This August, City University Alumnus (BMus) Henry Balme will commence his PhD in Music History at Yale University. After a rigorous application process, which included an examination and an interview, Henry was invited to join the Music Department as a doctoral student on a full scholarship at the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.
At City University Henry engaged in a variety of musical and academic activities including sound recording & studio techniques, studio composition, piano and ensemble performance and a wide array of ethnographic, theoretical, analytical and historical music courses. He was also active outside of the Music Department, entering the CitySpark’s ‘Big Ideas’ entrepreneurship competition where he won a prize for Orfeo, a media player concept dedicated solely to improving the digital listening experience of classical music.
After completing his BMus at City in 2014 with first class honours, he went on to commence his Master’s Degree at the University of Oxford. There, Henry’s research has been interdisciplinary in scope: his Master’s Thesis, supervised by Laura Tunbridge, drew on art historical and musicological research methods to shed new light on the almanac Der Blaue Reiter (1912), an art manifesto that includes facsimiles of music by the Second Viennese School.
In the summer of 2016, he further developed his interdisciplinary research methods during an internship at the Max-Planck-Institute for Empirical Aesthetics in Frankfurt am Main. The research centre, officially inaugurated in the Autumn of 2015, conducts studies at the intersection of the humanities and the natural sciences, in an attempt to gain a deeper understanding of the mechanisms that impact on aesthetic liking and preferences. He helped conduct studies in the laboratories of the institute for doctoral students and the Music Department’s director, Melanie Wald-Fuhrmann and co-organised the workshop on “Methods in Empirical Music Research”, led by David Huron (Ohio State University). He designed musical stimuli for an fMRI study on neural substrates of musical expectancy and emotions by neuropsycholigist Diana Omigie.
At Yale, Henry plans to pick up threads from his studies at City, notably from Ian Pace’s course on Nineteenth Century Opera and Alexander Lingas’ module on Wagner, Mahler and Schoenberg’s ideational connections. Henry’s research will continue to be interdisciplinary in scope and focus on opera studies, especially that of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, with an emphasis on Wagner and the Second Viennese School.
We wish Henry all the best for his future academic ambitions. The Matriculation Ceremony takes place on Thursday, 25 August 2016.