Inessa Bazayev Named Ogden Honors College 2023–24 Sternberg Professor

February 26, 2024

Inessa Bazayev

The Roger Hadfield Ogden Honors College at LSU has selected Dr. Inessa Bazayev, Paula G. Manship Professor of Music Theory and Faculty Senate President, as the 2023–24 Erich and Lea Sternberg Honors Professor. Established by Lea Sternberg in 1996, the professorship is the highest award conferred to faculty by the Ogden Honors College.

Dr. Bazayev is an eminent scholar in Russian and Soviet music. Her scholarship has been published in top publications in her field. She remains one of the few music theorists in North America who is fluent in Russian, who seamlessly contextualizes Soviet theoretical writings within their times bringing clarity to the musical works that she studies. In the past decade, her research has brought forth musical works and Russian-language theoretical writings that were previously understudied and sometimes even unknown to the English-speaking world. Beyond her international and national academic recognition, she was interviewed for a New York Times article on the music of Futurist composer Nikolai Roslavets (May 2022). Dr. Bazayev brings a wealth of expertise to the unique academic experience offered to students at the Ogden Honors College.

"Dr. Bazayev's dynamic teaching approach, skillfully intertwining music theory with history, literature, and visual arts in her Honors seminars, reflects her integral role in providing students with a truly interdisciplinary perspective," said Ogden Honors College Dean Jonathan Earle. 

Bazayev's passion for interdisciplinary connections is rooted in her belief that music should not be analyzed in isolation but rather considered within its historical context and broader influences. Addressing the critique that music scholars often focus solely on notes, she asserts, “As theorists, we put the music under the microscope and seek relationships between musical ideas. For me, context is essential in fully understanding musical works, especially those written during tumultuous political times, like the Soviet era. And to ignore that important, consequential element is to leave an analysis incomplete and even misunderstood.” 

Describing herself as a "humanities student" during her college years, Bazayev cherishes the opportunity to create and teach diverse classes like Music and Power: From Cold War to 9/11 and Intersections Between Music & Art in the Twentieth Century in the Honors College, where she engages students from various disciplines across campus. While the School of Music caters exclusively to music majors, teaching in the Honors College challenges her to use history, arts, visual arts, and literature as a backdrop, ensuring a holistic understanding of music for students with varied backgrounds. 

"Honors students consistently bring a unique perspective to our discussions. My classes operate like mini graduate seminars where students prepare response papers ahead of each class. We then delve into the readings and assigned music, asking critical questions that are often insightful and provocative. The class dynamic is shaped by discussions stemming from these student response papers, guiding our collaborative activities during class. It's truly fascinating to witness students' profound insights into topics that are unfamiliar to them," expressed Bazayev.

Bazayev's upcoming lecture, scheduled for Thursday, April 18, at 4:30 p.m. in the Hans and Donna Sternberg Salon of the French House, promises a captivating exploration of Russian Futurism and its impact on the cultural, artistic, and political landscape.