Elizabeth Margulis to Join Faculty in Fall 2019

The Princeton University Department of Music is thrilled to announce the addition of Elizabeth Margulis to the faculty beginning Fall 2019. Professor Margulis, currently a Distinguished Professor and Director of the Music Cognition Lab at the University of Arkansas, is renowned for her fusion of music and cognitive science. Her contributions to this exciting field bring in her background in performance as well: having earned a B.M. in piano performance from the Peabody Conservatory of Music, the interface between musical structure and a listener’s engagement is at the center of Prof. Margulis’ work.

Her appointment paves the way for a new era of collaboration between the Department of Music and the Department of Psychology. Prof. Margulis, who will be establishing a Music Cognition Laboratory at Woolworth, will be working closely with the many campus partners engaged in research in Cognitive Science. Speaking of this new partnership, Chair of the Department of Psychology Professor Ken Norman shares:

“We are thrilled to welcome Elizabeth Margulis to Princeton. One of Princeton’s core strengths is interdisciplinary work — Prof. Margulis’ arrival will bring together the Department of Music with Psychology and Neuroscience in new and exciting ways.”

Prof. Margulis is particularly interested in the psychological experience of listeners without formal training in music. The widespread applications of her research, with music’s accessibility at its core, are an invaluable asset to the Department of Music and the larger campus community. The inclusive breadth of Prof. Margulis’ work is well matched with the Department of Music’s mission of interweaving music composition, scholarship, and performance. Prof. Margulis is looking forward to being part of such an interdisciplinary community:

“I’m really excited about bringing the rich humanistic perspectives of the Music Department together with the methods and tools of cognitive science to learn more about human musical experiences. The potential for collaboration on these topics between students and faculty in multiple departments around campus is really attractive. I’m excited about serving as associated faculty in the Psychology Department and building bridges between the two programs. Princeton has a distinguished history of graduate and undergraduate training in music and I’m looking forward to working with students who are willing to move flexibly back and forth between science and the humanities to tackle big questions.”

Prof. Margulis’ publications are extensive: her book On Repeat: How Music Plays the Mind (Oxford University Press) received the 2014 Wallace Berry Award from the Society for Music Theory, and the 2015 ASCAP Deems Taylor/Virgil Thomson Award. Her latest book The Psychology of Music: A Very Short Introduction is coming out with Oxford University Press this year.  Her work has appeared in diverse journals including Music Perception; Journal of Music Theory; Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience; Music Theory Spectrum; PLOS ONE; Frontiers in Psychology; Journal of the Acoustical Society of America; Computer Music Journal; Psychology of Music; Scientific Reports; Journal of New Music Research; Empirical Studies of the Arts; Review of General Psychology; Neurocase; Psychomusicology: Music, Mind, and Brain; Human Brain Mapping; Nature; Attention, Perception & Psychophysics; American Journal of Bioethics; and Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, as well as in handbooks on topic theory, music and emotion, concepts in music theory, and music cognition. Prof. Margulis’ research has been featured in media outlets ranging from New Scientist Magazine to Readers Digest to the London Times, and on BBC and NPR (All Things Considered and Science Friday). She blogs about music cognition at Psychology Today (Looking at Listening).

For a complete list of Prof. Margulis’ many awards and accomplishments, please visit her website.

“We are exceedingly excited about welcoming Lisa to campus next fall.  We know that her deep experience in all areas of music scholarship will be a tremendous asset to the Music Department, and will introduce our students to a host of new ideas and methodologies. Princeton students, who devote so much of their time to studying, playing, and singing music, are also deeply curious about how and why music works the way it does. We expect her work in Music Cognition to generate enormous enthusiasm among our undergraduates—and attract graduate students with diverse interests.  Music has the unique power to resist the traditional disciplinary boundaries that separate the humanities from the sciences and social sciences. Margulis’ presence at Princeton will further this cause.” —Chair of the Department of Music, Professor Wendy Heller

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