Students reviewing music in a book

The musicology program at Brandeis offers an integrated approach to the study of music and its many contexts. We combine close critical attention to musical works and practices with investigation into the historical, cultural, intellectual, and institutional factors that have shaped their creation and reception. Our graduate curriculum is expansive, encompassing both intensive seminars on specific topics and proseminars that expose students to a variety of methodologies and new developments in the field.

Brandeis offers a two-year Master's degree and a five-year PhD degree in musicology.


News and Updates

The Brandeis Department of Music was well represented at the recent 2019 meeting of the American Musicological Society:

For more news on the department’s activities, read The Score.

Our Musicology Faculty

Eric Chafe
Eric Chafe
(on leave fall 2021 – spring 2022)
Victor and Gwendolyn Beinfield Professor of Music
781-736-3334 Slosberg Music Center, 218

Expertise: Music of Monteverdi, Bach, Wagner, seventeenth-century music, postromantic music, twentieth-century music, analysis.

Karen Desmond
Karen Desmond
Department Chair; Undergraduate Advisor, History Track and Cultural Studies Track
Associate Professor of Music
781-736-3329 Slosberg Music Center, 237

Expertise: History of music notation, late medieval French and English music and theory, paleography, music and ideas, digital editions, digital musicology.

Emily Frey
Emily Frey
Director of Graduate Studies in Musicology
Assistant Professor of Music
781-736-3321 Slosberg Music Center, 216

Expertise: Music of the "long" nineteenth century; Russian music, literature, and cultural history; history of opera; music and literature; music, politics, and law; Romanticism and realism; voice studies; music criticism; operatic acting.

Taylor Ackley plays the mandolin
Taylor Ackley
Visiting Assistant Professor of Music

Expertise: Composition, ethnomusicology.

Bradford Garvey poses in a garden
Bradford Garvey
Visiting Assistant Professor of Music

Expertise: Ethnomusicology.

Recently Offered Graduate Seminars

Careers and Alumni

Graduates of the Brandeis Music Department go on to successful careers in music, arts, and educational institutions across the nation and abroad. Here are a few examples:


Housed in the state-of-the-art Slosberg Music Center, our programs are supported by a first-class research library, also home to the Walter F. and Alice Gorham Collection of Early Music Imprints, 1501-1650. Students also have access to the rich resources of the Boston Library Consortium, and can take seminars in the Boston Graduate Consortium (Tufts, BU, Boston College). The department sponsors concerts, colloquia, lectures and special events throughout the year.

Graduate Student Musicology Conference

The Brandeis Musicology Graduate Student Society–composed of current MA, MFA and PhD candidates in Musicology–programs and hosts a biennial musicology conference. This two-day event, usually held in the late spring at the Slosberg Music Center, features keynote addresses from world-renowned scholars, interactive workshops and student presentations. Past faculty guests include Margot Fassler, Joseph Auner, Elaine Sisman, Anna Zayaruznaya and Jonathan Kregor, and conference themes have ranged from “Loci in Musicology” to “Forms of Music.”