Thomas Grey


Braun Music Center Rm. 219

Thomas Grey

Area(s) of Expertise
Degrees / Education
Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley, Music (History and Literature) (1988)
M. A., University of California, Berkeley, Music (1982)
B. A., Dartmouth College, Comparative Literature and Music (1979)


B.A. (1979) in Comparative Literature and Music, Dartmouth College
M.A. (1982) and Ph.D. (1988) in Music (History and Literature), University of California, Berkeley.
Academic positions: I have taught at the University of California, Los Angeles (1988-89) and the University of California, Berkeley (2005). Since 1990 I have been in the Music Department at Stanford University: Assistant Prof. 1990-1996, Associate Prof. 1997-2006, Professor 2007- present.

Fellowships and awards: DAAD, NEH, Alexander von Humboldt Foundation
Professional societies: American Musicological Society, Society for Music Theory
Editorial Board memberships: JAMS (editor-in-chief, 1999-2001); Cambridge Opera Journal, WagnerSpectrum, The Wagner Journal, Nineteenth-Century Music Review


• My Ph.D. thesis looked at the critical and philosophical-aesthetic contexts of Richard Wagner’s writings on music from the 1840s through the 1860s, in particular debates about the nature of musical “form” and “content” in so-called absolute music vs. program music and texted music (opera, music drama). These issues were the focus of my first book, Wagner’s Musical Prose: Texts and Contexts (Cambridge University Press, 1995). Wagner and 19th-century opera studies have remained at the center of my work, with three edited volumes on Wagner: Cambridge Opera Handbook on Der fliegende Holländer (2000), The Cambridge Companion to Wagner (2008), and Wagner and his World (2009).

• Other long-standing research topics include Beethoven reception, Mendelssohn’s orchestral music, Wagner and anti-Semitism, Eduard Hanslick and the idea of “absolute music,” critical debates around the “New German School,” and Romantic music and visual culture.
• More recently I have been interested in music and theatrical melodrama, music and the “Gothic,” and the history of American musical theater.
• A current book project involves the idea of “beauty” in critical discourse on music from the Enlightenment to early modernism, starting from a new look at the Hanslick-Wagner controversy.


• My earlier teaching at Stanford included, in addition to graduate history seminars, general education courses on Liszt and Romanticism, the symphony, Beethoven, and music appreciation, as well as beginning theory and graduate-level tonal analysis.
• Among the Freshman introductory seminars I have taught are Music 16N (Music, Myth, and Modernity: Wagner’s Ring cycle and Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings) and Music 34N (Performing America: The Broadway Musical).

• Graduate seminar topics include 19th century “neo-classicim,” music and visual culture, approaches to professional writing about music, eco-criticism and ideas of nature in Romantic music, and Mahler’s symphonies.