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Colloquium Series Participants Bios and Abstracts - November 30, 2011


Opera-comique through the lens of Bizet's Carmen

Hannah Jencius


Opera-comique, a form unique to French opera, emerged in the late 18th-century and quickly defined the genre.  In examining French operatic works, one is left to wonder what traits are specific to the form.  This presentation attempts to examine the style and structure of opera-comique through a literary and musical analysis of Bizet's Carmen, arguable one of the most popular operas to date.


Hannah Jencius is currently pursuing a degree in voice performance from Kent State University. She has performed with the KSU Opera Workshop in Opera Scenes and fully staged productions in both the ensemble and supporting roles, and recently portrayed Kate Pinkerton in Puccini's Madama Butterfly through the Solon Center for the Arts. Hannah longs for a career immersed in music, and plans to perform in both opera and musical theatre for the rest of her life.



The Sound of Nostalgia and Memories in the Nation: Introduction to Mongolian Traditional Music
Sunmin Yoon


The Mongolian people, who lived as nomads originally, developed a truly distinctive musical culture within their landlocked area on the Asian continent. As nomads, they created the soundscape that has carried their emotions, memories and long history. An instrument strung with horse hair, the Morin huur, has carried the representative sound of Mongolian music throughout history. One major type of folk song, the long-song, was the lament of a mother who yearned for a daughter who married into another nomad family and moved far away. In such a song overtone singers expressed the sounds of wind, water and other affects of nature that still endure everywhere in the Mongolian countryside. In the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, however, Mongols have lived through abrupt transformations in the political and social climate and have devised alternative ways to keep their musical aesthetics and their traditions alive. As outer Mongolia has entered its "post-socialist phase" and Inner Mongolia has opened up to the free market system, many among the younger generations of musicians in traditional genres have initiated new musical movements. Through their attitudes toward traditional Mongolian music, they have found innovative ways of retaining and negotiating their Mongolian identity in their everyday lives and in their music in a continually changing world. 

This lecture, thus, based on the several years of fieldwork experience of the speaker, introduces the overall context of Mongolian traditional music and its aesthetic values, not only alive in the past but still vitally persistent in most of the Mongolian countryside. At the same time, the lecturer will illustrate how, even under the pressures of change, current musicians have retained this vibrant musical tradition.


Sunmin Yoon is an ethnomusicologist specializing in Mongolian folk music. She has spent several years among long-song (Urtyn duu) singers in both Mongolia's cities and countryside. In her research, she has interviewed more than fifty singers, and has collected many long-songs. She holds a Ph.D from the University of Maryland at College Park, and currently teaches at Kent State University, OH. 

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