Professor and Chair, Musicology
David Ake, professor and chair of the Department of Musicology, is an award-winning scholar and educator in the fields of jazz and popular music. His publications include the books Jazz Cultures; Jazz Matters:Sound, Place, and Time since Bebop; and the collection Jazz/Not Jazz: The Music and Its Boundaries (co-edited with Charles Hiroshi Garrett and Daniel Goldmark), all for the University of California Press, as well as chapters or articles in the Cambridge Companion to Jazz, American Music, Jazz Perspectives, and other publications. Also active as a jazz pianist and composer, his most recent recordings as a leader are Bridges, which appeared on multiple Best-of-2013 lists, and Lake Effect (2015), both for the Posi-Tone label. Prior to joining the Frost School, Ake chaired the Department of Music at Case Western Reserve University, and was a longtime faculty member at the University of Nevada, Reno, where he served as Director of the School of the Arts, among other leadership positions. Ake’s honors include the Nevada Regents’ Teaching Award, the F. Donald Tibbitts Teaching Award, and the Society for American Music’s Housewright Dissertation Award. He holds a Ph.D. in musicology and M.A. in ethnomusicology from UCLA, along with degrees in jazz performance from the California Institute of the Arts and the University of Miami.
Associate Professor, Musicology
Deborah Schwartz-Kates is associate professor in the Department of Musicology at the University of Miami Frost School of Music where she also served an eight-year term as department chair. Her research focuses on contemporary Latin American music, ethnomusicology, national identity, and film music. Professor Schwartz-Kates has recently been awarded fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Paul Sacher Foundation in Basel, Switzerland. Professor Schwartz-Kates is under contract for two books—Revealing Screens: The Film Music of Alberto Ginastera (Oxford University Press) and Alberto Ginastera: A Guide to Research (Routledge Press). She authored the article on Alberto Ginastera for the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians and contributed the chapter on Argentina for a textbook on Latin American music published by W. W. Norton. Her work has appeared in the Musical Quarterly, Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart, New Grove Dictionary of Opera, Yearbook for Traditional Music, Latin American Music Review and ECHO: A Music-Centered Journal.
Associate Professor, Musicology
Melvin L. Butler is an Associate Professor in the Department of Musicology at the University of Miami Frost School of Music. A scholar-performer with broad interests in music and religion of the African diaspora, he has conducted field research on popular music making in relation to charismatic Christianity in Haitian, Jamaican, and African American communities. In these transnational contexts, he interrogates the cultural politics of musical style and religious expression while attending to the role of musical performance in constructing individual and collective identities. These interests fuel his ongoing concern with ethnographic representation and the ways in which scholars negotiate their identities in relation to various fields of supernatural encounter. His awards include a Ford Foundation Pre-Doctoral Fellowship and a Fulbright IIE field research grant, and a Thurgood Marshall Dissertation Fellowship at Dartmouth College. From 2008 to 2010, he served as Secretary of the International Association for the Study of Popular Music (U.S. Branch), and in 2012-13, he was a fellow-in-residence at Yale University’s Institute of Sacred Music. His published articles and reviews have appeared in Ethnomusicology, Journal of the American Academy of Religion, Black Music Research Journal, Journal of Popular Music Studies, and Current Musicology. As a saxophonist, he has worked professionally with numerous jazz artists, including Betty Carter, Joey DeFrancesco, Christian McBride, Jimmy McGriff, Dr. Lonnie Smith, and Reuben Wilson. He has also toured throughout the Francophone Caribbean. His work with celebrated Haitian band, Tabou Combo, includes a performance in Dominica's World Creole Music Festival and three recordings, Why Not? (1997), 360 Degrees (1997), and Sans Limites (2000). He now performs mostly with Brian Blade and the Fellowship Band, with whom he is featured on several albums, including Brian Blade Fellowship (Blue Note 1998), Perceptual (Blue Note 2000), Season of Changes (Verve 2008), and the Grammy-nominated Landmarks (Verve 2014). He earned his Ph.D. in ethnomusicology from New York University, in addition to master’s degrees in music and jazz studies (also from NYU) and a bachelor’s degree in performance from Berklee College of Music.
Associate Professor, Musicology
Karen Henson is associate professor of Musicology at the Frost School of Music, University of Miami. Her research focuses on nineteenth-century opera, singers and opera performance, and opera and technology. Professor Henson trained at the University of Oxford and in Paris, and her work has been supported by fellowships and awards from The British Academy, the Stanford Humanities Center, and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University. Her writing has appeared in the Cambridge Opera Journal, 19th-Century Music, the Journal of the American Musicological Society, and in the edited volumes L'Opéra en France et en Italie and Le Spectaculaire dans les arts de la scène. She has also contributed articles to the The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians and The Cambridge Verdi Encyclopedia. Henson recently completed her first book, Opera Acts: Singers and Performance in the Late Nineteenth Century, which will be published by Cambridge University Press in 2014. She is now finishing an edited volume on sopranos and technology, which will also be appearing with Cambridge, and working on a new book, on opera and early sound recording. She has been a regular guest speaker for the Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera, and the BBC.
Brent Swanson is a lecturer in the Department of Musicology at the University of Miami and advises students in the Bachelor of Arts in Music Program. He holds a B.F.A and M.M. in musicology from the University of Florida, and a Ph.D. in ethnomusicology from the University of Maryland. His research interests include various African music's, Latin America, the United States, and the Caribbean. Mr. Swanson’s dissertation, "Rwanda’s Voice: An Ethnomusicological Biography of Jean-Paul Samputu," is a multi-sited ethnographic study of Rwandan musical identity through the lens of international star Jean-Paul Samputu. Through biographical research and musical transcription and analysis, he demonstrates how Samputu’s use of four distinct vocal timbres and incorporation of various musics from East and Central Africa, Europe, the United States, and the Caribbean challenges nationalist discourse about Rwandan identity, and promotes reconciliation in post-genocide Rwanda. He is currently preparing a chapter on Mr. Samputu’s music for the book Arts, Music, and Social Healing: Experiences from the African Great Lakes Region and Beyond, edited by Helen Hintjens and Rafiki Ubaldo, forthcoming, 2017. Mr. Swanson is also a professional performer and songwriter, and he has performed with various artists including Bo Diddley, Marco Pereira, Hamilton de Hollanda, and Jean-Paul Samputu. Additionally, he served as President of the non-profit Mizero Children of Rwanda, which raises awareness about how traditional music and dance can facilitate peace and reconciliation in Rwanda.
Music Librarian, Marta and Austin Weeks Music Library
Nancy C. Zavac is the music librarian at the Marta and Austin Weeks Music Library, University of Miami Libraries. She teaches Music Bibliography and regularly serves on theses committees for graduate students. She is an active member of the Music Library Association, Southeast Chapter of the Music Library Association, and the Music OCLC Users Group. As a member of the MLA Education Committee she has planned several “Continuing Education Forums” for national meetings. Nancy Zavac has a Master’s of Music degree in Musicology from the University of Miami (May 1979) and a Master’s of Science degree in Library Science from Florida State University (December 1980). From 1979 to 1982 she worked as Music Cataloger at the U. of Miami Music Library and as Music Librarian from June 1982 to the present. As Music Librarian, Ms. Zavac is responsible for selecting music materials and electronic resources, providing reference assistance and bibliographic instruction, overseeing cataloging, and supervising staff and performing administrative duties.