Sara Haefeli

Sara Haefeli
Scholar-in-Residence

Ithaca College associate professor Sara Haefeli teaches music history, music of the American avant garde, and philosophy of creativity courses. Her research focuses on the American experimental tradition and John Cage. She is the author of John Cage: A Research and Information Guide (Routledge, 2017) and her essay “HPSCHD, Gesamtkunstwerk, and Utopia” was published in the journal American Music (December 2008). She has presented her research at national and international conferences and festivals, including the festival Nuit d’Hiver in Marseille, France. Her recent work on Caroline Shaw’s Partita for 8 Voices is forthcoming in a collection of essays, Performing Experimentalism.

Haefeli is currently co-authoring the book A Brief Guide to Writing in Music and is editor-in-chief of the Journal of Music History Pedagogy. Her pedagogy research has been published in that journal as well as in the Norton Guide to Teaching Music History and the Information Literacy in Music: an Instructor’s Companion.  

Before joining the faculty in Ithaca in 2011, Haefeli taught for ten years at the University of Northern Colorado.  She was co-director with Paul Elwood of the Open Space Festival for New Music in Greeley, Colorado, from 2009-2011, where Haefeli helped organize diverse programs of new music that appealed to a wide demographic population. Guest artists included Christian Wolff, Stephen Drury and the Callithumpian Consort, Paul Rudy, and Jean-Claude Risset.

Haefeli is also an accomplished cellist. She has performed as a soloist and chamber musician, specializing in both early music and contemporary music performance.  While in Colorado she was a member of the baroque trio The Grand Canonical Ensemble and the psychedelic bluegrass trio The Prairie PrankstersShe appears on the Telarc recording, Definition of a Circle, by the trance blues banjo singer/songwriter Otis Taylor and the Westdeutscher Rundfunk recording of Among Men by the poet/composer Anne Tardos.

Haefeli earned her Ph.D. from the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana, where she was recognized as an outstanding educator. She studied cello performance at the University of Northern Colorado, and before she started her doctoral studies she was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to study in Vienna.