Graduate Students, Past and Present

Jacqueline Avila Jacqueline Avila

Dr. Jacqueline Avila is an Assistant Professor in musicology at the University of Tennessee. She holds an M.A. and Ph.D. in music from the University of California, Riverside and a B.A. in music with a dual emphasis in French horn performance and music education from the University of California, Los Angeles.  Her research interests include Mexican modernism, nationalism, and cinema and media studies. She was a recipient of the UC MEXUS Dissertation Research Grant and the American Musicological Society’s Howard Meyer Brown Fellowship, and has presented her research at several conferences in the United States and Mexico. She is currently writing a book manuscript tentatively titled CineSonidos: Cinematic Music in Early Mexican Film, which is an examination of meaning and cultural representation in Mexican film music.  
Gary Barnett Gary Barnett

Gary Barnett completed his doctoral studies in historical musicology in the spring of 2012 after an extended research trip to Lisbon, Portugal where he received a scholarship with the LUSO/Gulbenkian foundation to study the compositions of Carlos Seixas (1704-1742).  His dissertation was entitled Three Manifestations of Carlos Seixas (1704-1742): A Study of Historiographical Biography, Reception, and Interpretation. As a student at UCR, he performed as both soloist and continuoist with the Musicum Collegium, as well as performances with the Chamber Singers and Choral Society.  Gary has also enjoyed posting Youtube videos with his carillon and organ teacher, David Christensen (UCR Carilloneur), in the UC Belltower.  He is now a full-time lecturer in music theory at UCR and continues to perform nationally and internationally.
Joshua Brown Joshua Brown

Joshua Brown holds a B.A. in history, with a minor in music, from UC Santa Barbara, and an M.A. in ethnomusicology from UCR. In 2003, Josh lived in Seville, Spain and began his ongoing study of flamenco guitar at the University of Pablo de Olavide. He conducted research in Seville during the 2011-12 academic year, supported by a Fulbright IIE fellowship. This work addresses how Andalusian histories, landscapes and performance spaces relate to musical and social practices within flamenco communities. Also, the Morón style of flamenco serves as a central case study through which Josh evaluates stylistic and performative elements within the context of tradition. For his M.A. thesis, he explored how popular music, American folk ideology and leftist politics converged and intensified at a key folk institution in Los Angeles known as the Ash Grove. Other research interests include the politics of identity and race, cultural memory, social movements, political activism and the bearing of historical conceptions and constructions on the discipline of ethnomusicology.
Bernard Gordillo

Bernard Gordillo

Bernard Gordillo, a native of Nicaragua, is a graduate student in Musicology at UC Riverside.  His research interests lie in the area of Latin American music, focused on the art music of Nicaragua and its late nineteenth- and twentieth-century composers.  He has been a Visiting Scholar of the Latin American Music Center (LAMC) at Indiana University, and continues a close relationship with the Institute of History of Nicaragua and Central America (“IHNCA,” Managua) where he is an Associate Researcher.  In 2011 he spent a year in Nicaragua as a Fulbright Fellow, looking for vestiges of Spanish colonial music, as well as studying the manuscripts of Nicaraguan composers Luis Abraham Delgadillo and Carlos Ramírez Velásquez, among others.  Bernard is also a harpsichordist and ensemble director, holding graduate degrees in performance from the Early Music Institute at Indiana University and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama (London).  He has performed on harpsichord and chamber organ throughout the United States, Western Europe, Central America, and Israel.  His ensemble, L’aura, was a first-prize winner of the LAMC’s competition in the performance of music from Spain and Latin America.

Eric Johns

Eric Johns is musicologist and classical guitarist currently pursuing an M.A./PhD in musicology at the University of California, Riverside. Originally from Louisiana, Eric earned his B.M. in classical guitar performance from Southeastern Louisiana University studying with Patrick Kerber, as well as studying jazz guitar with Hank Mackie. After graduating, he moved to Buenos Aires to study tango guitar with maestros Anibal Arias and Julian Graciano. As a musician, he has worked professionally throughout the United States in a variety of styles. 

Eric’s current research focuses on Cuban-Spanish-American composer Joaquìn Nin-Culmell’s opera La Celestina, as well as a reconstructive history of the guitar in tango. He is the recipient of the Dean’s Distinguished Fellowship (2014-2015), and the GLUCK Fellowship of the Arts (2015-2016). Eric is also the host of Radio Maldita on KUCR 88.3FM, a GSA representative, and has recently founded a tango guitar ensemble at UCR.

David Kendall

David Kendall completed the PhD in Musicology at UCR in 2010 and his continuing research interests include colonial liturgical music of the Philippines, organology and 19th century wind instrument performance practices.  Formerly a lecturer at UCR, David is now a full-time, tenure-track assistant professor of music at La Sierra University.  Additionally, he is a brass instructor at Loma Linda Academy, serves as Music Minister at Immanuel Lutheran Church, is Musical Director of the Armory Band (a 19th-century brass band playing period instruments), and serves on the Board of Directors of the Period Piano Center and Museum and Makibahagi (a Filipino arts and culture organization).  David lives in Riverside with his wife, Shiela, and two daughters, Carmina and Mikaëla.

David Kandall

Mindy LaTour O'Brien

Mindy LaTour O’Brien

Melinda completed an MA in ethnomusicology at UC Riverside in 2009, with a thesis project titled, “Music Listening and the American Dream in a Mexican American Community,” advised by Jonathan Ritter. Melinda is currently an ACLS/Mellon Dissertation Completion Fellow for 2015-16 in the Department of Musicology at UCLA. Her dissertation, "Music and Moral Repair in Early Modern France,” explores musical settings of moral poetry in France from 1556-1652. Melinda has undertaken training in print culture and paleography at the École Nationale des Chartes in Paris as the Newberry Library Exchange Fellow for 2014-15, and she is currently affiliated with the Centre d’Études Supérieures de la Renaissance in Tours, France, as she completes her dissertation abroad. Melinda’s secondary research interests, which began during her MA work in ethnomusicology at UCR, are located in sound studies, tone and timbre in popular music, and Chicano/a music production.


“Disciplining Song in Sixteenth-Century Geneva,” Journal of Musicology 32, no. 1(Winter 2015): 1–39.

The Relentless Pursuit of Tone: Timbre in Popular Music. Co-editor, with Robert Fink and Zachary Wallmark (Oxford University Press, forthcoming).

“Case Study: Musical Encounters in Tenochtitlàn/Mexico City” in The Cambridge History of Sixteenth-Century Music (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming).

“Santana and the Metaphysics of Tone: Feedback Loops, Volume Knobs, and the Quest for Transcendence,” in The Relentless Pursuit of Tone: Timbre in Popular Music, edited by Robert Fink, Melinda Latour, and Zachary Wallmark (Oxford University Press, forthcoming).

Co-author, “Introduction” to The Relentless Pursuit of Tone: Timbre in Popular Music, edited by Robert Fink, Melinda Latour, and Zachary Wallmark (Oxford University Press, forthcoming).

Daniel Castro Pantoja

Daniel Castro Pantoja, is a Ph.D. candidate in musicology at UCR specializing in the formation of national identities through music and the role of music in the formation of nation-states in Latin America. Daniel, a native of Colombia, earned his Bachelor´s in Music degree in classical guitar performance from Loyola University New Orleans in 2011, where he graduated summa cum laude. He then attended The University of Akron for his Master´s degree in music performance, where he studied with guitar pedagogue extraordinaire Stephen Aron, earning his MM in the year 2013.

Daniel is currently working on his dissertation under the supervision of Dr. Walter Aaron Clark. Daniel’s dissertation deals with the life and work of Colombian composer Guillermo Uribe Holguín (1880-1971) and his role in the formation of a national music identity in Colombia during the first half of the twentieth century. He is a recipient of the Dean´s distinguished fellowship, the Gluck Fellowship of the Arts, and the Anthony Ginter music award. Daniel was also selected as a fellow of the Smithsonian Institution’s Latino Museum Studies Program (LMSP) this past summer, where we worked for both the Latino Center and the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage under the guidance of Dr. Michael Mason. Photo credit: 2015 LMSP.


Alyson Payne Alyson Payne

Alyson Payne completed her doctoral studies in 2012, with a dissertation entitled, “The 1964 Festival of Music of the Americas and Spain: A Critical Examination of Ibero-American Musical Relations in the Context of Cold War Politics,” advised by Dr. Leonora Saavedra. She received her master's degree from Bowling Green State University, under the direction of Dr. Carol A. Hess. Her interests include music and politics during the twentieth century as well as music and nationalism.
Jacob Rekedal Jacob Rekedal

Jacob Rekedal is currently finishing his Ph.D in Ethnomusicology, while living in southern Chile with his wife Liliana Pérez.  Jake entered the UCR Ethnomusicology program (Dept. of Music) with a dual focus on bluegrass mandolin and Chilean folkloric musics, in the fall of 2006. In 2008 he completed his master’s research on bluegrass, based both on fieldwork with musicians in southern California, and on reflections and research about bluegrass in different regions of the United States, and in different political and social contexts. In late 2009, Jake left California for Temuco, a city in southern Chile, where he has conducted grant-funded research with support from the University of California’s Pacific Rim Research Program, and from Fulbright IIE. Jake’s two subsequent years in Temuco involved research on music as it relates to the concept of frontera (or borderland)—an idea which has characterized the cultural, political and social dynamics of the region around Temuco since well before the arrival of the Spanish in the 1540s. Southern Chile is rich in folkloric music styles, but also in hip-hop, rock, indigenous Mapuche music, and various types of fusion music unique to the region. Jake’s dissertation deals with case studies in several genres, and their relationships to tumultous struggles over territorial sovereignty and social welfare. Currently, Jake is writing his dissertation while working as an adjunct professor at the Universidad de la Frontera in Temuco, where he teaches “Introducción a la Etnomusicología.”
Desmond Stevens Desmond Stevens

Desmond Stevens received his BA degrees in Music Education and Sociology from UCLA in 2009. He also holds an MA in Musicology from UC Riverside (2011). During his time at Riverside, he focused his studies on the music of nineteenth and twentieth century Latin American classical and popular musics. His thesis investigated the music of Argentine composer Astor Piazzolla and the Argentine expectations of national musical identity. Since receiving his master's degree he worked as a music teacher in public middle and high schools in the LA and Orange Counties. Currently he is working as the instrumental music teacher at Rancho Alamitos High School in Garden Grove where he is fusing traditional high school instrumental instruction (strings, winds, and percussion) with a specifically tailored curriculum incorporating elements of Western music history, World music history, and Ethnomusicology which reflects the diverse demographics of his school's student body.
Robert Wahl Robert Wahl

Robert Wahl is an entering PhD student in Musicology at the University of California, Riverside. He holds a Master’s Degree in Musicology from California State University, Long Beach where he studied the music of Paraguayan guitarist Agustín Barrios Mangoré. Robert will continue his studies in Musicology at UC Riverside with a focus on guitar in Ibero-American Music. During his studies, he also enjoys playing and performing classical guitar with any free time he finds.

The Center for Iberian and Latin American Music at the University of California, Riverside, is pleased to announce the results of the 2016 Otto Mayer-Serra Competition, for the best essays on Iberian and Latin American Music, in either historical musicology or ethnomusicology.  This annual competition honors the memory of the Spanish-Mexican musicologist Otto Mayer-Serra (1904-68) and seeks to continue his legacy of groundbreaking research.  The OMS competition accepts submissions in Spanish or Portuguese.  The first-prize award is for $2000, and second prize, $1000.  When warranted, there is also an Honorable Mention.  This year’s competition attracted such a large number of high-quality submissions that the jury awarded two honorable mentions.  First-prize articles are published in the peer-reviewed online journal Diagonal:  An Ibero-American Music Review (  Information about the 2017 competition will be available in the summer.

2016 Otto Mayer-Serra Competition Results

First Prize

Dr. Julio Mendívil (Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main): “Cosa de hombres: sobre construcciones de género en la musicología sobre la música de los Andes.”

Second Prize

Hermann Hudde (University of California, Riverside): “Panamericanismo en acción: música y compositores latinoamericanos en Tanglewood desde 1941 hasta 1951.”

Honorable Mention ex equo

  1. Dr. Juan Francisco Sans (Universidad Central de Venezuela): “Disciplinando el cuerpo, sujetando las pasiones: baile y música en la educación hispanoamericana del siglo XIX.”

  2. Dr. Belén Vega Pichaco (Universidad de Oviedo): “La reinvención de la 'tradición' musical: discursos y prácticas en torno a la construcción de una 'Escuela Cubana de Composición' (1934-1946).”

The Center for Iberian and Latin American Music is grateful to the large number of scholars who submitted essays to this year’s competition and looks forward to future contributions.  It especially wishes to thank the distinguished panel of judges who reviewed the submissions:

Antoni Pizà, chair (CUNY Graduate Center)
Paulo Chagas (University of California, Riverside)
Javier Suárez-Pajares (Universidad Complutense de Madrid)

Walter Aaron Clark
Professor of Musicology
Director, Center for Iberian and Latin American Music
University of California, Riverside



Background Music: The habanera "La paloma" (The dove) by Sebastián Yradier (1809-65), arranged for guitar by Francisco Tárrega (1852-1909), performed by Pepe Romero on his album Corazón Español (Hollywood Records, 2005).