My research focuses on the intellectual, aesthetic, and political history of medieval music, and on the intersections between musical texts, oral culture, and political life in the late-medieval Mediterranean.
At Princeton, I teach courses on the history of musical notation; musical paleography and the semiotics of musical writing; liturgical chant; music and memory; and medieval song. Approaching historical and theoretical questions through musical performance and practice is a method of thinking and teaching that I especially enjoy.
My current book project, tentatively titled Strain and Symbol: Music, Language, and Political Forms in Late-Medieval Italy, traces a strand of medieval thought that defined individual, ethical, and political bodies in and as sound. Moving between composition and chronicle, musical and material culture, and legal, liturgical, and literary texts, the book recovers aspects of this thought staged through vocal ritual and performance, and articulated through compositional and poetic processes. Taking fourteenth-century Italy as the ground on which to engage enduring questions about the relations of music to language—and by extension, to human cognition, social and symbolic forms, and the natural world—the book argues that song can be both a metaphor for and constitutive of political life.
I am associated faculty at the Seeger Center for Hellenic Studies, and am director of the Princeton Facsimile Singers. Before coming to Princeton, I taught at Stanford University as a Mellon Fellow in the Humanities.
B.A. Dickinson College; M.A. Princeton University; Ph.D. Princeton University
Recognition & Awards
Fellowships and grants from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
American Council of Learned Societies
Fulbright Foundation in Greece
Medieval Academy of America
Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation