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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 monograph, Compositional Process in Elliott Carter’s String Quartets: A Study in Sketches, and a forthcoming critical edition, Elliott Carter Speaks: Unpublished Lectures, are a culmination of her archival research at the Paul Sacher Stiftung over several years. 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 Fulbright Scholars Fellowship, American Philosophical Society's Franklin Reseach Grant, the Society for American Music’s Edward T. Cone Fellowship, Paul Sacher Stiftung Research Grant, Albert and Elaine Borchard European Studies Fellowship, and by several Emory Univeristy grants, including the 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), is a committee member of the SMT Committee on the Status of Women, a co-chair of SMT's Post-1945 Music Analysis Interest Group, and a former co-chair of SMT's Autographs and Archival Documents Interest Group.

Laura was born in Paris (France), lived in Belgrade (Serbia, then Yugoslavia) and Vienna (Austria), where she studied piano performance and music theory in music conservatories. She completed her undergraduate and graduate education in the United States, receiving her Ph.D. in Music Theory from the University of California in Santa Barbara in 2014. Laura joined the music faculty at Emory University in 2014 first as Visiting Assistant Professor and then as Assistant Professor in 2016.



  • 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, 2020)
  • Between the Wars: Music and Cold War Politics in Yugoslavia's Avant-Garde Movement, 1950-1990 (in progress)

Critical Editions

  • Elliott Carter Speaks: Unpublished Lectures (University of Illinois Press, 2022).

Edited Volumes

  • Music and Politics: Serbian 20th/21st-century Avant-Gardes and Experimentalism, special double issue of Contemporary Music Review (2022; in production).
  • Archival and Autograph Documents, special issue of Music Theory Online, co-edited with Benjamin Levy, 27.3 (2021, in production).
  • 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 Peer-Reviewed Articles

  • “The Pioneers of the 1950 Electronic Music and Avant-Garde in Yugoslavia: Vladan Radovanović’s first radiophonic composition, Small Eternal Lake (1984)” (in progress).
  • “Women, Music, and the Cold War Technologies: Ludmila Frajt, a Pioneer of Electronic Music in Yugoslavia,” Contemporary Music Review (2022; forthcoming)
  • “The Bad Plus Stravinsky: Metrical Displacement, Segmentation, and Stratification in the Jazz Trio’s Original Works” Jazzforschung/Jazz Studies 50–51 (2022, in press).
  • “Gender Identity and Gesture in Jonathan Harvey’s String Quartet No. 2.” Music Theory Online27.3 (2021; under review).
  • “Elliott Carter’s First String Quartet: In Search of Proustian Time.” The Musical Quarterly101/3 (2020): 1–41.
  • “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.
  • “‘Workshop Minnesota’: Elliott Carter’s Analysis of Luigi Nono’s Il canto sospeso.” Elliott Carter Studies Online Volume 3 (2018)
  • “Formation of a New Harmonic Language in Elliott Carter’s String Quartet No. 2.” Contemporary Music Review 36/5 (2017): 388–405.
  • “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.

Chapters in Peer-Reviewed Volumes

  •  “Navigating the Diverse American Arts Scene: Reception of Serbian Composers in the United States.” In Companion to Serbian Music, eds. Ivana Perković et al. Belgrade: University of Arts, Faculty of Music Press, 2021 (in press).
  • “In Disguise: Musical Borrowings in Elliott Carter’s Early String Quartets.” In Form and Process in Music, 1300-2014: An Analytical Sampler, eds. Jack Boss et al, pp. 125–146. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2015.  

Reviews and Other Publications

  • Made in Yugoslavia: Studies in Popular Music, eds. Danijela Š. Beard and Ljerka Rasmussen (Routledge). Review. Muzikološki Zbornik/Musicological Annual (2021, forthcoming).
  • “Introduction: Further Studies from the Paul Sacher Stiftung.” Contemporary Music Review 38/3–4 (2019): 225–228.  
  • “Introduction: Studies from the Paul Sacher Stiftung.” Contemporary Music Review 36/5 (2017): 335–336.
  • Analytical Essays on Music by Women Composers: Concert Music, 1960-2000, eds. Laurel Parsons and Brenda Ravenscroft (Oxford University Press). Review. Music Theory Online23/4 (2017).
  • Elliott Carter Studies, eds. Marguerite Boland and John Link. Review. Twentieth-Century Music 10/2 (2013): 304–310.