Allison Chu is a music scholar, educator, and Ph.D. candidate in Music History at Yale University. Her primary research areas include American opera in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, contemporary classical music, and representations of identity on and off the stage. Her dissertation project, titled "Documentary Opera: Archives, Identity, and Politics in Contemporary American Opera," traces the growing trend of American documentary operas written in the last twenty years, exploring the intersection between different media of documentary source materials and the identities the materials represent. Intersecting opera studies, theater & performance studies, and documentary studies, her research illustrates how American documentary operas endeavor to capture a specific historical context through sound and to represent the affordances of music in foregrounding particular stories. In so doing, she argues that American contemporary documentary opera presents a subversive means of cultural performance for historically marginalized artists today. Her research has been supported by the Yale Center for the Study of Race, Indigeneity, and Transnational Migration (RITM), the Yale Asian American Cultural Center Satoda Scholars program, and the University of Michigan EXCEL Enterprise Fund.
Before coming to Yale, Allison received her Bachelor of Music in Clarinet Performance (2019) with highest honors and her Bachelor of English (2019) with high distinction from the University of Michigan. From 2017 to 2019, she worked with the University of Michigan Gershwin Initiative as an Editorial Assistant. She has also served as a research assistant for the 2020-22 Mellon Sawyer Seminar at Yale, “The Order of Multitudes: Atlas, Encyclopedia, Museum,” which studies the relationship between long histories of information organization and the contemporary digital moment in the age of Big Data. Currently, Allison serves as a McDougal Graduate Teaching Fellow for the Yale Poorvu Center for Teaching and Learning, leading workshops and trainings on effective and innovative teaching.
Allison is one of the founding members of the Grant Hagan Society, a graduate student-led affinity group that supports people of color in the Yale Department of Music. She served as a co-chair from 2020-2022 and on behalf of the society, she was awarded a Teaching Innovation Project grant from the Yale Poorvu Center for Teaching and Learning to build the web resource, "Diversifying Music Studies," accessible on GHS's website. Beyond Yale, Allison is an active volunteer for the Asian Opera Alliance.
Allison is invested in bridging the gap between performers and scholars, practicing public musicology through engagements such as her position as guest lecturer for the Connecticut SummerFest, and as the Artistic Board President and co-founder of the Midnight Oil Collective. She also writes for the Boston Lyric Opera.
Creators Investing in Creators.
Midnight Oil Collective is a venture studio that incubates, accelerates, and invests in arts and entertainment ventures. We combine best practices of venture capitalism and cooperative economics, providing early funding to promising projects and supporting them as they bring their ideas to fruition. It is a model formed by the minds of artists with the specific needs of artists in mind.