Harvard University Department of Music



Carol Oja
William Powell Mason Professor of Music
Historical Musicology
Music Building 304S

Oja's research focuses on 20th- and 21st-century American musical traditions, and her current project is tentatively titled “Black Virtuosos and Civil Rights: Performing Racial Desegregation after World War II.”  Her most recent book, Bernstein Meets Broadway: Collaborative Art in a Time of War, was published by Oxford University Press in 2014. Crosscurrents: American and European Music in Interaction, 1900-2000, edited together with Felix Meyer, Wolfgang Rathert, and Anne Shreffler, appeared from The Boydell Press that same year, as did Music and Musical Composition at the American Academy in Rome, edited by Martin Brody (to which she contributed two chapters). Oja’s Making Music Modern: New York in the 1920swon the Lowens Book Award from the Society for American Music. Other books include Copland and his World (co-edited with Judith Tick); Colin McPhee: Composer in Two WorldsA Celebration of American Music: Words and Music in Honor of H. Wiley Hitchcock; and American Music Recordings: A Discography of 20th-Century U.S. Composers. She has won three ASCAP-Deems Taylor Awards.  

Oja co-directed (with Judith Clurman) the Harvard conference and festival Leonard Bernstein: Boston to Broadway (2006), and she was also co-director (with Anne Shreffler) of the conference Crosscurrents: American and European Music in Interaction, 1900-2000 (2008)One of her seminars curated the exhibit, Unmasking Jim Crow: Blackface Minstrelsy in American Popular Culture, which drew on materials in the Harvard Theatre Collection. She is a member of Harvard's Standing Committee on the Graduate Program in American Studies, the Standing Committee on Dramatic Arts, and the Steering Committee of the Charles Warren Center for American History. She is past-president of the Society for American Music, and she has chaired the Pulitzer Prize Committee in Music. Oja has held fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the National Humanities Center, the Newhouse Center for the Humanities at Wellesley College, the Mellon Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. She received the Everett S. Mendelsohn Excellence in Mentoring Award at Harvard, and the 2015 Distinguished Service Award from the Society for American Music. She recently completed two terms as the Leonard Bernstein Scholar-in-Residence with the New York Philharmonic.


  Selected Publications

JAMS Colloquy. Studying U.S. Music in the Twenty-First Century (with Charles Hiroshi Garrett)
Walter Piston (1894-1976)
West Side Story and The Music Man: whiteness, immigration, and race in the US during the lat 1950s
Leonard Bernstein's Jewish Boston: Cross-Disciplinary Research in the Classroom
"New Music" and the "New Negro": The Background of William Grant Still's Afro-American Symphony
Dane Rudhyar's Visiton of American Dissonance
Gershwin and the American Modernists of the 1920s
Marc Blitzstein's The Cradle Will Rock and Mass-Song Styles of the 1930s
Cos Cob Press and the American Composer
Diverse Musical Traditions, Diverse Students