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 that 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, TV, video games, web content, and other media today. Using ethnographic methods and insights from media theory, science and technology studies, musicology, and human-computer interaction, she investigates the people, communication networks, economic infrastructures, and technologies that come together to produce custom and stock music for digital media. In addition, she explores questions of precarity in relation to gig-based and crowd-sourced 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.
Outside her research, Laura has also been very active in an administrative capacity at Yale. For the past two years (2018-20) she has served as a McDougal Career Fellow at the Office of Career Strategy, where she oversees career programming and resources for PhD students in the Humanities and Social Sciences. Prior to that appointment, she served three terms on the Yale Graduate Student Assembly (GSA), including two terms on the Executive Board and Steering Committee (2016-18), and one term as Vice Chair of the assembly (2017-18).