Julie E. Cumming

Academic title(s): 

Associate Professor, Music History/Musicology, Interim Dean - Schulich School of Music

Department: 
Music Research
Area(s): 
Music History/Musicology
Contact Information
Phone: 
514-398-4538
Email address: 
julie [dot] cumming [at] mcgill [dot] ca
Group: 
Dean
Faculty (all)
Office: 
A731
Salutation: 
Professor
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).  

Professor Cumming is the Interim Dean of the Schulich School of Music for 2016-2017. She has served the Schulich School of Music as Director of Graduate Studies (2001-2003 and 2009-2010), and as Associate Dean of Research and Administration (2011-2016). In this role she shepherded multiple successful CFI grant applications for CIRMMT and members of the Schulich School of Music.  She created and chaired the Technical Management Committee and the Digital Rights Management Committee. 

Professor Cumming's major area of expertise is late Medieval and Renaissance polyphony.  She is the author of The Motet in the Age of Du Fay (Cambridge University Press, 1999), in which she explores the transformation of the motet from 1400-1474. 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, as well as in numerous edited collections, including the Cambridge History of Fifteenth-Century Music. Her current work looks at fifteenth- and sixteenth-century compositional process, with emphasis on the connections between historical improvisation and composition; she often collaborates with her colleague in Music Theory, Peter Schubert. Other areas include analysis of Renaissance music, book history and music printing in the Renaissance, baroque opera, and digital humanities in music. She was the principal investigator of an international Digging into Data Challenge Grant, “Electronic Locator of Vertical Interval Successions (ELVIS): The first large data-driven research project on musical style” (2012-2014; http://elvisproject.ca/ ).  She is the co-leader (with Ichiro Fujinaga, PI) of a SSHRC Partnership Grant, “SIMSSA: Single Interface for Music Score Searching and Analysis” (2014-2021; https://simssa.ca/ ). She was a co-investigator on the SSHRC Major Collaborative Research Initiative “Making Publics” (Paul Yachnin, PI, 2005-2010; http://makingpublics.mcgill.ca/ ), and is currently a co-investigator on the SSHRC Partnership Grant “Early Modern Conversions” (Paul Yachnin, PI, 2013-2018; http://earlymodernconversions.com/ ). 

Professor Cumming was awarded the Schulich School of Music Full-Time Teaching Award (2007) and McGill’s David Thomson Award for Excellence in Graduate Teaching and Supervision (2015).  She has supervised PhD dissertations on wind players in Spain c. 1600, early eighteenth-century English theatre music, espionage in Elizabethan England, parody masses, accidentals in fifteenth-century music, sine nomine masses in the fifteenth century, music and the plague in the Renaissance, Attaingnant’s motet prints, Venetian language polyphony, music about music in the Renaissance, the early musical revival, and Renaissance counterpoint treatises. She has supervised MA theses on Hildegard von Bingen, fifteenth-century chansons, Heinrich Biber, Handel's borrowing, madrigal and lute song, Salve regina settings by Galuppi, repetition in the music of Compère, motets on texts from the Song of Songs, Marian motets and confraternities in the early sixteenth century, Ariosto settings from sixteenth-century Verona, and improvised polyphony in Colonial Mexico. Her former students and postdocs teach at University of Toronto, University of Aberdeen, Carleton University (Ottawa), Loyola College (Baltimore), University of Utah, and Brandeis University.