Beauty and Innovation in la machine chinoise
Falla, Debussy, Ravel, Roussel . . .
Richard E. Mueller
April 30, 2018
Richard E. Mueller: Richard Mueller, an independent scholar and a native of the Midwest, is a pianist, organist, musicologist, and composer. He received degrees in music from Harvard (’66), Indiana (Music Theory, ’70), and the University of Chicago (MA, composition, ’75 and PhD, musicology, ’83). An expert on Indonesian music and its influence on Western composers, he became interested in exoticism in music when he lived in Freetown, Sierra Leone as a Peace Corps music teacher in the late ‘60s. He was the accompanist for the Chicago Children’s Choir from 1976 to 1988. He has taught at Holy Cross and the University of Connecticut. His work as a private piano teacher and church organist and choir director spans his entire life. Awarded membership in the National Guild of Piano Teachers’ Hall of Fame, he has been active as a recitalist in far-flung locales, Freetown, Rome, Guatemala City, and Tepotzotlán, Mexico, as well as familiar venues in Omaha, Boston, Chicago, and Connecticut. His article “Javanese Influence on Debussy’s Fanataisie and Beyond” (19th Century Music, ’86) has been widely cited in the literature. Two years living in Granada, Spain and carrying out research at the Falla Archive brought his book on Falla, Debussy, Ravel, and Roussel to completion. Various fellowships enabled him to carry out research on exoticism at the Newberry and J. Pierpont Morgan libraries, the Royaumont Foundation and the Bibliothèque Nationale in France, and Cambridge University in England.