Personal Summary / Bio
Musicologist and early music specialist Billy Traylor, a native of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, is currently pursuing a Master of Science in Information Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. An alumnus of Indiana University's prestigious Early Music Institute, he also holds diplomas in oboe and bassoon performance from the University of New Orleans (BA 2001) and Northwestern State University of Louisiana (MM 2004), where he was Adjunct Instructor of Bassoon and Early Music. His master’s document was entitled Antoine Reicha’s Duo pour piano et basson: An Analysis and Urtext Performing Edition, in which he presented a formal analysis and new performing edition taken directly from the composer’s original manuscript of this rarely performed duo sonata for piano and bassoon.
Mr. Traylor is the Artistic Director for Ensemble Settecento, a period-instrument ensemble based in Austin, Texas, which he founded in 2011, and in which he plays baroque oboe and recorder. He also performs regularly on baroque oboe and recorder with La Follia Austin Baroque, also based in Austin. Previously, in 2003, he founded Collegium Musicum Novæ Aureliæ, at the time Louisiana’s only actively performing orchestral ensemble for seventeenth- and eighteenth-century music, based in New Orleans. He studies historical oboes with Washington McClain (Indiana University) and has studied modern oboe with James Ryon (Louisiana State University) and Tony Smith (Northwestern State University) and fortepiano with Elisabeth Wright (Indiana University), and has performed with both modern- and period-instrument ensembles and orchestras in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Indiana.
His primary research interests as a musicologist include the history and development of the oboe and its repertoire, the music of colonial New Orleans and Mexico, music at the courts of Louis XIV and Frederick the Great, the music and lives of Louis Moreau Gottschalk and Antoine Reicha, and the folk music of Greece and the Aegean islands. He is currently completing a modern edition of the Manuscrit des Ursulines, the only extant music manuscript from 18th-century New Orleans. This edition will be accompanied by a study of the use of contrafacta in France and her colonies in the 17th and 18th centuries, as well as a reconstruction of the religious musical practices of both French and Spanish colonial New Orleans.