Team

Team

Bissera V. Pentcheva, PI, Full professor in Art History, Stanford University. Her innovative work in acoustics, art, and music has redefined the field of Byzantine art architecture, see her collaborative multi-disciplinary project Icons of Sound, https://ccrma.stanford.edu/groups/iconsofsound/film/. Her work is informed by anthropology, music, and phenomenology, placing the attention on the changing appearance of objects and architectural spaces. She relies on film to capture this temporal animation stirred by candlelight. Another important strand of her work engages the sonic envelope of the visual–music and acoustics–and employs auralizations that digitally imprint the performance of chant with the acoustic signature of the specific interior for which it was composed. Her current book project explores the art and music of Ste. Foy at Conques. 

Pentcheva has published three books with Pennsylvania State University Press: Icons and Power: The Mother of God in Byzantium, 2006 (received the Nicholas Brown Prize of the Medieval Academy of America, 2010), The Sensual Icon: Space, Ritual, and the Senses in Byzantium, 2010, and Hagia Sophia: Sound, Space and Spirit in Byzantium, 2017 (received the 2018 American Academy of Religion Award in excellence in historical studies). She has edited two volumes: Aural Architecture in Byzantium: Music, Acoustics, and Ritual, Ashgate 2018 and Icons of Sound: Architecture, Music and Imagination in Medieval Art, Routledge, Routledge 2020. 

Pentcheva’s research has been supported by a number of prestigious fellowships:  Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin (2018-2019), J. S. Guggenheim (2017-2018), American Academy in Rome (2017-2018), Mellon New Directions (2010-2012), Humboldt (2006-2009) and a Dumbarton Oaks Junior Fellowship (2000-2001).

Laura Steenberge is an interdisciplinary composer and performer who works with music, language, gesture, and mythology. Her creative and research practice encompasses vocal composition and songwriting, performance experiments with audiovisual and ceremonial practices, research on word painting in medieval chant, and solo performance with contrabass and viola da gamba. She is the creator of the Imaginary Music Radio Hour (2017-2018) and founder of the Elsewhere Institute (2021), dedicated to the creation and study of music and communication at the borderlands of the mundane reality. She has taught experimental sound practices at the California Institute of the Arts and Stanford University, and currently resides in Asheville, NC.

Argenta Walther, mezzo-soprano, is a dedicated singer of music from the sacred medieval to the modern experimental, currently living and working in Los Angeles. She performs on a regular basis at some of the city’s best-loved venues, including the blue whale, REDCAT, Automata, Saint John’s Cathedral and the Museum of Jurassic Technology. Argenta is a frequent guest artist with both new, jazz, traditional classical and early music groups including Bach Collegium San Diego, People Inside Electronics, The Alexander Noice Sextet and Southland Ensemble.  She is a founder of the contemporary vocal group Accordant Commons, and is one of the directing members of Ensemble Vocatrix, a group dedicated to the music of Hildegard von Bingen. Argenta is a student of somatic movement and expression and integrates this embodied approach with her work as a music educator and performing artist.

Jonathan S. Abel is an Adjunct Professor at the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA) in the Music Department at Stanford University, working in audio and music applications of signal and array processing, parameter estimation, and acoustics. Abel was co-founder and CTO of the GRAMMY-winning Universal Audio. He was a researcher at NASA/ARC and a lecturer at Yale. Abel has worked with Apple, Dolby, FDNY, LSI Logic, L3 Technologies, LR Baggs, Native Instruments, SAIC, Sennheiser, Triple Ring, and the US NRL on projects in professional audio, GPS, fire department siting and deployment, medical imaging, room acoustics measurement, passive sonar, and microsiesmic signal processing. He holds PhD and MS degrees from Stanford, and an SB from MIT, all in electrical engineering. Abel is a Fellow of the Audio Engineering Society for contributions to audio effects processing.

Duygu Eruçman is a video producer who is curious about the world. Her short documentaries have been shown in film festivals internationally and in her everyday work she produces educational and advocacy videos. Duygu holds a BA in Political Science and International Relations from Bogazici University in Istanbul, Turkey, and an MFA in Documentary Film and Video from Stanford University, where she was a recipient of the 2011-2012 C. Diana Christensen Fellowship. She is currently based in the Washington D.C. area.

Miguel Novelo is an experimental media artist, filmmaker, and cultural event creator from Campeche, Mexico, now based between the Bay Area in the USA and the Peninsula of Yucatan in Mexico. Graduated from Escuela TAI with an associate degree (2013) and from SFAI with a BFA (2018). Novelo is an MFA Candidate (2022) at Stanford Art & Art History Dept. and a Graduate Public Service Fellow alumni (2021) at Hass Center for Public Service. 

Miguel has exhibited internationally at museums, galleries, and film festivals, including the De Young Museum in San Francisco, Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo in Mexico City, Festival Internacional de Cine en Morelia, Sheffield Doc/Fest, and many others. 

Emma S. Bowers is a recent graduate of the Architectural Design program at Stanford University. Her research focuses on the lifecycles and aging processes of existing buildings, as well as on the cultural and physical evolution of medieval architecture. Emma is currently a master’s student in the Structural Engineering and Geomechanics program at Stanford, and she hopes her future work will combine architecture, engineering, art history, and archaeology to address some of the most pressing issues in today’s built environment.

Jessica Lee is an undergraduate student who does illustration, photoshopping, and animation for the EnChanted Images project. 

Oleg Savunov is a third-year MFA candidate in the Department of Art Practice at Stanford University. He studied press photography at the Faculty of Press Photographers of Saint-Petersburg, Russia (2012). Then, he sharpened his photography skills at the Fotodepartament Institute of Saint-Petersburg, where most of his current interests and style have developed (2015). Oleg’s works were published in several online magazines: Amuse by Vice, The Guardian, F-Stop, Calvert Journal, GEO, and The Village. His photographs and installations have been exhibited in Russia, Spain, Italy, and United States. Oleg is a photographer and a lens-based artist. His field of interest ranges from photographic documentary projects to conceptual lens-based works exploring philosophical and existential questions by using the photographic medium.

Danny Smith is an art historian and curator who lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. He holds a PhD in Medieval Art History at Stanford (2021) and an MA in Art History from Williams College and currently oversees arts and cultural programming at The Neighborhood: An Urban Center for Jewish Heritage.

Daniel Koplitz, baritone, is a scholar-performer and choral director, currently pursuing a Ph.D. in historical musicology at Stanford. Praised for their “impeccable music direction” and “exquisite performances” (Shepherd Express, 2019), Daniel specializes in Christian music of the Western Middle Ages and Renaissance, with interests in historically informed performance practice, late medieval religious experience, and the notion of sound as an instrument of power. They are the founder of the Milwaukee-based vocal early music ensemble Aperi Animam (est. 2017) as well as the Stanford-based Neuma (est. 2022), which will be featured at the Enchanted Images exhibition opening in January 2023. Daniel currently sings Gregorian chant and Renaissance polyphony each week as a lay singer at St. Thomas Aquinas Church in Palo Alto under the direction of William Mahrt.

Korea-born, California-based Christina Kim is an active music scholar, singer, and educator. She is a Ph.D. candidate in Musicology at Stanford University, where she is pursuing her interest in Medieval and Renaissance sacred music, specifically plainchant, liturgy, and malleability in Mexico. Kim’s passion for music studies began at Pasadena City College. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Musicology from the University of California, Los Angeles, where she graduated summa cum laude and was chosen as the music department’s commencement speaker.

Maria Terss is a PhD Candidate in Byzantine and Medieval art history at the Stanford Art & Art History Department. Maria’s work explores the dialogical relationship between the Medieval West and the Byzantine East through image, word and liturgy. Specifically, she uncovers how glory—doxa in Greek and gloria in Latin—was used to express the orthodoxy of iconophile art. In ninth-century post-Iconoclast papal Rome and Constantinople orthodoxy as “upright glory” is conveyed aesthetically with the manipulation of light, color and form.  

Susana Canales Barrón is an Indigenous Mexican-American filmmaker based in Northern California. She graduated summa cum laude from UC Davis with a B.A. in Cinema and Digital Media and a minor in Theatre and Dance. Currently, she is working on an MFA in Documentary Filmmaking at Stanford. Her short film, “un barco para mi mamá,” premiered at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival.

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