Brigid Cohen

Assistant Professor of Music
B.A., Wellesley College (2000) M.Mus., King's College, London (2001) Ph.D., Harvard University (2007)


Areas of Research/Interest
20th-century musical avant-gardes; migration, diaspora, and cosmopolitanism theory; postcolonial studies; intersections of music, the visual arts, and literature; politics of aesthetic modernism; interdisciplinary art communities; jazz. (photo by Annette Hornischer)

National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship (2014-15); Lewis Lockwood Prize, American Musicological Society (2013); Berlin Prize, American Academy in Berlin (2010); American Musicological Society Publication Subvention (2010); Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship (2007); Alvin H. Johnson AMS 50 Fellowship (2007); German Academic Exchange Service Fellowship (DAAD) (2006); Getty Research Institute Library Grant (2005); Paul Sacher Foundation Fellowship (2004); Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship in the Humanities (2000).

Select Publications:

Stefan Wolpe and the Avant-Garde Diaspora, (Cambridge University Press, 2012).
(Winner of the 2013 Lewis Lockwood Prize from the American Musicological Society. Awarded to one book published in the previous year, written by a scholar in the early stages of their career.)

"Translating Histories: Yoko Ono and George Maciunas," forthcoming in Out of Bounds: Ethnography, History and Music, eds. Ingrid Monson and Richard Wolf, Harvard University Press, expected publication 2016 (20 manuscript pages).

"The Rite of Spring, National Narratives, and Estrangement," forthcoming in Reassessing Stravinsky's Le Sacre du Printemps, 1913/2013, eds. Maureen Carr, Gretchen Horlacher, Severine Neff (Indiana University Press).

"Round Table: Edward Said Musicology Today," Journal of the Royal Musical Association 141 (216): 2013-232. With contributions by Kofi Agawu, Rachel Beckles Willson, James R. Currie, Martin Stokes, and Sindhumathi Revuluri.

"Limits of National History: Yoko Ono, Stefan Wolpe, and Dilemmas of Cosmopolitanism," Musical Quarterly 97 (2014): 181-237.

"Musical Modernism Beyond the Nation: The Case of Stefan Wolpe," Crosscurrents: American and European Music in Interaction, 1900-2000 ed. Felix Meyer, Carol J. Oja, Wolfgang Rathert, and Anne C. Shreffler. Woodbridge, Suffolk: The Boydell Press, 2014.

"Working on the Boundaries: Translation Studies, National Narratives, and Robert Lachmann in Jerusalem" (part of the colloquy "Musicology beyond Borders?"), Journal of the American Musicological Society 65 (2012): 830-833.

"Diasporic Dialogues in Mid-Century New York: Stefan Wolpe, George Russell, Hannah Arendt, and the Historiography of Displacement," Journal of the Society for American Music 6, no. 2 (May, 2012): 143-173.

"These Labyrinths of Terrible Differences: Composer Stefan Wolpe attempted to reconcile the most heated of national identities through music," Berlin Journal 19 (Fall 2010): 36-39.

"Politicizing Form, Pluralizing Community: Stefan Wolpe as 'an old collective individualist or individual collectivist.'" Wiener Jahrbuch für Jüdische Geschichte, Kultur und Museumswesen 8: Musik und Widerstand (2008): 85-100. 

"Boundary Situations: Translation and Agency in Wolpe's Modernism." Contemporary Music Review 27, no. 2-3 (April 2008): 323-341.

"Wolpe's 'Geschichte der Verknüpfungen': On Writing and Community." Mitteilungen der Paul Sacher Stiftung 19 (April 2006): 17-21.

Faculty Bio:
Brigid Cohen holds degrees from Harvard University (Ph.D.), Kings College London (M.Mus.), and Wellesley College (B.A.). Before coming to NYU, she was an Assistant Professor at UNC Chapel Hill and taught at Wesleyan University, where she was an Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center for Humanities. Her research and teaching center on twentieth-century musical avant-gardes, postcolonial studies, cultural theory, migration and diaspora, cosmopolitanism, jazz, and intersections of music, the visual arts, and literature. Her book Stefan Wolpe and the Avant-Garde Diaspora turns to the case of one German-Jewish émigré composer to explore how dilemmas of migration and cultural plurality shaped modernist movements from the Bauhaus to bebop to Black Mountain College. She is currently in the early stages of writing her second book Musical Migration and the Global City: New York, 1947-1965, which explores questions of displacement and citizenship in the early Cold War through a study of New York concert avant-gardes, electronic music, jazz, and performance art.

Professor Cohen has presented at numerous conferences, including those of the American Musicological Society, the Society for Ethnomusicology, the Society for Music Theory, the Society for American Music, and the Salzburg Festival. Her research has been supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities (2014), the American Academy in Berlin (2010), the Alvin H. Johnson AMS 50 Fellowship (2007), the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) (2006), the Getty Research Institute (2005), the Minda de Gunzberg Center for European Studies at Harvard University (2004-5), the Paul Sacher Foundation (2004), and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation (2000). Her work appears in publications including the Journal of the Society for American Music, Contemporary Music Review, and Journal of the American Musicological Society, and Musical Quarterly (forthcoming). She has also published and provided interviews in media outlets such as Der Tagesspiegel and Channel 13 New York (PBS/WNET).

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