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Laura EmmeryAssociate Professor of Music Theory


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


Laura Emmery is Associate 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 1945 until 1991, 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 Yugoslav cultural program that made the republic a magnet for experimental musicians and artists from throughout the Western and Eastern Blocs, 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Process in Elliott Carter’s String Quartets: A Study in Sketches (2020) and a critical edition, Elliott Carter Speaks: Unpublished Lectures (2022) are a culmination of her archival research at the Paul Sacher Stiftung for nearly a decade. Her articles have been published in Twentieth-Century Music, Contemporary Music Review, The Musical Quarterly, and Music Theory Online, among others.

Laura’s research has been supported by the Fulbright Scholars Fellowship, American Philosophical Society's Franklin Research 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 University 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 is also a co-PI for a joint music and health project “Moving in space and time: identifying spatial and temporal components of complex rhythmic movement training for people with prodromal Alzheimer’s disease,” with faculty from the departments of medicine and biomedical engineering. This project has been funded by the Senior Vice-President of Research at the Intersection Fund and Innovation Accelerator core of the Cognitive Empowerment Program.

Laura serves as associate editor for Music Theory Spectrum (2020–2024) and editor for Contemporary Music Review (2021–2025). Previously, she served on the SMT Committee on the Status of Women and co-chaired SMT's Post-1945 Music Analysis and Autographs and Archival Documents Interest Groups.

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.



Critical Editions

  • Elliott Carter Speaks: Unpublished Lectures (University of Illinois Press, 2022).

Edited Volumes

  • Serbian Musical Identity (with Ivana Medić), a special double issue of Contemporary Music Review (in progress)
  • Serbian Musical Avant-Gardes, special double issue of Contemporary Music Review 40/5–6 (2021)
  • Archival Research in Music: New Materials, Methods, and Arguments (with Benjamin Levy), special symposium in Music Theory Online 27.3 (2021)
  • 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)
    • Society for Music Theory Citation of Special Merit Publication Award finalist, 2020 

Recent and Forthcoming Peer-Reviewed Articles

  • “Women, Music, and the Cold War Technologies: Ludmila Frajt, a Pioneer of Electronic Music in Yugoslavia” (in progress)
  • “Globalization, Mobility, Integration, and Reception of Post-Yugoslav Wars Serbian Émigré Composers in the United States.” Contemporary Music Review (forthcoming 2022)
  • “What Dreams May Come: Art Synthesis in Vladan Radovanović’s Radiophonic Work Small Eternal Lake (1984).” Contemporary Music Review 40/5–6 (2021)
  • “The Bad Plus Stravinsky: Metrical Displacement, Segmentation, and Stratification in the Jazz Trio’s Original Works” Jazzforschung/Jazz Studies 50–51 (2021)
  • “Gender Identity and Gestural Representations in Jonathan Harvey’s String Quartet No. 2.” Music Theory Online3 (2021).
  • “Elliott Carter’s First String Quartet: In Search of Proustian Time.” The Musical Quarterly 101/3 (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): 316–43.
  • “‘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. file:///Users/lemmery/Downloads/mitteilungen-pss-26-laura-emmery.pdf
  • “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