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Laura EmmeryAssistant Professor of Music Theory


  • PhDUniversity of California, Santa Barbara2014
  • MMNew England Conservatory
  • BMCalifornia State University, Northridge


Laura Emmery is Assistant Professor of Music Theory. Her research focuses on 20th/21st-century music and post-tonal theory, with an interdisciplinary approach that draws on philosophy, literary criticism, critical theory and performance studies. Laura’s current project examines political, social, and cultural events that led to the momentous avant-garde and experimental music scene in Belgrade, Serbia (then Yugoslavia) from 1950 until 1990, ending with the year when all artistic activities came to a sudden halt with the start of the Yugoslav civil wars. It follows the emergence of a postwar Yugoslavian cultural program that made the republic a magnet for experimental musicians and artists from throughout the Soviet Bloc, through the sudden and violent dissolution of that program with the collapse of the political state.

Laura’s recently published book, Compositional Process in Elliott Carter’s String Quartets: A Study in Sketches, is a culmination of her archival research at the Paul Sacher Stiftung. Her articles have been published in Twentieth-Century Music, Contemporary Music Review, The Musical Quarterly, Music Theory Online, Tempo, Elliott Carter Studies, and Mitteilungen der Paul Sacher, among others.

Laura has presented her research at numerous national and international conferences, including six Society for Music Theory meetings, the International Arnold Schoenberg Symposium (Vienna), Tracking the Creative Process in Music (Lisbon and Paris), Music Since 1900 (Huddersfield), Music and Spatiality (Belgrade), International Musicological Society: Musical and Cultural Osmoses in the Balkans (Bucharest), Jazz Journeys (Graz), International Symposium on the Analysis and Theory of Music (Porto), European Music Analysis Conference (Strasbourg and Leuven), International Musicological Society (Tokyo), Society for American Music (Montréal), International Music Theory and Analysis Conference (Rimini), Performance Analysis: A Bridge Between Theory and Interpretation (Porto), Organized Time: Fifteenth Annual Congress of the Gesellschaft für Musiktheorie (Berlin), Sacher Perspectives: Musicology at the Paul Sacher Foundation—New Directions in Source Study (Cardiff), and Temporality: Issues of Change and Stasis in Music (Long Beach).

Laura’s research has been supported by Society for American Music’s Edward T. Cone Fellowship, Paul Sacher Stiftung Research Grant, Albert and Elaine Borchard European Studies Fellowship, and Emory’s Center for Faculty Development and Excellence Public Scholarship Advancement Fund, Program to Enhance Research and Scholarship, University Research Committee – Halle Institute for Global Research and Learning, and the Provost Research Grant, among others. 

Laura serves as associate editor for Music Theory Spectrum (2020-2024) and is a committee member of the SMT Committee on the Status of Women.



  • Compositional Process in Elliott Carter’s String Quartets: A Study in Sketches, Ashgate Studies in Theory and Analysis of Music After 1900 (Routledge/Taylor & Francis, 2019)
  • Between the Wars: Music and Cold War Politics in Yugoslavia's Avant-Garde Movement, 1950-1990 (in progress)

Critical Editions

  • Elliott Carter: 1967 Minnesota Workshop Lecture Series (under review)

Edited Volumes

  • Archival and Autograph Documents, special issue of Music Theory Online (forthcoming)
  • Further Studies from the Paul Sacher Stiftung, special issue of Contemporary Music Review Volume 38, Issue 3-4 (2019)

  • Studies from the Paul Sacher Stiftung, special issue of Contemporary Music Review, Volume 36, Issue 5 (2017)

Recent and Forthcoming Articles

  • "Navigating the Diverse American Arts Scene: Reception of Serbian Composers in the United States." In The History of Serbian Music (University of Arts in Belgrade press, forthcoming)
  • "Reception of Serbian Émigré Composers in the United States" (published under the auspices of the European Union, forthcoming)
  • "The Bad Plus Stravinsky." Jazzforschung/Jazz Studies 50 (forthcoming)
  • "Gender Identity and Gesture in Jonathan Harvey's String Quartet No. 2." Music Theory Online (forthcoming)
  • “Elliott Carter’s First String Quartet: In Search of Proustian Time.” The Musical Quarterly 101/3 (in press)
  • “Elliott Carter's and Luigi Nono's Analyses of Schoenberg's Variations for Orchestra, Op. 31: Divergent Approaches to Serialism.” Twentieth-Century Music 16/2 (2019): 191-229.
  • "Beyond Long-Range Polyrhythms: Harmonic Process in Elliott Carter's Fourth String Quartet." Contemporary Music Review 38/3-4 (2019): 316-343)
  • "Introduction: Further Studies from the Paul Sacher Stiftung." Contemporary Music Review 38/3 (2019): 225-228.
  • “‘Workshop Minnesota’: Elliott Carter’s Analysis of Luigi Nono’s Il canto sospeso.” Elliott Carter Studies Online Volume 3 (2018).

  • Introduction: Studies from the Paul Sacher Stiftung." Contemporary Music Review 36/5 (2017): 335-336.
  • “In Disguise: Musical Borrowings in Elliott Carter’s Early String Quartets,” in Form and Process in Music, 1300-2014: An Analytical Sampler, edited by Jack Boss et al, pp. 125-146. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2015.

  • “Form and Spatialization in the Third String Quartet of Elliott Carter.” Sonus 36/1 (2015): 20-28.

  • “Rhythmic Process in Elliott Carter’s Fourth String Quartet.” Mitteilungen der Paul Sacher Stiftung 26 (2013):29-33.

  • “An American Modernist: Teatime with Elliott Carter.” Tempo 67/264 (2013): 22–29.