Coordinator, Aural Skills
Supervision of research projects
Eastman School of Music, (ABD)
Eastman School of Music, MA
Vassar College, BA
Alex J. Kuczynski is visiting instructor of Music Theory, currently supervising first-year written music theory at Nazareth. As a PhD candidate in Music Theory at the Eastman School of Music, ABD, and a pianist, Alex is especially concerned about the ways in which music analysis relates to matters of interpretation, intuition and performance.
At age 12, in middle school, Alex began accompanying for multiple choirs and small ensembles, and discovered a love for singing and piano playing in the process, as well as a natural curiosity for how music fits together. He continued accompanying all four years in high school and won the title of all-state accompanist for the PMEA All-State Choral Festival during senior year, after winning district and regional competitions. At Vassar College, Alex was employed as music department accompanist, where he performed with large choirs, individual singers, instrumental soloists, and chamber groups. He won a school-wide concerto competition in 2003, soloed with the orchestra soon after, and played a senior solo recital in 2004. After earning a BA from Vassar in 2004, with a double major in music and cognitive science, Alex entered into the MA/PhD degree in music theory at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY. While at Eastman, Alex served continuously as Teaching Assistant and Graduate Instructor of music theory over several years, and has taught the entire undergraduate theory curriculum including first-, second- and third-year written theory and aural musicianship courses. During graduate school, Alex continued intensive piano studies and attended the Chautauqua piano festival for three consecutive summers, followed by the recent 2013 Rebecca Penneys Piano Festival in Tampa, FL, all chaired by his piano teacher Rebecca Penneys. In his short time at Nazareth, as well, Alex has been thrilled to accompany ensembles and individual musicians as needed by the department.
Currently, Alex's mission as a theorist-pianist is to show how Schenkerian theory, in all its manifestations from earliest to latest forms, is driven by practical questions regarding performance and instrumental mastery. In his dissertation, under the supervision of Dr. Jonathan Dunsby and Dr. Elizabeth West Marvin, Alex argues despite vastly differing opinions that Heinrich Schenker's mature analytical techniques, including the Urlinie Tafel, have a special relationship to musical sound, effect, and individuality. It is Alex's mission, further, to show that performance-based concerns hold the key to extending Schenkerian theory in a meaningful way to later repertoire than that upon which it is originally based, which is largely considered traditional. His dissertation includes detailed multi-layered graphs of Beethoven sonatas and virtuosic, lyrical works of Liszt, Ravel and Debussy. This has led to a new organic-thematic hybrid type of analysis to engage thematic compositional styles of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, thereby fusing together Schenker's and Schoenberg's divergent concepts of unity and organicism, where applicable. Additionally, Alex graphs pieces only after he has fully learned and memorized them, and usually presents his theoretical work in lecture-recital format so that elements of analysis and musical depth may be directly tied to matters of interpretation, score reading and execution. Alex's piano teachers include Rebecca Penneys, Eastman School of Music; Patricia Hanson, Eastman School of Music; and Blanca Uribe, Vassar College.