Assistant Professor of Music History and Literature
Dr. David Clem is the part-time Assistant Professor of Music History at the Greatbatch School of Music, Houghton College. On the undergraduate level he teaches survey courses in the History of Western Music, Film Music, and American Popular Music. At the graduate level he teaches Research and Bibliography, various special topics seminars in Music History, and the MHUM seminar called Music, Worship, and Culture in Christian Perspective.
His dissertation, “O Fortuna and the Mythic Medieval: A Study in Multimedia Receptions,” completed under the direction of James Currie, builds on the work of Michael Long to explore the potential of register theory as an approach to the analysis of pre-existing music used in various multimedia contexts. Other research interests include the theory and history of musical multimedia, music and philosophy, and the application of linguistic models from semiotics and pragmatics to music. He regularly presents research at the Music and the Moving Image Conference held annually at NYU’s Steinhardt School. He has also delivered papers in various formats at the Society for American Music, and on the Houghton College Faculty Lecture Series.
In addition to his musicological research, David is active as a composer and violist in Western New York. He performs regularly as a section violist with the Southern Tier Symphony, and with the Houghton Symphony Orchestra. He also maintains connections with several Buffalo area ensembles: He played for 10 years as a section violist and served on the Conductor Search Committee for the Cheektowaga Community Symphony Orchestra; He also has had several works performed by the Amherst Chamber Ensembles, Inc., where he served for ten years as a section violist, for nine years as a Board Member, and two years as Board Chairman.
- Ph.D. in Historical Musicology and Music Theory, University at Buffalo, SUNY
- M.A. in Music History, University at Buffalo, SUNY
- M.Mus. in Composition, Greatbatch School of Music, Houghton College
- B.Mus. in Composition, Greatbatch School of Music at Houghton College
I love to talk about music, and I love history. I am drawn to explore the movements of people, ideas, and culture that have brought us to where we are today, and the role that music plays in them. The Greatbatch School of Music provides a place for me to do these things that I love within the framework of an intentional integration of Christian faith and worldview. I am blessed to be part of this wonderful community of faculty, staff, and students.
- “Music, Magic and the Intermedial Gap, or How Music Aids the Adaptation Process in the Harry Potter Films” in Harry Potter Intermedial: Untersuchungen zu den (Film-)Welten Joanne K. Rowlings, edited by Philipp Schmerheim. Würzburg, Germany: Königshausen & Neumann, 2013. pp. 41-59.
- “Hope Against Fate or Fata Morgana: Music and Mythopoiesis in John Boorman’s Excalibur” in the Oxford Handbook on Music and Medievalism. edited by Stephen Meyer and Kristen Yri. New York: Oxford University Press, 2020. pp. 662-689.
- “The Epic in Contemporary Media” in the Oxford Handbook on Music and Advertising. edited by James Deaville, Siu-Lan Tan, and Ron Rodman. New York: Oxford University Press, 2021. pp. 488-504.
Film and Television Music, Intertextuality, Register Theory, Opera, Aesthetics, Semiotics, Philosophy of Music
- “From the Music of the Spheres to the Music in Our Ears: How did we get here from our yesteryears.”
January 2021: Presented Online by Invitation from the Erie Junior Philharmonic.
- “Two Dance Scenes and a Wedding: Gender, Genre, and Music in Excalibur”
May 2018: Presented at the Music and the Moving Image Conference, NYU Steinhardt
- “Medievalism Goes Commercial: ‘O Fortuna’ and the Epic in Contemporary Media
September 7, 2017: Faculty Lecture Series, Houghton College
- “O Fortuna” and the “Epic” in Contemporary Media
March 2016: Presented as Poster at Society for American Music Annual Conference, Boston, MA
May 2016: Presented at the Music and the Moving Image Conference, NYU Steinhardt
- Citizen Kane Revisited: Romantic Realism, the Modern Subject, and Herrmann’s Score
March 2013: Presented at Society for American Music Annual Conference, Little Rock, AR
May 2015: Presented at Music and the Moving Image Conference, NYU Steinhardt
- Mapping Intertextual Discourse in Excalibur (1981)
May 2014: Presented and the Music and the Moving Image Conference, NYU Steinhardt
- Paradise Lost?: Comparing Cultural Coding in the Music for Hawaii Five-O (1968-1980) and Hawaii Five-0 (2010-2011)
March 2012: Presented in Seminar Session at Society for American Music Annual Conference, Charlotte, NC
May 2012: Presented at Music and the Moving Image Conference, NYU Steinhardt
- Colonel Bogey’s March: Intertextual Strains
May 2011: Presented at the Music and the Moving Image Conference, NYU Steinhardt
- Copland as Film Composer: An Examination of his Score for Our Town
May 2010: Presented at the Music and the Moving Image Conference, NYU Steinhardt
Honors and Awards
- 2019: Nominee for Excellence in Teaching Award (Houghton College)
- 2015: GSEU Retention Award (University at Buffalo, SUNY)
- 2014: GSEU Retention Award (University at Buffalo, SUNY)
- 2011-2015: Presidential Fellowship (University at Buffalo, SUNY)
- 2011-2015: Teaching Assistantship (University at Buffalo, SUNY)
- 2006: Buffalo Philharmonic Young Composer’s Forum (Selected to have piece read)
- 2005-2007: Full Graduate Assistantship (Greatbatch School of Music)
- 2001-2005: Music Scholarship (Greatbatch School of Music)
- Music History Survey
- Intro to Film Music
- History of Rock and Roll and Commercial Music
- Research and Bibliography
- Graduate History Review
- Music, Worship, and Culture in a Christian Perspective
- Seminars in Music History