Sophie's dissertation explores how movement between Africa and Europe shaped mid-twentieth-century experimental music. She proposes that African radio technicians and musicians in the 1950s-1970s were central to the development of experimental avant-garde music. While scholars have long associated experimental music with composers and institutions in Europe and North America, and more recently Latin America and the Middle East, her research explores the previously unrecognized contributions of African musicians and technicians during this vital period. Not only were African musicians significantly involved in experimental music making within their own countries and regional context, they also influenced twentieth-century popular and art music all over the world—from musique concrète to New Wave. By centering these actors in the history of experimental music, her work reveals its global interconnectedness. In addition to offering a more complete history of experimental music, she also complicates conventional notions of African music, which is usually defined according to the binary categories of either traditional or popular music.
At Princeton, she has taught undergraduate courses on American music and recording technology (AMS 399 for Professor Emily Thompson) and Western symphonic repertoire (MUS 225 for Professor Ruth Ochs).
An alto in the Princeton University Glee Club and Early Music Princeton, Sophie is also a Resident Graduate Student at Forbes College, a Graduate Writing Center Fellow, and a member of the Student Friends of the Princeton University Library.
Sophie has written program notes to accompany concerts and operas for The Glimmerglass Festival, Bard Music Festival, Princeton University Concerts, and others. Sample notes are available upon request.
Recognition & Awards
Pre-Doctoral Fellowship, West African Research Association, 2020
Annual Meeting Travel Award, Society for Ethnomusicology, 2019
Roy Dickinson Welch Fellowship in Music, Princeton University, 2017-2018
Emerging Leader in the New York Arts, 2016-2017
The W. Caball Greet Prize for Excellence in English Literature, Barnard College, 2015
Phi Beta Kappa, 2015
“Review: International Music Score Library Project (IMSLP).” Journal of the American Musicological Society 72, No. 3 (December 2019).