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Associate Professor of Music, Department Chair of Music



Office: MEY208


 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, 19th-Century Music, and Music & Letters, and she has presented papers at national and international conferences in the US, Canada, and the UK. Her other research interests include lullabies, song cycles, and musical representations of landscape, motion, 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

Price Faculty Research Fund Award (Franklin & Marshall College, 2017)

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)


"Music, Expression, and the Aesthetics of Authenticity." In The Cambridge Companion to Music and Romanticism, ed. Benedict Taylor (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2021).

"(Re-)Enchanting Performance: Joachim and the Spirit of Beethoven." In The Creative Worlds of Joseph Joachim, ed. Valerie Goertzen and Robert Eshbach (Suffolk, UK: Boydell & Brewer, 2021).

Review of Laura Tunbridge, Singing in the Age of Anxiety: Lieder Performances in New York and London between the World Wars. Music & Letters 100/4 (November 2019): 744-47.

"Hans von Bülow and the Confessionalization of Kunstreligion." Journal of Musicology 35/1 (Winter 2018): 42-75.

"The Social Circles in Vienna, Leipzig and Berlin." In Johannes Brahms in Context, ed. Katy Hamilton and Natasha Loges (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018): 33-43. 

"'When once you have fallen into an equable stride': The Peripatetic in Vaughan Williams's Songs of Travel." Journal of Musicological Research 36/4 (2017): 259-91.

"'The deeps have music soft and low': Sounding the Ocean in Elgar's Sea Pictures." Music & Letters 97/1 (February 2016): 61-99.

"Improvisational Idyll: Joachim's 'Presence' and Brahms's Violin Concerto, op. 77." 19th-Century Music 38/3 (Spring 2015): 243-71.

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



 "Summoning Beethoven: Spiritualism and the Act of Performance." Annual Meeting of the American Musicological Society. Boston, MA, November 2019.

Seminar Convener, "Liberalism and Its Discontents: Music and Culture in German-Speaking Europe, 1848-1914." Forty-Second Annual Conference of the German Studies Association. Pittsburgh, PA, September 2018.

Seminar Participant, "Not Enough Notes: Exploring the Intersections of Music, History and Cultural Studies.” Forty-First Annual Conference of the German Studies Association. Atlanta, GA, October 2017.

"Hans von Bülow's Gospel of Beethoven." Annual Meeting of the American Musicological Society. Vancouver, BC, November 2016.

"'When once you have fallen into an equable stride': The Peripatetic in Vaughan Williams's Songs of Travel." Seventh Biennial Conference of the North American British Music Studies Association. Syracuse, NY, August 2016.

"Hans von Bülow and the Confessionalization of Kunstreligion." 19th Biennial International Conference on Nineteenth-Century Music. Oxford, UK, July 2016.

"Joachim and the Dialectics of Enchantment." Invited talk. International Conference: Joseph Joachim at 185. Boston, MA, June 2016.

"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

CNX 292 Music and Emotion

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 272 Music, Culture, and Society

MUS 274 Song Cycles

MUS 430 Beethoven: Music and Myth

MUS 471 Music as Performance