Music Building 1113
Germany and Eastern Europe, post-1945
Memory and Trauma Studies
Martha Sprigge is a historical musicologist whose research examines musical expressions of mourning, grief, and loss in Germany and Eastern Europe from 1945 to the present day. She is interested in how composers, performers, and audiences used music as an alternative to language in forming responses to the immense political, cultural, and individual upheavals induced by World War II and the Cold War. Dr. Sprigge is currently completing a book about musical mourning in the former German Democratic Republic (East Germany), where the ruling communist party tightly monitored public memory of the national past. Rather than view East German commemorative music as state-sponsored propaganda, Dr. Sprigge uncovers the multiple meanings of this vast repertoire to assert a place for music in the mourning process, and a place for mourning within the commemorative culture of the former East German state. Her articles and essays appear in the journals Twentieth-Century Music and the Journal of the Royal Musical Association, as well as the edited volumes Classical Music in the German Democratic Republic: Production and Reception (edited by Kyle Frackman and Larson Powell), and Dreams of Germany: Musical Imaginaries from the Concert Hall to the Dance Floor (edited by Neil Gregor and Thomas Irvine). An active member of both the American Musicological Society (AMS) and the German Studies Association (GSA), Dr. Sprigge is currently the chair of the Cold War and Music Study Group of the AMS (2018–2020).
Dr. Sprigge holds a PhD in music history and theory from the University of Chicago (2013) and a Bachelor of Music from the University of Toronto (2006). Her research has been supported by the American Council of Learned Societies (Dissertation Completion Fellowship, 2012–13), the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation (Sawyer Seminar Fellowship, 2011–12), and the American Musicological Society (Jan LaRue Travel Fund, 2011). Additionally, she was awarded the Stuart Tave Teaching Fellowship for course design at the University of Chicago (2012). Before joining the faculty at UCSB in 2015, she held a postdoctoral fellowship in the University of Michigan’s Society of Fellows, where she was cross-appointed in the Department of German and the School of Music.