I am interested in the aesthetics and politics of improvisation broadly, and specifically in the relationship between improvised music and improvised social life. In my work, I argue that tracing improvisation between the musical and the quotidian requires re-evaluating how we understand improvisation in the first place. Using “contingency” as my central theoretical framework, I argue that improvisation is not a creative capacity proper to the acting subject, but is rather coextensive with a contingent encounter between subjects, objects, and multiple environments.

My research currently focuses on three examples of “transatlantic improvised music”: Eric Dolphy, John Cage, and contemporary Norwegian free improvisers, Mr. K.

In addition to my book project, I also work in popular music studies, and among other projects, I am currently researching feminist affect in American grunge and indie-rock.



“Rancière and Improvisation: Reading Contingency in Music and
Politics,” in Rancière and Music, ed. Chris Stover, Patrick Nickleson, João Pedro Cachopo (forthcoming, Edinburgh University Press).

“This and The Coming Crisis: Reid Anderson, Dave King, and Craig Taborn’s Golden Valley Is Now“, Blog/Los Angeles Review of Books (online, February 3, 2020).

“Tik Tok: Post-Crash Party Pop, Compulsory Presentism, and the 2008 Financial Collapse”, Sounding Out! (online, October 21, 2019).

“Improvisation as Contingent Encounter, Or: The Song of My Toothbrush”, Critical Studies in Improvisation/Études critiques en improvisation vol. 12, no. 2.

“Improvising What?”: A Review of Georgina Born, Eric Lewis, and Will Straw’s Improvisation and Social Aesthetics, boundary 2 online (October 11, 2017).  


Epistemology Series–Contingency and Everyday Improvisation“, Sound it Out with Rachel Elliott.

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