Music student to present on women composers at musicology conference

Music major Annie Koppes will present a paper on women composers at the Regional American Musicological Society Conference


Photo courtesy Annie Koppes

Colorado State University undergraduate Musicology major, Annie Koppes, has been selected to present her paper at this year’s Regional American Musicological Society Conference. The conference will take place virtually, April 9-10, 2021.

“This is a significant accomplishment,” said Dr. John Pippen, assistant professor of Music and Ethnomusicology. “It’s not unusual for a graduate student to present at the conference, but it is more uncommon for an undergraduate to do so. I am proud of her and her accomplishments. She is resilient to criticism, driven, inquisitive, and an ambitious thinker.”

Annie’s paper, titled “An Intersectional Analysis of Women Composers and Labor,” explores an intersectional analysis of labor and women composers such as Mary Lou Williams, Germaine Tailleferre, Bessie Smith, and Lili Boulanger. The paper serves to bring intersectional examples of early 20th century women composers into dialogue with Marxist feminism, and within this dialogue examines the historical ways in which women composers have been exploited in capitalist societies.

“I am incredibly honored to present this research at the upcoming Rocky Mountain AMS Conference,” said Ms. Koppes. “Intersectional attention toward women composers and their exploited labor is long overdue, and I hope to offer a new perspective to this field of research. On a more personal note, the research into feminist studies has proved to be cathartic and rewarding. I hope that, with continued efforts, I might motivate others to seek empowerment through their own research.”

Music shaped by race and gender

student and faculty member

Dr. John Pippen and Annie Koppes at the University Center for the Arts (photo by Jennifer Clary).

“Annie has consistently been interested in the ways gender informs musical practice,” said Dr. Pippen about his student who recently added a minor in Women Studies and is developing projects that attend to gender and sexuality. "Her Rocky Mountain presentation is especially concerned with how race and genre shaped the work,” he added.

Annie describes Dr. Pippen and Dr. Abigail Shupe, as phenomenal and supportive research mentors who were both kind enough to establish a small reading group based on her interest in musicology. It was through the reading group that together, they would discuss Foucault, McClary, and so on. This group was the inspiration for the Musicology Club’s formation last year, which Ms. Koppes helped create in service to the School of Music, Theatre, and Dance at CSU. Dr. Abigail Shupe, assistant professor of music and music theory, now serves as the club’s faculty advisor, and Koppes is the current club president.

“Annie has been instrumental in organizing speakers and events for the club,” said Dr. Pippen.

The CSU Musicology Club aims to explore the academic study of sound or music in a fun and exciting manner. Through invigoration discussions and a variety of events, students better understand their relationship with music and the field of musicology. The registered student organization, which can be found on RamLink, organizes events such as guest speakers, attending and discussing live performances, opera/symphony movie nights, and travel to musicological conferences.


Ms. Koppes continues to make an impression, not only with her upcoming paper presentation at the Rocky Mountain Music Scholars Conference, or with future generations of students who join the Musicology Club, but at CSU, she has impacted the faculty as well.

“Annie is the kind of student you hope for as a teacher. Because most of our majors are focused on education, therapy, or performance, I do not often encourage students to go into musicology here at CSU. Annie’s accomplishments and attitude have encouraged me to rethink that approach, reminding me never to allow my perceptions to limit my students' imagination,” said Dr. John Pippen.

Upcoming Musicology Club events include:

  • Marianna Ritchey (UMass), Thursday, March 25, 4 p.m. MT:  "Labor, Capitalism, and Music"
  • Lakshmi Sreeram Wednesday, March 31, 7 p.m.  MT: "Improvisation in Indian Classical Music"
  • Dan Obluda (CSU), Wednesday, April 7, 7 p.m. MT: “From Pastoralism to Protagonism: Associations of the F Transformation in Film”
  • Adrienne Cohen (Anthropology professor at CSU), Wednesday, April 21, 6 p.m. MT: Title TBA