photo: Sophie Benn

photo: Sophie Benn

Nick stevens

hails from a historic village in the idyllic hills of upstate New York, and now lives and works in Cleveland, Ohio. In fall 2019, he will return to posts teaching music history research methods and world music at the Cleveland Institute of Music and University of Akron School of Music, having served as a SAGES Teaching Fellow and Lecturer in Music at Case Western Reserve University in the spring. He will also lead the Western music history survey sequence at Cleveland State University.

In 2017-2018, he taught music history and musicological methodology at CWRU and CIM. He also earned the Ph.D. in musicology from CWRU, where his dissertation won the Department of Music’s Adel Heinrich Award for Excellence in Musicological Research in 2017. During his graduate studies, he completed research Fellowships at the Library of Congress (2015) and the Baker-Nord Center for the Humanities (2016).

He has taught diverse groups of students: in-state and international, undergraduate and graduate, professional performers and non-music majors, in-person and online, and Gen-Z to Gen-X. His experience encompasses such survey-style courses as listening skills, Western art-music history, and music research methods courses, in addition to deep dives into hip hop, rock ‘n’ roll, and folk music of Africa, Asia, Oceania, and the Americas. A student-focused, tech-friendly, discussion-oriented professor who also cultivates a knack for narrative lecuring, he strives above all to keep courses well-organized; make class meetings lively yet focused; and model approachability and transparency as a leader.

A musicologist with interdisciplinary interests in theatre and performance studies, media theory, and literary criticism, Stevens specializes in musical modernism, minimalism, and multimedia performance, with secondary (but not unrelated!) attention to hip hop. In Threshold, Dreamscape, Substance, Screen: Contemporary Opera and/as Medium, his in-progress monograph on the changing nature and evolving thematic concerns of the genre in the twenty-first century, he examines pieces by renowned composers such as Thomas Adès, Louis Andriessen, George Benjamin, Du Yun, Ashley Fure, David Lang, Liza Lim, Olga Neuwirth, Kaija Saariaho, Mark-Anthony Turnage, and Chaya Czernowin. Though these operas run the gamut of contemporary musical styles, dramaturgical strategies, and approaches to the singing voice, they all share two things in common: a topical preoccupation with present-day issues involving (the) media, and a fixation on artistic and audiovisual media other than traditional opera. Stevens argues that, aware of opera’s reputation for obsolescence in the digital age, artists have hybridized opera with such forms as film, reality TV, the web series, the video diary, installation and performance art, pop musicals, immersive theatre, even experimental novels, in service to bold new works that speak directly to pressing social concerns. At the same time, however, he looks to earlier trends in opera for precedents. The genre has not only manifested certain anxieties over its archaism before, but also examined - and been complicit in - injustices similar to those it now habitually depicts. The book should emerge in 2021.

Stevens has delivered talks at regional, national, and overseas conferences in music scholarship, and written reviews for German Studies Review, the Journal of the Society for American Music, and MLA Notes. He is a correspondent and concert reviewer for Cleveland Classical, and an album reviewer for I Care if You Listen. He also loves toast, coffee, and podcasts as much as any good millennial, runs marathons, plays French horn, and preaches the gospels of Joanna Newsom, Timber Timbre, St. Vincent, Kendrick Lamar, and Vince Staples to anyone who’ll listen. He lives in the beautiful Tremont neighborhood with his wife Sophie Benn, the cellist, musicologist, and dance scholar who co-founded and is a co-director of the Cleveland Uncommon Sound Project, and a cat who has never done anything of note.

This website is a platform for professional materials, occasional writing and updates, and general flailing about in the anthropocene music-related thoughts and good cheer! Welcome all.