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Julie E. Cumming

Title(s): 

Associate Dean, Research and Administration, Associate Professor - Department of Music Research

Office Number: 
A713
Phone Number: 
514-398-4535 ext. 0552
Email Address: 
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Biography: 

Julie E. Cumming received her B.A. in Music and Medieval Studies at Barnard CollegeColumbia University (1980), and her M.A. (1982) and Ph.D (1987) in Music and Medieval Studies at the University of California at Berkeley. She taught for seven years at Wellesley College before moving to McGill in 1992. In addition to musicology she has played the recorder professionally, helped run the summer workshop, Amherst Early Music, and conducted the Collegium at Wellesley College. She was the review editor for Historical Performance, the journal of Early Music America (1988-92), and review editor for the Journal of the American Musicological Society (2004-2008). She served as Director of Graduate Studies in Music at McGill from 2001-2003 and 2009-2010.  She is currently the Associate Dean of Research and Administration. 

Professor Cumming's major area of expertise is late Medieval and Renaissance polyphony, with a monograph on fifteenth-century music, The Motet in the Age of Du Fay (Cambridge University Press, 1999). She has published articles and reviews in Speculum (the journal of the Medieval Academy of America), the Journal of Musicology, New Grove Opera, and Early Music. Her current work focuses on fifteenth-century and sixteenth-century compositional process, with emphasis on the connections between improvisation and composition; she often collaborates with her colleague in Music Theory, Peter Schubert. Other areas of interest include analysis of Renaissance music, music printing in the Renaissance, baroque opera and digital humanities.  She is the principal investigator of a Digging into Data Challenge Grant: “ELVIS: Electronic Locator of Vertical Interval Successions: The first large data-driven research project on musical style”; the team includes five other scholars from McGill, 2 from the US, and 2 from Scotland. Undergraduate courses include the History Survey, Medieval Music, Renaissance Music, Baroque Opera, and Analysis of Early Music; graduate courses include Music Paleography (transcribing and singing from Medieval and Renaissance music notation) and Performance Practice; graduate seminar topics have included Monteverdi, Du Fay, Josquin, Ockeghem and Busnoys, the motet c. 1500, music printing in the sixteenth century, and madrigal and motet c. 1520-1565. 

Professor Cumming has supervised dissertations on wind players in Spain c. 1600, early eighteenth-century English theatre music, espionage in Elizabethan England, parody masses, sine nomine masses in the fifteenth century, and music and the plague in the Renaissance. She has supervised M.A. theses on Hildegard von Bingen, fifteenth-century chansons, Heinrich Biber, Handel's borrowing, madrigal and lute song, and repetition in the music of Compère, motets on texts from the Song of Songs, Marian motets and confraternities in the early sixteenth century, and Ariosto settings from sixteenth-century Verona.