Cody Jones

By William & Mary

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Composed from the Closet: Connecting the Life and Music of Ingolf Dahl 

The focus of my project is to connect the musical compositions and personal life of German-born American composer Ingolf Dahl (1912-1970). After fleeing Europe during the rise of the Nazi Party in the 1930s, Dahl established a successful career as a musician, educator, and composer in southern California during the middle of the twentieth century. To protect his career, Dahl hid his homosexuality and his German and Jewish heritage from his colleagues, friends, and his family. Despite being so deeply closeted, Dahl included clear indicators for people with whom he had romantic relationships in several of his compositions written at the end of 1960s. My research focuses on these compositions. To conduct the bulk of my research, I will travel to the University of Southern California to study the archive of Dahl's professional and personal papers. This includes his personal and professional correspondence, manuscripts and—most importantly—his daybooks, or personal diaries in which he wrote his most intimate thoughts. I hope that my research will break the composer's boundaries between his personal and professional lives and shine a light on this neglected figure of twentieth century music, and I believe that my research will strengthen our understanding of the ways in which personal identity and relationships influence a composer's musical output.

All William & Mary Honors Fellowships fundraising supports the Charles Center Honors Fellowships Fund. Direct support for individual undergraduate research projects is distributed by the Roy R. Charles Center for Academic Excellence. To learn more about Honors Fellowships, please visit our About page. If you have questions, please visit our FAQ page.

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