“I serve as the chair of the music department in a small and remote liberal arts college (Erskine College, in Due West, SC). In such an environment, I teach a broad range of things (the history and theory sequence for music majors, the core curriculum introduction to music, writing seminars, and themed courses that sometimes take me pretty far from music); I accompany students on piano and sometimes direct the chamber orchestra. I arrange and compose. As organist, I play for college events and fill-in in local churches. My favorite musical activity is serving as a keyboard continuo player, and in rural South Carolina I seldom get to do it. I’m also a horn player, and play in the Upstate Winds; there I’m keenly aware of my limitations compared to most of the other people in the ensemble. (I’m married to a horn player, too—much better than I am; she’s a public defender by day.)”
Some of that is still true, but as of Summer 2017 I took a new job as the chair of the music department at the University of Mary Washington (Fredericksburg, VA). The courses I teach will be generally similar, although I don’t expect to be teaching far afield from music. (I will particularly miss a course I used to teach at Erskine about Dorothy L. Sayers.) Although there is more continuo playing in Northern Virginia, I don’t expect to be doing it. My horn-playing days may be numbered, but I’m still married to a superior horn player; and long may that continue.
I find myself thinking about musical text all the time anyway, particularly when I am accompanying. I regularly review editions of music in the Music Library Association journal Notes. Otherwise most of my publications have involved my work on British music c. 1860s-1960s. Among these are critical editions of music by William Walton (orchestral works c. 1960 and suites derived from his film scores), and a further volume forthcoming of orchestral song cycles by Charles Villiers Stanford. Here are almost all of the sources for one of the works in the project, assembled fairly neatly for once:
Another major focus of my research has been the music of Arthur Sullivan. Textual issues abound at every turn. Indeed, it is the new wave of textual scholarship involving the Savoy operas (for example, this and this) that will revolutionize the scholarly understanding of those works. It is an exciting time to work on Gilbert & Sullivan. I have just started a project with a student preparing an edition of John Philip Sousa’s 1879 orchestration HMS Pinafore, reconstructing the score from parts preserved in Sydney, Australia. (Long story, and I don’t know it all.)
My hobbies: reading, vegetarian/vegan cooking, and childcare. (We’ve got three youngish kids—and two retired greyhounds.) There’s usually not much time for anything beyond that. If there is, my fourth hobby should be sleep.
Pronouns: he/him/his. My last name is pronounced as if the "y" were an "r": KIRK-in-dahl.