College Faculty Receive Matching Grants for Research & Creative Activity

By Cullen Sadler

January 25, 2024

The College of Music & Dramatic Arts is pleased to announce that, after a competitive proposal submission process, matching grant funding has been awarded to seven faculty members in the School of Music and School of Theatre to support their ongoing research and creative activities.

A committee of college stakeholders evaluated the quality of the proposals, potential impacts upon the researcher’s creative agenda, plans to communicate the research (i.e., presentation, publication, recording, other relevant deliverables), and the records of the researcher.


School of Music

Project Title: Measuring the Impact of the Keep a Beat! Music-Based Training on Stress and Bonding for Teachers of Infants at 2 Baton Rouge Early Childhood Schools

Infants have critical developmental milestones, and if a primary caregiver does not have the resources to provide the nurturing and healthy interactions needed, infants become at risk for attachment disorders and long-term emotional and behavioral problems.

The purpose of this 2-year pilot study will be to observe if an infant and teacher-centric music-based curriculum, Keep a Beat!, learned and delivered by infant classroom teachers, impacts the perceived stress of teachers, the stress-related hormones of both the infants and teachers, and infant social-emotional competence.

Project Title: The Devil's Dream, an opera workshop and panel discussion

In collaboration with the Turner-Fischer Center for Opera, Professor Gibson will produce an open opera workshop for Gibson’s new opera, “The Devil’s Dream," which is based on Lee Smith’s eponymous novel. Presumed to be roughly based on the country music powerhouse Carter family, the story chronicles several generations, beginning in 1830 in a Virginia mountain holler.

Learn More About The Workshop Event

Project Title: Art and Nature, a portrait project

This is Professor Gibson's third portrait album project and fourth commercially released album, which features a variety of music inspired by paintings, lithographs, birds, and more. The matching grant funding will assist in the final recording and publication of these projects as a comprehensive album. The album includes works such as:

  • Escher Keys, recorded in April 2021 by students and faculty at LSU
  • Fight||Flight - recorded in August 2023 by the Atlantic Brass at the University of Missouri
  • Pranayama, recorded in November 2023 by students and faculty at LSU
  • Rhythmic Mosaics, set to be recorded in 2024 in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Project Title: The Han & Heung Medley Album: A Humanitarian Musical Sketch

Professor Kang will produce an album featuring clarinet works inspired by the theme of Korean social emotions known as Han (한/恨) and Heung (흥/興), in collaboration with Juno Award-winning Canadian Korean pianist, Angela Park. The album will consist of works for clarinet, piano, and electronics by living composers based on stories of conflict, resolution, and hope from various cultures. 

Project Title: Expanding the reach and scope of the Collaborative Strings Institute and the Composition Intensive

The Collaborative Piano Institute (CPI), hosted at LSU, is the only classical music summer program in the United States devoted solely to the needs of collaborative pianists. In 2021, CPI added the Collaborative String Institute, and in 2023, the Composition Intensive. Professor Otamendi will expand the scope of both newer programs by bringing masters of string pedagogy and a master composer: Paul Kantor and Virginia Weckstrom (Rice University), Horacio Contreras (University of North Texas), and Ricardo Lorenz (Michigan State University, two-time Grammy-nominated composer.)

Project Title: Engaging Underserved Teenagers in Creative Music Making within their Community

In the United States, music study has become less accessible to school-aged children. Research suggests low socioeconomic status is a significant barrier to child participation in extracurricular activities. Piano study is amongst the least accessible activities, requiring students to have access to a practice instrument and to pay high rates for private lessons.

Professor Pike will oversee this educational project taking place in the EBR Public Library (Carver Branch), mere blocks from the LSU campus but situated in an area where the population is 68% Black, the local public schools lack music programs, and many families do not have access to private music lessons. Musical experiences will center around the piano and popular music that is familiar to the children. Many of the music activities will differ from traditional beginning piano instruction by focusing on playing by ear, improvisation, group composition, and group music making at the piano.

Project Title: A Celebration of Women in Jazz Concert Series

This concert series showcases the significant contributions of women composers and musicians within the jazz idiom. The initiative aims to inspire young women to start or continue performing jazz while encouraging music educators to support and guide them in this pursuit.

Professor Redfield’s all-female sextet will host masterclasses for LSU students, collaborate with LSU jazz ensembles, visit schools in Northern Louisiana, and mentor an all-female high school jazz combo comprised of students from various schools across Louisiana. In addition to these educational initiatives, the sextet will engage with the community through a series of free concerts, featuring compositions by members of the ensemble and historical works by underrepresented women composers.


School of Theatre

Project Title: Truncated Icosahedron Performance in Scotland

In collaboration with Professor Dimirtris Nikitopoulos and students in the College of Engineering, Professor Erickson and a team of College of Music & Dramatic Arts faculty and students are redesigning and rebuilding "the ball," a truncated icosahedron made of aluminum alloy and used as a dynamic performance object.

The redesigned ball will be used on tour in Summer 2024 when students from the School of Theatre travel to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, one of the largest arts festivals in the world. A revival showing will be mounted in Fall 2024 when "the ball" returns to LSU.