At the outset of the fall 2019 semester, music professor Anna Zayaruznaya, who has been teaching at Yale for six years, was appointed the Music Department’s director of undergraduate studies.

After former department Chair James Hepokoski, the Henry L. and Lucy G. Moses Professor of Music, retired last spring, music professor Ian Quinn was promoted to the position of chair, creating a vacancy in the DUS position for Zayaruznaya. Before arriving at Yale in 2014, Zayaruznaya received her Ph.D. in historical musicology from Harvard University and taught at both New York University and Princeton University. She has received awards and fellowships from the American Musicological Society, the Institute of Advanced Study at Princeton University and the Radcliffe Institute of Advanced Studies at Harvard.

Zayaruznaya said her new position has been fun thus far, allowing her to interact with a “broader swath” of undergraduates. Her work primarily entails explaining the requirements and goals of the music major, which experienced a momentous shift in the fall
of 2018, when the department implemented a new set of requirements with a wider scope.

“During his term as DUS, Ian instituted the new major,” Zayaruznaya said. “There are some details that remain to be worked out. I think of my role right now as to implement this new major.”

The shift in the requirements of the music major resulted from the faculty’s desire to increase the major’s accessibility while maintaining the program’s prestigious reputation. One change includes the addition of a non-Western music requirement, diversifying the course offerings and decreasing the major’s emphasis on formal theory requirements.

In a 2018 interview with the News, Quinn said that “ultimately, the new major was triggered by the expansion of Yale College. It seemed like a good moment for us to rethink what it is that we’re trying to do and see how we can offer this major to more people.”

This semester —  in the non-Western music group — the department is offering the first of two courses in a yearlong jazz history sequence, courses in the music of both Asia and the Middle East and a course on electronic dance music.

Zayaruznaya will be up for tenure in the near future. Different departments have specific preferences for whether the DUS is a tenured or untenured professor. Zayaruznaya explained that the DUS position generally places an administrative workload on an untenured professor, which has the potential to detract time from research. But in the Music Department, she added that a reduction in teaching time compensates for this increased administrative workload and that the department’s small faculty size fosters a supportive community.

“In a department like ours, it’s small enough that most people already have done one of these roles, or aren’t in a place where they want to do one right now,” Zayaruznaya said. “For me, this is sort of ‘Admin 101.’”

Music majors described Quinn and Zayaruznaya as well-liked. Emery Kerekes ’21 said that he was “thrilled” at the news of Zayaruznaya’s appointment.

“She excitedly supports both those of us who specialize in the more traditional curriculum of Western art music and those who want to take different routes that, until recently, were not offered in the music major,” Kerekes said. “With her at the helm, I have no doubt the major will flourish.”

Alex Whittington ’22, a music major, noted that because the new major is all he’s known, his academic life hasn’t been “radically shaken up.”

“It was nice to be able to take one class with Hepokoski, but faculties change, and I don’t think the quality of my education is being diminished in any way,” Whittington said. “Dr. Zayaruznaya is a wonderful professor, and my limited interactions with her have all been very pleasant.”

In his retirement, Hepokoski moved to Minnesota and has undergone a personal project: to build a web archive of online teaching materials selected from his forty years of experience. This archive of course syllabi, lecture notes, unpublished writings and other works is intended to function as a public resource for music scholars and teachers. The archive is supplemented by a personal blog in which Hepokoski intends to post thoughts about musical works and approaches to study, among other topics.

Hepokoski was well-known at Yale among music majors for his courses in the previously mandatory history sequence: “Music 351,” which covers the years 1600–1800, and Music 352, which covers 1800–1950.

Rianna Turner |