Playlist of the Week: What’s the Music Department Listening To?

Winter can be long, cold, and bleak, but music can transport us to warmer times. This week, The Phillipian interviewed Music Department faculty members for their winter song suggestions, along with selections from their “recently listened” music. From classical to pop, with featured artists such as Maggie Rogers or string quartet Attaca, faculty from the Music Department have recommended a wide range of music to explore. Read their interviews and scan the code below to listen to their selections!


Elizabeth Aureden, Instructor in Music

What have you been listening to recently?

I’ve been listening to mostly all string quartets, and they’re all by the same string quartet. They’re called the Attacca String Quartet, and they were really prolific during the pandemic. They came out with three albums. If I had to pick one piece of music that I would say is my playlist, I would say that it’s this piece called “Entr’acte” by this American composer named Caroline Shaw.

What specifically do you like about this song?

There are these places [in the piece] where it’s incredibly dissonant, and then it resolves in this beautiful, beautiful way. The piece unfolds over time. It’s about ten minutes long, but it’s really beautiful—you enter into this “sound world” that, every time I listen to it, I get totally pulled into. I listen to it a lot in the car when I’m driving, to work or home. 


Holly Barnes, Instructor in Music and Director of Performance

What are some songs you’ve been listening to recently?

I listen to a lot of classical music, because I’m a classical musician, but in Winter Term, I teach songwriting. So then, I tend to listen to a lot of popular stuff, because that’s what I’m teaching.

One person I really like, and I’m actually going to talk about her this week in the class is Maggie Rogers. She has a song called “Alaska” that’s very upbeat. At the time, she was sort of up and coming… at the [Tisch School of the Arts]. She’s very talented, and she just got writer’s block. She had been writing and singing music her whole life, and then when she got to college, after a year or two, she just couldn’t write anything. And it’s just interesting to see her trajectory. So, she went to France, and she hiked a whole lot…She took all these dance classes, modern dance, and found her mojo again, and came back to school, and wrote this song called “Alaska.” It’s really interesting because it takes place outdoors in this beautiful sort of outdoor setting in this forest and everything’s really green, which is really nice right now because it’s winter.


Christina Landolt, Instructor in Music

Often, in the winter, I enjoy listening to music that reminds me of summer. I find it helps me get through long winter nights to know that the sun will be shining brighter soon, that the days will be longer, with late evening dinners outside and long lazy days with my boys at home. 

But this winter, I’m shifting to music that’s fairly new to me, searching for songs to include in a new course I’m developing: Music for Social Justice. I’m looking for music that connects people during times of crisis, expresses a common experience, gives people a sense of hope and togetherness when facing impossible and sustained injustice. 

I’ve always felt that the most powerful thing about music was its ability to transport you to a different time or place, such as from winter to summer. But what other ways can it transport us, from fear to hope, from violence to peace, from injustice to justice?

The course is still in early development but keep an eye out for it. Anyone reading this who wants to send me recommendations, please do!  Music, movies, books, anything!


Vincent Monaco, Instructor in Music

A lot of the music I listened to is music that I listened to 40 or 50 years ago. There’s a song that comes to mind by a band. The name of the band is Mallard… the name of the song is “Your Face On Someone Else,” and I really like that tune… It’s the first line ‘I saw your face on someone else today. I should have turned and walked away. But like a child, I just had to stop and stare. Your face is strange when you’re not there.’ Then it goes on from there. It’s really pretty cool.


Editor’s Note: Interviews have been edited for length and clarity.