Laura Brown (2014) is a PhD candidate in the music history program. Prior to arriving at Yale, Laura completed a Master of Arts in Musicology at the Pennsylvania State University, as well as Bachelor of Arts degrees in Music and Russian with honors from the Schreyer Honors College. During this time, Laura worked extensively on Russian music: her master’s thesis focused on Prokofiev’s musical education, and she published portions of this research in the Prokofiev journal, Three Oranges. She has also presented work on Russian music at conferences both in the US and in Russia.
During her time at Yale, Laura’s interests have shifted toward the 21st century, and toward new modes of producing and engaging with music in the digital age. Her dissertation focuses on digital music production within the freelance economy of independent and DIY film, web content, and other audiovisual media production in the US today. Using ethnographic methods and insights from science and technology studies, film music scholarship, and popular music scholarship, she investigates the assemblage of people, communication tools, and technologies that come together to complete independent and DIY projects and considers the role of music production technologies like DAWs and virtual instrument sample libraries in this assemblage. In addition, she explores questions of precarity in relation to gig-based labor, the social and economic implications of new modes of music production, and the ways in which all of these factors help to reshape what it means to be a “composer” in the digital age.
At Yale Laura is also very active in the Graduate Student Assembly (GSA), which democratically represents all departments of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Laura served on the Executive Board and Steering Committee of the GSA for the 2016-17 academic year, and was elected to serve as Vice Chair of the assembly for the 2017-18 academic year.