The row over Pierpaolo Polzonett’s account of teaching musical analysis in prison has spilled over into a nuclear war over the alleged lily-white state of American musicology.
I recall going every year to the AMS for the last 15 years and generally seeing a sea of white faces with very few people of color present and very few papers addressing race or music by people of color.
I recall the AMS List posts when Michael Jackson died.
A musicologist posted a post along the lines of: “I don’t know anything about Michael Jackson since I focus on art music…but no one seems to be saying anything about his death…why is that?” and then seeing responses that included, “Why should we say anything about him, he was an entertainer not an artist.”
But I most remember the AMS List posts of January 2011, when people on that list were defending Eggebrecht from the evidence that he was part of a Nazi unit that participated in the mass execution of 14,000 Jews in the Crimea during World War 2. And people on the list, and not just one person, defended Eggebrecht. People on the AMS List were defending a Nazi war criminal. Phrases like, “well can we really prove he pulled the trigger?” and most upsetting, “Well, even if he were a Nazi war criminal, that wouldn’t have an effect on his scholarship…I mean, if he had discovered the identity of the Immortal Beloved would we ignore that because of things he did in his private life?” or “Your private activity has nothing to do with your scholarship.”
People were defending a man they thought was an amazing musicologist who probably murdered 14,000 Jews.
These are people in the AMS.
Read more, many more, here.