Jon Churchill is a music scholar, performer, and educator. Currently a James B. Duke fellow at Duke University, Jon's research focuses on British Modernism, especially the works of Ralph Vaughan Williams and their intersection with musical nonlinearity. Other interests include rhythm in the 20th century, Motown, and the works of Per Nørgård. He holds a Master's in Musicology from The Pennsylvania State University (2016) with a thesis entitled "Psychological Reprieve in the Symphonies of Ralph Vaughan Williams" and a Bachelor's in Music Education from Western Connecticut State University (2010).
Before coming to Duke, Jon taught grades Pre-K through High School across the Bethel (CT) and Arlington (NY) Central School Districts as well as the King School of Stamford, CT. As a member of the El Sistema-affiliated Bravo! Waterbury program (CT), Jon introduced underprivileged children to the fundamentals of music theory, history, and performance.
Jon has also appeared in orchestral, theatrical, and session engagements across the United States, especially in and around New York City. As a theatre specialist, he has played drums or percussion for over 300 local and regional productions while maintaining a busy schedule as a symphonic player. He has served as principal percussionist for the Norwalk Symphony and as a section member of the Ridgefield, Danbury, Nutmeg, and New Haven symphonies, not to mention several wind ensembles and choirs across New England.
As half of the Invicta Marimba Duo, Jon has presented masterclasses across Connecticut and appeared at showcase concerts for Connecticut Music Educators Association and Percussive Arts Society conferences. He is a past winner of the James Furman concerto competition in both solo and chamber divisions.
Jon has presented his research on Ralph Vaughan Williams at meetings of the American Musicological Society, Royal Musical Association, and Nineteenth-Century Studies Association across the United States and England.
02 research interests & musicological activity
Preface to Frank Bridge, Dance Rhapsody (Munich: Musikproduktion Höflich, 2019).
“Gerald Finzi.” The Literary Encyclopedia. Published 19 October 2019.
Review of Nathan Waddell, Moonlighting: Beethoven and Literary Modernism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019), The Modernist Review, November 2019.
“Vaughan Williams’s Songs.” The Literary Encyclopedia. (forthcoming)
Instructor of Record, Duke University
Fall 2019, “Introduction to Music Theory”
Spring 2020, “Music Theory II” (Laboratory)
Graduate Assistant, Duke University
Fall 2017: “Music and Criticism” (Professor Bryan Gilliam)
Spring 2018: “Motown and American Soul Music” (Professors Anthony Kelley and Mark Anthony Neal)
Fall 2018: “The Life and Music of Stevie Wonder” (Professors Philip Rupprecht and Anthony Kelley)
Spring 2019: “Meet the Beatles and the 1960s” (Professor Tom Brothers)
Graduate Assistant, The Pennsylvania State University
Fall 2014: “Music Appreciation” (Professor Mark Ferraguto)
Spring 2015: “Music History III” (Professor Charles Youmans)
Fall 2015: “Music Theory II” (Professor Vincent Benitez)
Spring 2016: “Music Appreciation” (Professor Charles Youmans)
Music Theory Faculty, 2013
The King School (Stamford, CT)
Music Teacher, 2012-2014
- Sight-singing/aural skills
- Instrumental lessons, class keyboard/guitar, choral, string, and instrumental ensembles
Bethel Public Schools (CT)
District Music Substitute, 2011-2013
Arlington Central School District (NY)
Marching Band Front Field Coordinator, Winter Percussion Instructor, 2008-2014
Selected Conference Activity:
“The Blended Metropolis: Rupture as Environmental Confluence in Vaughan Williams’s A London Symphony,” Nineteenth-Century Studies Association Annual Meeting, March 2020
“A Second Battlefield: Semantic Exchange in Vaughan Williams’s London and Pastoral Symphonies,” Royal Musical Association/British Forum for Ethnomusicology Research Students Conference, Huddersfield, England, January 2018
“A Second Battlefield: Semantic Exchange in Vaughan Williams’s London and Pastoral Symphonies,” AMS Greater New York Chapter Meeting, January 2018
“Vaughan Williams and Musical Reprieve: The Locus Amoenus in Symphony No. 3,” AMS Allegheny Chapter Meeting, Fall 2015
Selected Awards and Honors:
James B. Duke Fellow, Duke University
International Dissertation Travel Research Award, Duke University
Summer Research Fellowship, Duke University
Society of Duke Fellows
Pi Kappa Lambda
Phi Lambda Theta
James Furman Chamber Music Competition Winner
James Furman Concerto Competition Winner
Funded Archival Research
Musical Rupture in Ralph Vaughan Williams's Compositional Process, 2019
"Nonlinear Gesture in the Symphonies of Ralph Vaughan Williams" (dissertation in progress)
20th-Century British Modernism
Popular Music (Grime, Motown, Prince, Stevie Wonder)
Music History/Theory Pedagogy
American Musicological Society
Society of Music Theory
Royal Musical Association
North American British Music Studies Association
The Ralph Vaughan Williams Society
Penn State Society of Music Theory and Musicology (Founder)
Selected Ensemble/Professional Affiliations:
New Haven Symphony
Nutmeg Winter Winds
Hudson Valley Symphonic Winds
Invicta Percussion Duo (Founder)
300+ local, regional, touring theatre productions
Extensive recording session experience (NYC)
American Federation of Musicians, Locals 514-87; 400