Skip to main content

Peter Schmelz hired as associate professor of musicology in the School of Music


Peter Schmelz has been hired as associate professor of musicology in the ASU School of Music.


Photo by Kim Daniels

July 13, 2015

The School of Music has appointed Peter Schmelz to the musicology faculty as associate professor, beginning in August 2015. “Peter Schmelz’s research interests are in 20th- and 21st-century music – his publications center on the era after 1945, especially Russian, Ukrainian and Soviet music, including Shostakovich, Schnittke and Silvestrov, and he is engaged in research on popular culture, music and politics, and sound studies,” said Heather Landes, director of the school. “We are delighted that a scholar of Dr. Schmelz’s caliber is joining us, as his research complements the work of our musicology faculty, and we look forward to his many contributions to the undergraduate and graduate curriculum including our new PhD in musicology.”

“My current book project is about polystylism in music at the end of the Soviet Union, and my own background has been decidedly polystylistic—I like and listen to any and all kinds of music,” says Schmelz. “But my research, and especially the polystylism book, has grown to focus on the ways in which ‘high’ culture and ‘low’ culture have interacted and fed on one another over the past 100 years. I’ve always had a strong interest in pop music and jazz as well (with Coltrane at the top of the list). My fascination with music, history and all things Russian led to my concentration on Russian, and primarily Soviet, music.”

In 2009, Schmelz published another book, “Such Freedom, If Only Musical: Unofficial Soviet Music and Society During the Thaw” (Oxford). He was also founder of the American Musicological Society’s Cold War and Music study group. Schmelz has published in leading musicology journals including the Journal of the American Musicological Society and the Journal of Musicology, and his essays have appeared in edited volumes such as Shostakovich and His World and Music in the Post-9/11 World. He currently serves as editor with the Journal of Musicology.

Born outside of Detroit, Schmelz has lived across the U.S. throughout his career, and has spent time in Russia and Switzerland while conducting research. He trained seriously as a French horn player through college and earned his PhD at the University of California, Berkeley. He comes to ASU from Washington University in St. Louis, where he was an associate professor and also served as chair of the music department.

Schmelz says that he is looking forward to this position at the School of Music because he is impressed by the vitality and energy on campus, and by the transdisciplinary environment that ASU fosters, which will allow him an innovative approach to his variety of research interests.

“I’m also looking forward to being in the West again—I’ve always had a great love of the outdoors, and particularly the terrain of the Sierras and desert West,” says Schmelz. “My children were born and have been raised so far in the flat Midwest, so I’m glad that they’ll have a chance to grow up with mountains in clear view.”



Public Contact: 
Heather Beaman
School of Music Communications Liaison
480.727.6222
Heather.M.Beaman@asu.edu

Media Contact:
Heather Beaman
School of Music Communications Liaison
480.727.6222
Heather.M.Beaman@asu.edu