My Work Focuses on: 
Brahms’s engagement with German literature in the 1850s and ‘60s.
My Other Interests Include: 
Schenkerian analysis, the history of music theory, musical aesthetics, and the exhumation and reburial of composers in late nineteenth-century Vienna.


More about Reuben Phillips

Reuben Phillips is a musicologist and music theorist currently completing a dissertation titled “Brahms as Reader” under the supervision of Kofi Agawu and Scott Burnham. Drawing on archival research conducted in Vienna, Reuben’s dissertation seeks to reframe the scholarly understanding of Brahms’s creativity in the 1850s and ‘60s through an investigation of the composer’s intellectual and artistic responses to Classical and Romantic German literature.

As a side project to his dissertation, Reuben is also engaged in a study of the honorary graves for musicians in Vienna’s Central Cemetery – a macabre but fascinating subject, on which he presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Musicological Society in 2016. 

Recognition & Awards

Karl Geiringer Scholarship, American Brahms Society, 2018

DAAD Scholarship, Grant for Doctoral Research in Germany, 2015-2016

Arthur Mendel Fellowship in Music, Princeton University, 2012-2013

Arts and Humanities Research Council Scholarship (UK), 2010-2011


2017. “Johannes Brahms: Die Lieder. Ein musikalischer Werkführer by Matthias Schmidt”, Book Review, Music & Letters (98/1), 143-144.
2016. “Brahms in the Home and the Concert Hall: Between Private and Public Performance edited by Katy Hamilton and Natasha Loges”, Book Review, Notes (73/1), 94-98.
2016. “Brahms Among Friends: Listening, Performance, and the Rhetoric of Allusion by Paul Berry”, Book Review, Notes (72/3), 556-558.
2015. “Performing Brahms in the 21st century”, Conference Report, Early Music (43/4), 721-722.