Throughout the years that Buffalo Bill’s Wild West toured the world, its band played an important role in setting the mood for each act of the show. On Wednesday, May 28 at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, Wyoming, Dr. Allison Robbins discusses how spectators responded to the music they heard during the performances and went on to create music of their own.
Robbins’s lecture is titled Creating Cowboy Music: Musical Responses to Buffalo Bill’s Wild West, 1887 – 1910. The free program takes place Wednesday, May 28 at 12:15 p.m. in the Center’s Coe Auditorium.
“As the Wild West toured America and Europe,” notes Robbins, “audiences experienced a musical representation of the American West in Buffalo Bill’s Cowboy Band.” Their experience often prompted them to create their own musical imaginings of life on the frontier.
As a Resident Fellow for the Buffalo Bill Center of the West, Robbins studied the musical responses to the music of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West from four locales—Manchester, England; Omaha, Nebraska; Billings, Montana; and Cody, Wyoming. In her presentation, she explores how people from these different places created cowboy music and shaped the way we understand the music of the American West.
Robbins is an Assistant Professor of Musicology at the University of Central Missouri. She earned her PhD in Critical and Comparative Studies in Music from the University of Virginia, where she was in residence as a Jefferson Scholars Fellow. In addition to music and the American West, Robbins’s research interests include Broadway and Hollywood musicals as well as film music. She has published articles in the Journal of the Society for American Music and in Studies in Musical Theatre, and has presented her research at several national conferences.
The Center of the West’s Resident Fellowship Program awards a limited number of research stipends each year to promising and established visiting western scholars. Fellows research, write, and develop ideas and manuscripts in areas of western study. They may pursue field research in the Cody area, the surrounding Greater Yellowstone region, or the Big Horn Basin and Mountains. They may also work in the Center’s library or museum collections. Scholars interested in submitting a proposal by this year’s mid-May deadline may find more information on the “Fellowship Program” page of the Center’s website.
Since 1917, the award-winning Buffalo Bill Center of the West has devoted itself to sharing the story of the authentic American West. The Center is an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution. For additional information, visit centerofthewest.org or the Center’s Facebook page.