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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 historical musicologist who studies sounding expressions of identity, difference, and belonging in eastern and central Europe from the nineteenth century to the present. His work explores archives and ethnomusicological fields, engaging projects in such domains as sound studies, art history, anthropology, philosophy, Jewish studies, and Baltic studies. He is the author of three books, Arvo Pärt’s Tabula Rasa (Oxford UP, 2017), A Kingdom Not of This World: Wagner, the Arts, and Utopian Visions in Fin-de-Siècle Vienna (Oxford UP, 2013), and Music, Criticism, and the Challenge of History (Oxford UP, 2008), as well as the forthcoming Sounds Beyond: Arvo Pärt and the 1970s Soviet Underground.

His work as editor comprises seven volumes, including Korngold and His World (Princeton UP, 2019), Jewish Folk Songs from the Baltics (A-R Editions, 2014), and Baltic Musics/Baltic Musicologies: The Landscape since 1991 (Routledge, 2009). He serves as editor of the Oxford Keynotes Series published by Oxford University Press, and as editor-in-chief of the Journal of the American Musicological Society.

Kevin’s research has been supported by grants and awards from the American Council of Learned Societies (Collaborative Research Fellowship, 2016; Ryskamp Fellowship, 2010), the Association for the Advancement of Baltic Studies (Vitols Award, 2010), and the National Endowment for the Humanities (Summer Stipend, 2002). His current research studies the rise of new wave music and culture, engaging sounds, archives, technologies, and oral histories from both sides of the former Iron Curtain.

Recent and Forthcoming Publications

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. Oxford UP (forthcoming). 

Karnes, Kevin C. 2019a. “Arvo Pärt, Hardijs Lediņš, and the Ritual Moment in Riga, October 1977.” Res Musica 11 (forthcoming).

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

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

Karnes, Kevin C. 2018b. “Listening Together: Aurality and the Everyday in Riga before the Shoah.” Confronting the National in the Musical Past, ed. Elaine Kelly, Derek Scott, and Markus Mantere, 93-109. Routledge.

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