Category Archives: NYU Courses

The Emotions of Music

When you’re an orchestrator sit by yourself in your apartment for three months. As a supervisor, you’re working with the cast”

Christopher Jahnke brings a different kind of expertise to the table. Boasting 25+ years of musical experience, Chris has worked behind the scenes as an orchestrator as well as directly with the cast as a Music producer and supervisor. Working in these roles has given Chris a unique perspective that has undoubtedly contributed to his proficiency in music. Chris, who has always been interested in the way music influences emotion, describes his role as orchestrator very simply, “You are essentially responsible to create the way a piece feels sonically”.

As an orchestrator, Chris has worked on several projects including: Les Misérables (2006), Grease (2007), Cry-Baby (2008), andcurrently, Porgy and Bess. Chris has international experience as well; he orchestrated Legally Blonde on the West End in London in 2010, 3 years after using the same orchestrations that were used for the Broadway showing. He has also worked with his mentor, William David Brohn (Wicked, Miss Saigon, Ragtime), in co-orchestrating the Lincoln Center Theater’s production of Dessa Rose and A Man of No Importance. Chris is grateful for his oppurtunities to work with Brohn, “I’ve learned more from him and I still continue to than I did in college”

In 2001, Chris worked directly with David Bryan on Memphis: A New Musical, a production that took over eight years to complete. Bryan, keyboard player and founding member of Bon Jovi, worked with Chris as his Musical Producer to create the musical hit. Their years of effort were well rewarded – Memphis won the 2010 Tony Award for Best Musical.

Chris believes that there needs to be some sort of bond between co-workers when collaborating in order to create the best music, “Working with every composer is a challenge, When you have a good friendship and a good working relationship you kind of help bring the best out of each person you work with”.

By Tony Saint Jean


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Guest Blogger: Marianna Torgovnick

Thoughts for the Day on the Stylish E. B. White

For our first assignment, pairs of people fanned out into New York  neighborhoods and wrote up the results.  Our inspirations were an  essay about Chinatown and E.B. White’s Here is New York.  The  Chinatown essay was terrific in seeing Chinatown both as the historic  residence of male workers and, today, as one center of global Chinese  commercial interests and identity.  But, in this blog, and on this  particular day in September, I wanted to say a few words about E.B.  White.
     First, you have heard of him before, even if you didn’t  realize it.  He’s the
same E.B. White who wrote Charlotte’s Web, a  book you may have read as a child and that may even have been the  first time you cried over a book, when Charlotte dies.  He’s also the  E.B. White who wrote Elements of Style, a writer’s handbook used for decades in college courses and still one of the absolute best guides  to writing that I know.  Finally, he was – like you –someone who  loves New York and came here from somewhere else to spend some time  and hone his skills.
      Some parts of Here is New York that I love really stand out  for me.  First, the idea that there are at least three kinds of New  Yorkers mingling on city streets at any given moment – commuters,  those who have come to the city to live, and natives.   People like  you, who have come to the city to live, may actually get to know the  city more than commuters and even natives who stick to their  neighborhoods, often defined as a few square blocks.  Second, the  idea that, “The citizens of New York are tolerant not only from  disposition but from necessity” (p. 47).  And, third, the evocation  of the threat to the city, that “for the first time in its long  history, is destructible” (54).
     Writing just after World War II, White refers to nuclear  weapons.  But his words echoed in 2001 when a photo exhibit called  Here is New York opened in Soho and is being recreated this Fall at  The New York Historical Society.  My last book, The War Complex  (Chicago, 2005), had an evocation of the events of 9/11 and the  subsequent Fall.  I’m attaching typescript since I’ll always  remember the Duke in NY Arts and Media students who spent that Fall  with me.

Download from_the_prologue_to_marianna_torgovnick.doc

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Filed under Books, Discoveries, Guest Blogger, NYU Courses, Simply Fabulous

NYU Course: Photojournalism


Our resident photographer, Duke in New Yorker Melissa Ley, is taking a pretty sweet NYU course called Photojournalism.  Here’s a word from the syllabus:

"The goal of this course is to give you insight and practical experience in the field of photojournalism.  Through weekly assignments and the development of a multiple picture photo essay, you will develop the skills needed to effectively tell stories through pictures". 

Each week leading up to the final photo essay project, students took pictures for specific assignments, including a weather picture, an environmental portrait, and sports photography.  The course also focuses on teaching students how to critique their own work and the work of others and encourages students to develop a personal vision and style.

Melissa pursues a Documentary Studies Certificate at Duke and has very much enjoyed her NYU Photojournalism course so far.  She has traveled the City taking photographs, and for her final NYU project, she is developing a photo essay about the Duke in New York program.   



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NYU Course: Brazilian Music and Globalization

Brazil  Hi All!  Between the Philharmonic at Lincoln Center and Spring Awakening on Broadway, I hope you had a terrific first week back from Thanksgiving break! 

This semester I’ve been taking an amazing class at NYU called Brazilian Music and Globalization.  I absolutely love it.  I couldn’t have chosen a better course here at NYU or back at Duke. 

As far as our NYU courses go, we’ve all had different experiences.  It was tough signing up for courses–it would be nice if we had an NYU advisor assigned to our Duke group to help us out.  Even still, with perseverance, many diverse and different courses were available to us. 

Here’s a brief profile of my NYU class (and please please please make sure to check out some of the Brazilian tune’s I’ve posted.  They’re awesome.):

Tomjobim_1 My class is cross-listed in the Music, Africana Studies, and Spanish and Portuguese Departments of the NYU College of Arts and Sciences.  Professor Jason Stanyek teaches the course–he’s an expert in Brazilian music, has taught extensively on the subject, has lived in Brazil for many years in the past, and plays many of the instruments we discuss in class.  He’s also extremely enthusiastic and engaging as a lecturer.  His bi-weekly lectures are consistently well-organized and interesting, incorporating much audio and video.  About fifty students take the course, but Professor Stanyek and his two TA’s make themselves available and accessible. 

Olodum Brazilian music is, above all, DIVERSE.  Over the course of the semester, we’ve studied in depth the music of capoeira, Rio’s Carnival samba, bossa nova, pagode, tropicalia, the music of candomble and umbanda, and samba reggae.  This is only a sampling of Brazil’s music–we’ve also touched on many other styles and movements.  Popular music holds an exalted position in Brazil and is connected to complex issues of racial identity, authenticity and Brasilidade (Brazilianness), and internationalization. 

In the sidebar, you’ll find some cool samples of the many many many Brazilian tracks I’ve listened to this semester.  If you want more info, ASK ME!!! I love talking about this stuff. 

Carmenmiranda The track and artist names did not come through very clearly, so here’s a list of what I’ve posted (without the necessary accents–sorry!): "Nobre Vagabundo" Daniela Mercury, "Morena Tropicana" Alceu Valenca,  "Perdido de Amor (Ao Vivo)" Timbalada, "Vai Vadiar" Zeca Pagodinho, "Vem pros meus bracos" Beth Caravalho e Zeca Pagodinho, "Tropicalia" Caetano Veloso, "Domingo No Parque" Gilberto Gil, "Alegria, Alegria" Caetano Veloso, "Tropicalia" Beck, "Aguas de Marco" Elis Regina and Tom Jobim, "The Girl from Ipanema" Tom Jobim (composer) and Frank Sinatra (performer), "Chega de Saudade" Joao Gilberto, "Corcovado" Joao Gilberto, "Kizomba: A festa da raca" Vila Isabel (Rio Samba School–the winning 1988 samba), "100 Anos de Liberdade: Realidade ou Ilusao" Estacao Primeira de Manguiera (Rio Samba School–close second in 1988).


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