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Assistant Professor of Music



Office: MEY302


 Karen Leistra-Jones received her Ph.D. in Musicology from Yale University in 2011. Her research explores the politics and aesthetics of musical performance in the second half of the nineteenth century, focusing particularly on members of the Brahms circle. Her work has appeared in the Journal of the American Musicological Society and 19th-Century Music, and she has presented papers at national and international conferences in the US, Canada, and the UK. Her other research interests include song cycles and musical representations of landscape and travel. 


 Ph.D., Musicology, Yale University, May 2011

Dissertation: "Virtue and Virtuosity: Brahms, the Concerto, and the Politics of Performance in the Late Nineteenth Century"

M. Phil, Musicology, Yale University, 2008

M.A., Musicology, Yale University, 2007

B. Mus., Piano Performance and Music History, McGill University, 2005 (high distinction)

Grants & Awards

NEH Summer Stipend (2014)

Shaffer Prize (American Musicological Society, New England chapter, 2011)

Frank M. Patterson Memorial Fellowship (Yale University, 2009-2010)

A. Bartlett Giamatti Fellowship (Yale University, 2005-2007)

Masters Research Scholarship (Canada Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, 2005 - declined)


"Improvisational Idyll: Joachim's 'Presence' and Brahms's Violin Concerto, op. 77." 19th-Century Music 38/3 (Spring 2015): 243-271.

"Staging Authenticity: Joachim, Brahms, and the Politics of Werktreue Performance." Journal of the American Musicological Society 66/2 (Summer 2013): 397-436.

"'The deeps have music soft and low': Sounding the Ocean in Elgar's Sea Pictures." Forthcoming, Music & Letters.




"After the Virtuosenzeit: Partisan Alignments and the Specter of Virtuosity in the Field of Musical Performance, c. 1848-1870." North American Conference on Nineteenth-Century Music. North Andover, MA. July 2015.

"The deeps have music soft and low": Sounding the Ocean in Elgar's Sea Pictures." Ninth Biennial International Conference on Music in Nineteenth-Century Britain. Cardiff, UK. June 2013.

"The deeps have music soft and low": Sounding the Ocean in Edward Elgar's Sea Pictures." Loco/Motion (sponsored by the Nineteenth-Century Studies Association). Fresno, CA. March 2013.

"Improvisational Idyll: Joachim's 'Presence' and Brahms's Violin Concerto, op. 77." Brahms in the New Century (sponsored by the American Brahms Society). New York, NY. March 2012.

"Virtuoso Asceticism and the Problem of Theatricality in Late Nineteenth-Century Performance." The American Musicological Society, Amherst, MA. October 2010

"Intertextual Allusion and the Evocation of Tradition in the Quebecois Chanson." The Society for American Music, Ottawa, Canada. March 2010

"Brahms's Second Piano Concerto and the Staging of Anti-Virtuosic Virtuosität." The Institute of Musical Research, London, England. April 2009

Course Information

MUS 100 Fundamentals

MUS 101 Introduction to Western Art Music

MUS 170 The Performing Self in Music

MUS 230 Music History 1: Antiquity to 1750

MUS 231 Music History 2: 1750 to Present

MUS 274 Song Cycles