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University of Virginia
Critical and Comparative Studies in Music

Type of Program and Degrees Offered

The Graduate program in the UVA Department of Music currently has two components that are increasingly interconnected: CCS (Critical and Comparative Studies) and CCT (Composition and Computer Technologies).  At least two of our newest faculty teach courses in both programs (Lobley and Carson). Graduate students in the CCS program are required to take at least one course in another graduate department at the University, tailored to the students’ particular interests. Students have taken courses in Women and Gender Studies, History, and Anthropology, among other areas.

Program Statement

The department offers graduate programs leading to the Ph.D. in music, including the concentration in in Critical and Comparative Studies of Music. This program encourages students to develop interdisciplinary perspectives on music and musical culture. Seminars and independent projects examine diverse musical traditions along with the research techniques of musicology, ethnomusicology, theory and analysis, and popular music studies. Working closely with faculty mentors, students approach their own research interests with a combination of the most appropriate methods from these and related fields such as performance studies, feminist and queer studies, aesthetics, popular musics, religious studies, museum and sound studies, critical theory, and world area studies topics. Special strengths in ethnomusicology include African and African American Studies, and ethnography.

Special Resources

Faculty with a research and teaching focus in ethnomusicology are part of the regional MACSEM chapter of SEM. The department has hosted the annual Chapter meeting on several occasions. The department hosts the UVA African Music and Dance Ensemble and the UVA Klezmer Ensemble, and also the Jazz Ensemble and Free Bridge Quintet, with regular guest artists coming for residencies and performances. The department also hosts a hip-hop production lab.

Full-Time Faculty in Ethnomusicology

Nomi Dave, Ph.D. Oxford University. Assistant Professor, Music. Music and aesthetic practices in authoritarian and post-authoritarian regimes (focus on Guinea, West Africa). Music, voice, emotion and violence in public life.

Michelle Kisliuk, Ph.D. New York University. Associate Professor, Music. Ethnographic writing and poetics, Performance theory, African studies, bluegrass, performance research and environmental activism.

Noel Lobley, Ph.D. Oxford University. Assistant Professor, Music. Sound curation,  anthropology, sound art, and composition.

Joel E. Rubin Ph.D. City University of London.  Associate Professor, Music. Klezmer and Hassidic music.

Affiliated Faculty

A.D. Carson,  Ph.D. Clemson University. Assistant Professor, Music (CCS). Hip Hop, race, literature, history, and rhetorical performances.

Scott DeVeaux, Ph. D. U.C. Berkeley. Professor, Music (CCS). Jazz history.

Bonnie Gordon, Ph.D. University of Pennsylvania. Associate Professor. Experiences of sound in Early Modern music making and the affective potential of the human voice.

Fred E. Maus, Ph.D. Dartmouth. Associate Professor. Music theory criticism, music and narrative, gender and sexuality in relation to discourse about music, popular music, embodiment, music therapy, and other subjects.

Karl Hagstrom Miller, Ph.D. New York University. Associate Professor. American popular music history, phonography, construction of race.

Richard Will, Ph.D. Cornell University. Associate Professor. American Roots Musics (bluegrass), 19th Century European Musics.

Many other faculty and administrators around UVA have interests or backgrounds in ethnomusicology.

Financial Support

Our graduate program provides a comprehensive aid package, including tuition remission, stipend, and TA-ships to students accepted into the program.

Further Information

Graduate Program: Prof. Michael Puri, Director of Graduate Programs, Music 
Email: mjp3h@virginia.edu

Undergraduate Program: Prof. Karl Hagstrom Miller, Director of Undergraduate Programs, Music  Email: khm8f@virginia.edu

Program Website



The content for University of Virginia was last updated November 8, 2017.

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