Marta Robertson is an Associate Professor and teaches courses in Music History, Ethnomusicology, and Music Theory. She holds a B.M. from the University of Kansas and a M.A. and Ph.D. in Musicology from the University of Michigan. Dr. Robertson specializes in the intersection between music and movement, particularly in twentieth-century American and Latin American musics with dance. Her dissertation (University of Michigan, 1992), "'The Gift to Be Simple': The Collaboration of Aaron Copland and Martha Graham in the Genesis of Appalachian Spring," explored the collaborative artistic process in theatrical dance and introduced a methodology by which a musical score and choreography can be simultaneously analyzed. Her article, "Musical and Choreographic Integration in Copland's and Graham's Appalachian Spring: The Revivalist's Solo as Danced by Peter Sparling," appears in the Spring 1999 volume of Musical Quarterly. In the article she proposed a methodology for integrating the rhythmic analysis of music and choreography. The primary goal of this methodology was to produce an interdisciplinary analysis of two fields that frequently are considered mutually exclusive because of their highly specialized techniques.
As a musicologist with training in dance, Robertson turned to ethnographic techniques--interviewing former Graham Company dancer Peter Sparling--to bridge the fields of dance and music. As part of the Copland centenary in November 2000, Robertson and co-author Robin Armstrong completed Aaron Copland: A Guide to Research. This annotated bibliography and guide to Copland studies was released by Garland Publishing as part of its Composer Resource Manuals series. Robertson also gave guest lectures in places such as the Library of Congress during the Copland centenary celebrations. She also recently spent a summer in Guatemala and Mexico, participating in a National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute "The Maya World." Robertson has led Service Learning Projects to the Apache and Hopi Reservations in Arizona. Each of these trips have led to enriched classroom presentations and scholarly development.
In her classroom, Robertson is known for her enthusiasm and energetic discussions. The art music of Western European and North American traditions is often examined through the contextual methodologies of ethnomusicology. Both Western and non-Western repertoires are further examined within their artistic, historical, and cultural milieus, especially dance. In fact, Dr. Robertson often engages her students in physical movement to increase their kinesthetic understanding of the music.
B.M., University of Kansas
M.A., University of Michigan
Ph.D., University of Michigan