Two graduate students from the Bienen School of Music at Northwestern University have received Fulbright U.S. Student Program grants to support research or study outside the United States.

The Bienen School’s 2016-2017 winners are Jenna Harmon and Alexander York. Brief descriptions of their projects are listed below.

Jenna Harmon, a fourth-year doctoral student in musicology, will spend next year in Paris to continue her research on music of the French Revolution. Her specific area of expertise is the use of popular song in pornographic pamphlets published between 1750 and 1799. Harmon is interested in the relationship between these two different modes of appeal to the body as a way of embodying revolutionary ideas, as well as exploring how these two genres, which are typically viewed as participating in low culture, actually have a much greater reach than the kinds of high-minded works typically associated with the Enlightenment. While in Paris, Harmon will look through archives for more of these pamphlets and work at the Center for French Language and Literature of the 16th-18th Centuries at Paris-Sorbonne University. Harmon also won a Graduate Research Grant from The Graduate School in early 2016 for her research in this area.

Alexander York, a second-year master’s voice student of W. Stephen Smith, will travel to Germany to immerse himself in Lied culture, studying its poetry, history, interpretation, cultural significance, and vocal technique and style. He will study its performance practice in a setting of maximal support and sensitivity to the art form, with teachers from the University of Music and Performing Arts in Munich. York will enrich his understanding of Lieder by taking lessons with and interviewing a number of regarded experts in the field, and by examining original manuscripts and other local resources. He plans to attend professional and student recitals, concerts, and festivals, which are ample in Munich and Germany and will serve as an invaluable resource to the study of the interpretation of Lieder. With the help of his host institution and the Fulbright funding, York will also participate in public masterclasses, festivals, and prestigious competitions.

Harmon and York are among the more than 1,900 U.S. citizens who will teach, conduct research, and provide expertise abroad for the 2016-2017 academic year through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program. Recipients of Fulbright awards are selected on the basis of academic and professional achievement as well as record of service and demonstrated leadership in their respective fields.

The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to build relations between the people of the United States and the people of other countries that are needed to solve global challenges. The Fulbright Program is funded through an annual appropriation made by the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State. Participating governments and host institutions, corporations, and foundations around the world also provide direct and indirect support to the Program, which operates in over 160 countries worldwide. For further information about the Fulbright Program or the U.S. Department of State, please visit http://eca.state.gov/fulbright.     

Northwestern University was recently named a top producing institution of Fulbright winners for 2015-2016.

Northwestern students and alumni receive Fulbright and other grant support from the Office of Fellowships. For more information visit the Office of Fellowships website at www.northwestern.edu/fellowships.


  • W. Stephen Smith
  • voice
  • musicology