Carol J. Oja

William Powell Mason Professor of Music
Historical Musicology
Music Building 203 S

Oja’s research focuses on the history of American music and culture. Her most recent book, Bernstein Meets Broadway: Collaborative Art in a Time of War (Oxford University Press) received the Music in American Culture Award from the American Musicological Society. Her Making Music Modern: New York in the 1920s (Oxford) won the Lowens Book Award from the Society for American Music. Sounding Together: Collaborative Perspectives on U.S. Music in the 21st Century, co-edited with Charles Hiroshi Garrett, is forthcoming from the University of Michigan Press, and she is at work on a book provisionally titled Civil Rights in the Concert Hall: Marian Anderson and the Struggle Against Racial Segregation in Classical Music Performance.

Oja is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a Walter Channing Cabot Fellow at Harvard (2015–16), and a Visiting Fellow of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science. She is past-president of the Society for American Music and has twice chaired the Pulitzer Prize Committee in Music. She has held fellowships from the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, American Council of Learned Societies, John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, National Humanities Center, Newhouse Center for the Humanities at Wellesley College, Mellon Foundation, and National Endowment for the Humanities. She received the Everett S. Mendelsohn Excellence in Mentoring Award at Harvard; the 2015 Distinguished Service Award from the Society for American Music; and the President’s Distinguished Alumni Medal from the Graduate School of CUNY. She has served as the Leonard Bernstein Scholar-in-Residence with the New York Philharmonic and is an occasional contributor to TLS (Times Literary Supplement).

Oja’s other books include Crosscurrents: American and European Music in Interaction, 1900–2000 (The Boydell Press), edited with Felix Meyer, Wolfgang Rathert, and Anne Shreffler; and two chapters of Music and Musical Composition at the American Academy in Rome, edited by Martin Brody (University of Rochester). Also: Copland and His World (Princeton); Colin McPhee: Composer in Two Worlds (Smithsonian); A Celebration of American Music: Words and Music in Honor of H. Wiley Hitchcock (University of Michigan); and American Music Recordings: A Discography of 20th-Century U.S. Composers (Institute for Studies in American Music). She has won three ASCAP-Deems Taylor Book Awards. She is also on the steering committee for the blog “Women’s Song Forum,” initiated in 2020.

Oja co-directed (with Judith Clurman) the Harvard conference and festival Leonard Bernstein: Boston to Broadway (2006). One of her graduate seminars curated the exhibit, Unmasking Jim Crow: Blackface Minstrelsy in American Popular Culture, which drew on materials in the Harvard Theatre Collection. Another seminar initiated the Eileen Southern Project, which includes an exhibit, website, and future symposium. The project honors the author of The Music of Black Americans, who was also the first African American woman to be tenured in Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Oja is a member of Harvard’s Standing Committee on the Graduate Program in American Studies, the Standing Committee for Theater, Dance, and Media, and the Steering Committee of the Charles Warren Center for American History.

Carol Oja’s WEBSITE