Professor of Music


I studied piano at New England Conservatory and English at Wesleyan University before pursuing my Ph.D. in musicology at Princeton University, finishing in 1999. My earlier research centered on Franz Liszt, music criticism, and the 19th century cult of the virtuoso. My second book, Fantasies of Improvisation, tells the little-known story of free improvisation in western classical music and traces the early history of improvisation as a concept. I have published articles on music criticism, virtuosity, musical mediation, improvisation, cosmopolitanism, and jazz. I give courses on music history, improvisation, opera, historiography, jazz, Stephen Sondheim, and European cultural history. While in graduate school I developed a passion for jazz and I still perform regularly, including a regular Sunday night gig at Boston's historic club Wally's Cafe. My future research projects will focus increasingly upon jazz.

Brown Affiliations