Ivan Raykoff is an Associate Professor and Chair of The Arts program at Eugene Lang College, the undergraduate liberal arts division of The New School in New York, where he teaches courses on music history, theory, and interdisciplinary approaches to the arts. He studied piano at the Eastman School of Music and the Liszt Academy in Budapest, and received his PhD in Critical Studies in Music from the University of California–San Diego in 2002. His chapter on Romantic piano transcriptions, sexual transgression, and (pro)creative values appeared in Queer Episodes in Music and Modern Identity (2002), and his work on Robert Schumann’s declamation ballades was recently published in the collection Rethinking Schumann (2011). He is currently completing a book for Oxford University Press titled Dreams of Love: Playing the Romantic Pianist.
As part of the panel Performing Queer Ecology at the 2012 iLAND Symposium Ivan will present Queer Hands in Music Land
Music and dance teachers frequently tell their students that practice makes perfect, but rarely explain what “perfect” implies. Traditional pedagogical methods and aesthetic ideologies in classical music training privilege a notion of a “sound body,” an idealized union of physicality and musicality evidenced in many different ways in performance, from technical facility to a beautiful tone and artfully shaped melody. Underlying these values is an understanding of the body as natural, whole, healthy, and heteronormative, while the unsound body is often coded as unwholesome, unhealthy, and queer. Starting with the first lesson, “Music Land,” from John Thompson’s classic piano method book first published in the 1930s and still widely used today, this presentation explores the implications surrounding the cultivation of perfect sound bodies in music and the related arts.