Laura Emmery

Assistant Professor, Music Theory

Office: BRB 334

Phone: (404) 727-3835

Fax: (404) 727-0074







PhD, 2014, University of California, Santa Barbara

MM, New England Conservatory

BM, California State University Northridge


Laura Emmery is Assistant Professor of Music Theory at Emory University. 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. Having spent over two years at the Paul Sacher Stiftung conducting a critical study of the original sources, her analysis of Elliott Carter’s music incorporates sketch study in tracking the composer’s evolution and process. Her work on Carter has been published in The Musical Quarterly, Contemporary Music Review, Tempo, Twentieth-Century Music, Sonus, Mitteilungen der Paul Sacher, and Form and Process in Music, 1300-2014: An Analytical Sampler. Her monograph, Compositional Process in Elliott Carter’s String Quartets: A Study in Sketches, is currently in press, and her critical edition of Carter’s lectures from 1967 is nearly complete. 

Laura’s newest project (which will result in her second monograph) examines the avant-garde and experimental music in Belgrade, Serbia (former Yugoslavia) from the 1960s through the end of the 1980s. In this study, informed by the archival documents at the Student Cultural Center (SKC) in Belgrade and interviews of the key figures of this period, Laura will examine the socio-cultural events that led to the establishment of the SKC and its role as one of the main centers of experimental music explorations in Eastern Europe at that time.

In addition to her archival research, Laura’s secondary area of interest in music cognition, especially on the theories of rhythm and meter, metaphor and narrative in music, and popular music.



  • 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, in press)

  • Elliott Carter’s Complete Songs and Song Cycles: Music and Poetics (in progress)

  • Music and Politics in Yugoslavia’s Avant-Garde Movement, 1960s-1980s (in progress)

            Critical Editions

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

            Edited Volumes

  • Studies from the Paul Sacher Stiftung, 2, special issue of Contemporary Music Review (forthcoming)

  • Studies from the Paul Sacher Stiftung, 1, special issue of Contemporary Music Review, Volume 36, Issue 5 (2017)

            Refereed Articles and Chapters

  • “Elliott Carter's and Luigi Nono's Analyses of Schoenberg's Variations for Orchestra, Op. 31: Divergent Approaches to Serialism.” Twentieth-Century Music (forthcoming)
  • “Elliott Carter’s First String Quartet: In Search of Proustian Time.” The Musical Quarterly 101/2 (forthcoming)

  • “‘Workshop Minnesota’: Elliott Carter’s Analysis of Luigi Nono’s Il canto sospeso.” Elliott Carter Studies Online Volume 3 (forthcoming)

  • “Harmonic Process in Elliott Carter’s String Quartet No. 4.” Contemporary Music Review (forthcoming)

  • “The Bad Plus Stravinsky” (in progress)

  • “Unpacking Human Sadness” (in progress)

  • “Formation of a New Harmonic Language in Elliott Carter’s String Quartet No. 2.” Contemporary Music Review 36/5 (2017): 388-405.

  • “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.


  • Review of Analytical Essays on Music by Women Composers: Concert Music, 1960-2000, ed. Laurel Parsons and Brenda Ravenscroft. Music Theory Online 23/4 (2017).
  • Review of Elliott Carter Studies, Marguerite Boland and John Link. Twentieth-Century Music 10/2 (2013): 304–310.