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Musicologist Alejandro Madrid receives Dent Medal

Alejandro L. Madrid

Music professor Alejandro L. Madrid has been awarded the Royal Musical Association’s Dent Medal.

“This is the highest honor awarded by Britain’s foremost scholarly body in music studies,” said Steven Pond, associate professor and chair of the music department. “It is a rare honor, indeed.”

The award, honoring Edward J. Dent, has been given annually since 1961 to a midcareer scholar for outstanding contribution to musicology. Madrid is only the third Cornell professor and the first Latin American or Latin Americanist/Hispanist to win the award. The other Cornell winners were William Austin in 1967 and Kofi Agawu in 1992.

The award committee referred to Madrid as “a musicologist of extraordinary intellectual range and breadth; throughout his career so far he has shown deep engagement with transnational and revisionist historical argument across an astonishingly wide range of musical practice.”

His research focuses on the intersection of modernity, tradition, globalization and identity in popular and art music, dance and expressive culture from Mexico, the U.S.-Mexico border, and the circum-Caribbean. His interests include the performance of democratic values through music, media and technology; questions of continuity, change, cosmopolitanism and race in Latin American late 19th-century and early 20th-century music; and transnationalism, gender and embodied culture in contemporary popular music.

In 2016, Madrid received the Robert M. Stevenson Book Award from the American Musicological Society and the Mexico Humanities Book Award from the Latin American Studies Association for his most recent book, “In Search of Julián Carrillo and Sonido 13” (Oxford University Press).

Recently, Madrid has been commissioned to write a biography of Cuban-American composer Tania Léon, and he continues to work on two other projects: a study of sound archives and discourse about alternative forms of knowledge production after the “sonic turn,” and a work about homophobia, masculinity and popular music in Mexico and Greater Mexico.

Madrid earned a doctorate in musicology and comparative cultural studies from Ohio State University in 2003, master’s degrees from the University of North Texas in 1999 and SUNY Purchase in 1995, and a bachelor’s degree in guitar performance from the Boston Conservatory in 1992.

Linda B. Glaser is a staff writer for the College of Arts and Sciences.

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