for this book is Aug. 1, 2018.

As a women in music scholar, Dr. Reitz will be contributing the Caroline Shaw chapter for the second edition of Women Making Art: Women in the Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts since 1960. This interdisciplinary monograph examines the contributions of women artists in the areas of dance, music, theater, film, and the visual arts. The anticipated publication date is Dec. 1, 2018.

Finally, Dr. Reitz’s own monograph, Jennifer Higdon: Composing in Color, will be published in May 2018. Higdon’s orchestral music was the focus of Reitz’s dissertation at the University of Florida under the supervision of Dr. David Z. Kushner. The book examines several of Higdon’s most significant works including the Pulitzer Prize Winning Violin Concerto written and premiered by Hilary Hahn and the composer’s first opera, Cold Mountain based on the award-winning novel by Charles Frazier. Marin Alsop, music director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, wrote the foreword to the book.