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Kevin C. KarnesAssociate Dean for the ArtsProfessor of Music History


  • PhDBrandeis University2001
  • MMusUniversity of Washington1996
  • BSMassachusetts Institute of Technology1995


Kevin C. Karnes is a musicologist who studies sounding expressions of identity, difference, and belonging in eastern and central Europe from the nineteenth century to the present. His work spans archival research and ethnography, engaging projects in such domains as sound studies, anthropology, philosophy, art history, Jewish studies, and Baltic studies. He is the author of four books, most recently Sounds Beyond: Arvo Pärt and the 1970s Soviet Underground (University of Chicago Press, 2021), and the editor of seven volumes, including Korngold and His World (Princeton UP, 2019) and Jewish Folk Songs from the Baltics (A-R Editions, 2014). He has served as editor-in-chief of the Journal of the American Musicological Society (2020-22) and founding series editor of the Oxford Keynotes Series, published by Oxford University Press (2015-20). He is a 2022-23 Visiting Professor in the Faculty of Musicology at the Jāzeps Vītols Latvian Academy of Music in Riga. His research has been funded by grants, fellowships, and awards from the ACLS, the NEH, and the Association for the Advancement of Baltic Studies. His latest work considers east-west imaginings of European community before and after 1990, focusing on cultural exchange, postmodern theorizing, and the rise of techno culture.

As Associate Dean for the Arts in Emory College of Arts & Sciences and director of Emory Arts, Kevin works across the campus and the region to connect individuals and groups through artistic work and the conversations it sparks, focusing intently on issues of social justice, civil and human rights, and buried or forgotten histories. He is co-director of the Emory Arts & Social Justice Fellows program and, in fall 2022, interim director of the Integrated Visual Arts Co-Major. His work in these areas has been supported by grants from the NEA, the Arison Arts Foundation, the lululemon Centre for Social Impact, and the Simons Foundation. For more on these projects, please visit

Recent and Forthcoming Publications

Karnes, Kevin C. 2022. “Tintinnabuli and the Sacred: A View from the Archives, 1976-77,” Res Musica 14: 35-51

Karnes, Kevin C. 2021a. Sounds Beyond: Arvo Pärt and the 1970s Soviet Underground. University of Chicago Press

Karnes, Kevin C. 2021b. “Disco Culture and the Ritual Journey in the Soviet 1980s.” Music Theory Online 27, no. 3:

Karnes, Kevin C. 2021c. “Northern Light: Jāzeps Vītols, Cosmopolitan Nationalist on the Axis Riga–St. Petersburg.” Music’s Nordic Breakthrough: Aesthetics, Modernity and Cultural Exchange, 1890-1930, ed. Philip Ross Bullock and Daniel M. Grimley, 215-32. Boydell & Brewer

Karnes, Kevin C. 2020. “History, Historicism, Historiography.” The Oxford Handbook of Music and Intellectual Culture in the Nineteenth Century, ed. Paul Watt, Sarah Collins, and Michael Allis, 15-32. Oxford UP

Karnes, Kevin C., and Andrew J. Mitchell. 2020. “Schopenhauer’s Influence on Wagner.” The Oxford Handbook of Schopenhauer, ed. Robert Wicks, 517-34. Oxford UP

Karnes, Kevin C., and Daniel Goldmark (eds.). 2019. Korngold and His World. Princeton UP

Karnes, Kevin C. 2019a. “Who Sings the Song of the Russian Soldier? Listening for the Sounds and Silence of War in Baltic Russia.” Hearing the Crimean War: Wartime Sound and the Unmaking of Sense, ed. Gavin Williams, 129-49. Oxford UP

Karnes, Kevin C. 2019b. “Arvo Pärt, Hardijs Lediņš and the Ritual Moment in Riga, October 1977,” Res Musica 11: 115-27;

Karnes, Kevin C. 2018. “Inventing Eastern Europe in the Ear of the Enlightenment.” Journal of the American Musicological Society 71: 75-108

Karnes, Kevin C. 2017. Arvo Pärt’s Tabula Rasa. Oxford UP