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About Allison


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, tentatively titled "Documentary Opera: Archives, Identities, and Politics in Contemporary American Opera," explores the growing trend of American contemporary opera grounded in primary source materials and its surrounding industry efforts to make opera socially and politically relevant. Intersecting opera studies, theater & performance studies, and documentary studies, this research argues that American documentary operas employ specific narratives, often from individuals who have been historically marginalized, to counter standard and hegemonic narratives of United States history. Her research has been supported by the Yale Center for Race, Indigeneity, and Transnational Migration (RITM).

​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. Allison was awarded a University of Michigan EXCEL Enterprise Fund grant to research blackface minstrelsy, the representation of Black cultural life, and genre hybridity in George Gershwin’s Blue Monday. This research will be published in a forthcoming chapter in the Oxford Handbook for the Television Musical. She has previously been a graduate 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. For the 2022-2023 academic year, 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 2020 Lakes Area Music Festival and the 2021 Connecticut SummerFest, and as one of the founding members of the Midnight Oil Collective. She also writes for Boston Lyric Opera. Outside of scholarly work, Allison enjoys reading novels, traveling, and playing chamber music.

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.

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