Gretchen Jude: composer/electronicist

Song Cycle for Symbionts

 gretchen jude


  • Thursday, February 13, 2020
  • Hudson Concert Hall, 7:30 p.m.
  • Admission is free and open to the public.

This work for voice, electronics, and indeterminate acoustic instruments is both an exploration of and a paean to processes of creative collaboration. Multimedia elements, alternate scoring methods (both textual and visual), and music improvisation are all key strategies in 'Song Cycle for Symbionts'–a piece that pushes the limits of what can be experienced as 'a song', just as symbiotic relations in nature blur the boundaries of what can be considered a (singular) organism.

Dr. Gretchen Jude is a scholar, composer, and performer who was born and raised in the wild state of Idaho. Improvisatory interaction with the immediate environment forms the core of Gretchen’s sonic practice, as she explores the liminal spaces between natural and artificial, tradition and experimentation, self and other.

Gretchen holds an MFA in Electronic Music & Recording Media from Mills College (2011) and a PhD in Performance Studies from University of California, Davis (2018), along with certification from the Sawai Koto Institute (Tokyo) and the  Deep Listening® Institute (New York). Her music ensembles include Eat The Sun, Gestaltish, and glou glou; Gretchen also composes extensively for dance and film–most recently Midnight Traveler (2019), which received kudos at both Sundance and Berlinale.

Gretchen has studied a variety of performance practices, including: improvisation, voice, audio/electronics, and Japanese musics. Her compositions and improvisations have been released on Full Spectrum, Susu Ultrarock, and Edgetone Records. Gretchen is currently a 2019-2020 JSPS Postdoctoral Fellow at Yokohama National University. Find more information about Gretchen's work at


  • Tuesday, February 11, 2020
  • Hudson Concert Hall, 7:30 p.m.
  • Admission is free and open to the public.

“Mediated Listening and Feminist Praxis: Voices of the Nightingale Geisha Recording Stars”
This presentation traces the emergence and disappearance of Japan’s nightingale geisha singers in the early 20th century, exemplified by the figure of once-popular female recording star Ichimaru 市丸 (1906-1997). Starting with an explanation of ‘traditional’ Japanese musical forms and practices (specifically, the nexus of short shamisen song genres played by geisha), I will discuss important shifts over the last two centuries in the sociocultural roles and images of these underrepresented and misrepresented female musicians.

A primary focus of this lecture is on the influence of mass media in Japanese musical contexts, from early recording technologies to televised performances to filesharing via platforms such as YouTube. In relation to the case study of the geisha recording stars, I will address such questions as:
·         What are the pitfalls of uncritical listening to sound recordings across myriad differences—i.e., not only of race, culture, and language but also of generation/age?
·         How do digital audio media both facilitate and problematize the (re)discovery of forgotten female voices and sonic practices?

Working between critical ethnomusicology and media theory, I engage the work of Pauline Oliveros (2005), Stacy Alaimo (2010), Roshanak Kheshti (2015), and Nina Eidsheim (2015), with the aim of articulating feminist listening relations that can grapple with the power and ubiquity of audio(visual) media.

Sponsored by Willamette University and the Swindells Chair in Music.

For more information contact Dr. Mike Nord and the Music Department, 503-370-6255.

Willamette University

Music Department

900 State Street
Salem Oregon 97301 U.S.A.

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