Andrew Malilay White is from Guam, where his family still resides. He first began studying music theory and piano performance at the University of Guam. He received degrees from the University of Notre Dame, New York University, and the University of Chicago.
Andrew researches how nineteenth-century pianists practiced in order to improvise. These improvisatory practice methods were linked to thoroughbass and related eighteenth-century practices like the partimento tradition, but in many cases were chordal and “harmonic” in conception. This research is based on the pedagogical materials of Carl Czerny, Simon Sechter, and Friedrich Wieck, as well as sketches and works by Clara Schumann and Franz Liszt and accounts of their playing and improvisation. His secondary interests include topic theory, live coding music, and the anthropology of skill. He has given public improvised performances not only at the piano, but also using electronic live-coding environments, and has given improvised performances that combine the two in a continuous piano-and-electronics texture.
In 2018 Andrew’s research was supported by a Eugene K. Wolf Grant for European Research from the American Musicological Society. In 2019, he received the Indiana University Press award from AMS Midwest for his paper entitled “Teaching by Example: ‘Practical’ Pedagogies of the Postclassical Thoroughbass.” Andrew has given research talks for students at the University of Oregon and at St. Mary’s College in Indiana. He was a 2019–2020 Stuart Tave Teaching Fellow of the University of Chicago’s Humanities Division, where he taught a seminar-workshop for undergraduates titled “Improvisation: Critical Studies in Music.” In 2020–2021, Andrew was a Graduate Fellow of the interdisciplinary Franke Institute for the Humanities. He is currently a Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow in the University of Chicago’s Humanities Division.