International Alliance for Women in Music

Winners of the 2017 Pauline Alderman Awards for Outstanding Scholarship on Women in Music



Contact: Monica Buckland, Pauline Alderman Awards Chair

[email protected]



Winners of the 2017 Pauline Alderman Awards for Outstanding Scholarship on Women in Music



The International Alliance for Women in Music is pleased to announce the recipients of the Pauline Alderman Awards for Outstanding Scholarship on Women in Music for 2017. 


The Pauline Alderman Awards were founded in 1985 by the International Congress on Women in Musicto honor the memory of pioneering musicologist Pauline Alderman, Ph.D. (1893–1983), founder and chair of the Music History Department of the University of Southern California. Past winnersinclude some of the most distinguished scholars writing about women and music. 


Authors submitted articles and book-length works published in 2015 and 2016 for adjudication by respected scholars. We regret that restructuring within IAWM led to a delay in announcing the winners of the 2017 Awards.


We were very impressed with the overall quality of submissions. Four were considered truly outstanding: we have therefore decided, in addition to the book and article prizes, to award two runner-up prizes (for a dissertation and a reference work, respectively), as follows:


Book prize:
Laurel Parsons and Brenda Ravenscroft

Analytical Essays on Music by Women Composers:Concert Music, 1960–2000, OUP, April 2016.

This is the first volume of a four-book project, presenting detailed studies of compositions by Ursula Mamlok (Joseph N. Straus), Norma Beecroft (Christoph Neidhöfer), Joan Tower (Jonathan Bernard), Sofia Gubaidulina (Judy Lochhead), Chen Yi (Nancy Rao), Kaija Saariaho (John Roeder), Libby Larsen (Brenda Ravenscroft), and Elisabeth Lutyens (Laurel Parsons). An introductory chapter by Parsons and Ravenscroft situates the essays in the contemporary environment of the female composer, examining the representation of her music in creative and scholarly forums.

One adjudicator commented:
“I cannot say enough good things about this book. It was a fascinating read, and it is so necessary to our field. It definitely fills in the gaps – there is surprisingly little out there that actually analyzes music by women composers in a rigorous way. The analyses in this book are absolutely original, and none of them are derivative of each other … Absolutely top notch, all the way around. … I can’t overstate this enough – this is incredibly necessaryresearch, and I am excited that this is just one book in a 4-book series.”



Article prize:

Gurminder Kaur Bhogal

“Listening to female voices in Sikh kirtan,” SikhFormations, 13:1-2, 48-77, published online 22 November 2016.


This paper examines sound recordings by female kirtaniyein an effort to redress the absence of women in historical narratives about Punjab. The myriad ways in which femalekirtaniyeevoke rasain their kirtanalso raise the contentious issue of whether raagis one of several techniques through which the words of the Sikh Gurus might conjoin with music.


The adjudicator judged this outstanding article to be “extremely valuable to current scholarly discussions concerning female voice, female embodiment, and larger questions of historiography, specifically how one creates a history from a paucity of documentation. … The effectiveness of Bhogal’s scholarship beyond the circle of Sikh scholars, likely intended as its audience, speaks to the way good writing resonates beyond the obvious and speaks beyond the specialists.”



Runner-up prize for dissertation:

Jessica Rudman

Common-Tone Preserving Contextual Inversions in the Music of Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, PhD thesis submitted in 2015 to the City University of New York and published online by CUNY.


Jessica Rudman takes a transformational perspective to approach an understanding of the melodic and harmonic structures of Ellen Taaffe Zwilich’s music. She focuses on the transformational aspect, revealing connections overlooked in other types of analysis. She also introduces a generalized theory of common-tone preserving contextual inversions and uses that framework to provide insight into Zwilich’s style.


The adjudicator pointed out that the author “is the first theorist to subject Zwilich’s music to such detailed analytical scrutiny. … This is not only new research, it is important research. 

This work achieves many things simultaneously. It is simultaneously synthesizing and original; it is extraordinarily ambitious and wide-ranging and focused; and it sheds light on a composer whose work has not been accorded the kind of analytical scrutiny it deserves, and by doing so elevates the music of all women whose works have been treated as less worthy of doctoral students’ investigations.”



Runner-up prize for reference work:

Judith Barger

Music in The Girl’s Own Paper: An Annotated Catalogue, 1880-1910, Routledge, September 2016.


Nineteenth-century British periodicals for girls and women offer a wealth of material to understand how girls and women fit into their social and cultural worlds, of which music making was an important part. The Girl’s Own Paper, first published in 1880, stands out because of its rich musical content: this is a catalogue of the musical content found in the weekly and later monthly issues during the magazine’s first thirty years, in music scores, instalments of serialized fiction about musicians, music-related nonfiction, poetry with a musical title or theme, illustrations depicting music making and replies to musical correspondents.


The adjudicator praised the originality of this work, which is “extensively and thoughtfully researched, with clear and methodical structure,” and describes the work as “an outstanding achievement. … The book gives an insightful look into what British women from that period were reading, and, by the sheer depth of the catalogue, shows that music was an integral part of the lives of 19th-century women.”



Special thanks go to the adjudicators of the 2017 Awards: Kerensa Briggs, Sarah Westwood, Denise von Glahn, Alison De Simone, and AJ Layague. 


Warmest congratulations to our winners, and deepest thanks to publishers, authors, and others who nominated many important new scholarly works on women and music.  


A call will go out for submissions to the next cycle of the Pauline Alderman Awards towards the end of this year.


Please see the IAWM websitefor further information. 



Biographies for winners of the 2017 Pauline Alderman Awards


Laurel Parsonsis Full Teaching Professor in the Department of Music of the University of Alberta, where she teaches music theory and aural skills. She holds a PhD in Music Theory from the University of British Columbia, and has taught at UBC, the University of Victoria, Quest University Canada, Queen’s University, the University of Oregon, and Kwantlen University College. From 2012 to 2015, she chaired the Society for Music Theory’s Committee on the Status of Women, and led the establishment of the committee’s blog Women in Music TheoryShe has published on the music of Elisabeth Lutyens, representations of Inuit poetry in late 20th-century music, and post-secondary aural skills pedagogy for students with dyslexia. 


Brenda Ravenscroftis Professor of Music Theory and the Dean of the Schulich School of Music of McGill University in Montreal, Canada. Three interests animate her research in music theory: her fascination with time, her love of poetry, and her passion for equity for women in music. She has published on the music of 20th- and 21st-century American composers, rhythmic organization in post-tonal music, and the relationship between words and music. In her role as an administrator in higher education, she is committed to promoting diversity and inclusion in all aspects of musical activity. She chaired the Society for Music Theory’s Committee on the Status of Women from 2006 to 2009.


Gurminder Kaur Bhogalis the Catherine Mills Davis Professor of Music at Wellesley College. She studied the piano at the Royal College of Music (London, U.K.) and received her Ph.D. in Music History and Theory from the University of Chicago. Gurminder has published widely on the music and aesthetics of composers working in Paris at the turn of the 20th century, including Claude Debussy, Gabriel Fauré, Maurice Ravel, Erik Satie, and Igor Stravinsky. She has published two books with Oxford University Press: Details of Consequence: Ornament, Music, and Art in Paris (2013); and Claude Debussy’s Clair de Lune (2018). Her current research focuses on Sikh devotional music, specifically the concept of unheard sound (anahad nad) in Sikh scripture and philosophy. Gurminder serves as Review Editor for the Journal of the American Musicological Society.



Described as a “new music ninja” (Hartford Advocate), Jessica Rudmanis a Connecticut-based composer whose recent works engage with contemporary social themes through realistic or fantastical frames. Rudman’s music has been performed by groups such as the Arditti Quartet, the International Contemporary Ensemble, the Riot Ensemble, the Yakima Symphony Orchestra, and the Hartford Independent Chamber Orchestra.  She has received awards from SCI/ASCAP, Boston Metro Opera, the College Music Society, the International Alliance for Women in Music, and others. Rudman is a 2019-21 Composer Fellow in The American Opera Project’s Composers and the Voice program.
Rudman teaches at the Hartt School Community Division. She is also an active theorist and arts advocate. She holds degrees from the CUNY Graduate Center, The Hartt School, and the University of Virginia. More information about Rudman and her work can be found at her website.


Judith Bargeris an independent scholar who holds PhDs in both musicology (Indiana University) and nursing (University of Texas). A musician from a young age, she continued to sing and to play the organ during her 20-year career as a United States Air Force nurse. After completing her military service, she returned to school to study music. Dr. Barger is the author of three books – Elizabeth Stirling andthe Musical Life of Female Organists in Nineteenth-Century England(Ashgate 2007), Beyond the Call of Duty: Army Flight Nursing in World War II(Kent State University Press 2013) and Music inThe Girl’s Own Paper: An Annotated Catalogue, 1880–1910(Routledge 2016). Her current research focuses on the nurse character in opera. She lives in Little Rock, Arkansas.