Malachai Bandy

Visiting Lecturer in Music

Department: Music
Office Hours: By Appointment (Add'l. Regular Hours TBD)
Malachai Bandy

Academic History

  • Ph.D. Historical Musicology, Provost Fellow
    University of Southern California Thornton School of Music
    (In Progress, expected 2021)
  • B.Mus. Double Bass Performance (2013);
  • B.Mus. Music History (2013),
    Rice University Shepherd School of Music
    cum laude, with Distinction in Research and Creative Work

Areas of Expertise

  • Seventeenth-century counterpoint, canon, and musical philosophy in northern Germany;
  • Symbolism in Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque polyphony
  • Numerical Theology, Pythagoreanism, Alchemy, and occult philosophy in Renaissance and Baroque music;
  • Viola da gamba technique, history, repertoire, iconography, instrument design

Selected Research and Publications

  • Dissertation (in progress): "Number, Structure, and Mathematical Theology in Dieterich Buxtehude's _Basso Ostinato_ Vocal Works"

Forthcoming Articles (2020/21)

  • "Im Himmel und auf Erden": Geometry, Alchemy, and Rosicrucian Symbol in Buxtehude's _Herr, wenn ich nur Dich hab'_ (BuxWV 38)"
  • "With The Base Viall Placed Between My Thighes: Musical Instruments and Sexual Subtext in Titian's Venus with Musician Series"

Awards and Honors

  • 2019 Winner, Irene Alm Memorial Prize (The Society for Seventeenth-Century Music) for "Squaring the Circle: Structure, Proportion, and Divine Geometry in Buxtehude's _Herr, wenn ich nur Dich hab'_, BuxWV 38"
  • 2019 Winner, Ingolf Dahl Award in Musicology (AMS Pacific Southwest and NorCal Chapters) for "'Make of the Man and Woman a Circle': Geometry, Alchemy, and Compositional _Unio Mystica_ in Buxtehude's Settings of Psalms 42 and 73"


A native of Los Angeles, Malachai Komanoff Bandy has amassed a professional performance record on some twenty instruments spanning over 800 years of music history. He graduated cum laude "with Distinction in Research and Creative Work" from Rice University's Shepherd School of Music with double bass and music history degrees. In recent years, Malachai has performed as a violist da gamba, violonist, and renaissance double-reed player with various ensembles in the U.S. and Europe, including The Orpheon Consort, Ars Lyrica Houston, Voices of Music, Queens Baroque, Tesserae, and Ciaramella. He is also a featured soloist in Bear McCreary’s scores to the films _10 Cloverfield Lane_ (yaylı tanbur, 2016), _Welcome Home_ (viol, 2018), the Emmy-winning title theme for the STARZ television series _DaVinci's Demons_ (viol, 2013), and the video game _God of War_ (nyckelharpa, viola da gamba, 2018). After completing a Wagoner Fellowship-funded course of viola da gamba and organological study with José Vázquez in Austria, Spain, and Switzerland, Malachai received a Presser Graduate Award (2016) to create the first comprehensive aural catalog of the Orpheon Foundation’s fifty historical violas da gamba (Duino, Italy). He is currently a PhD candidate and Provost Fellow in Historical Musicology at the USC Thornton School of Music and was the 2019 recipient of both the Society for Seventeenth-Century Music's Irene Alm Memorial Prize and the AMS Pacific Southwest Chapter's Ingolf Dahl Award in Musicology. Malachai’s scholarly interests include topics pertaining to occult philosophy and number symbolism in the North-German baroque, as well as viola da gamba technique, repertoire, instrument design, and iconography.

Courses Taught

  • MUSIC 110a - Western Music History I
    (Medieval through Baroque)