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)


Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley, Music (History and Literature), 1988 
M. A., University of California, Berkeley, Music (History and Literature), 1982 
B. A., Dartmouth College, Comparative Literature and Music, 1979

Academic Positions: 

University of California, Los Angeles – Visiting Assistant Professor, 1988-89
University of California, Berkeley – Visiting Associate Professor, 2005
Stanford University – Assistant Professor 1990-1996; Associate Professor, 1997-2006; Professor 2007-2022; Professor emeritus (active teaching), 2022-24

Fellowships and Awards

DAAD, NEH, Alexander von Humboldt Foundation

Professional Societies

American Musicological Society, Society for Music Theory

Editorial Board Memberships: 

Journal of the American Musicological Society (JAMS): editor-in-chief, 1999-2001; Cambridge Opera Journal, WagnerSpectrum, The Wagner Journal, Nineteenth-Century Music Review, Journal of Musicology


  • 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 antisemitism, 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.
  • Ongoing 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.
  • Current publication projects also include: a three-volume annotated edition of selected music criticism and other journalism of Eduard Hanslick (1824-1904) in translation, in collaboration with Alexander Wilfing (Austrian Academy of Sciences / Center for Digital Humanities and Cultural Heritage), and a critical monograph essay "Opera as Melodrama”


  • My earlier teaching at Stanford included graduate history seminars (Wagner, opera, musical historiography), general education courses on Liszt and Romanticism, the symphony, Beethoven, and music appreciation, as well as beginning-intermediate theory, analysis and composition, and graduate-level tonal analysis.
  • An Introduction to Opera (Music 2C), 2011-2024
  • Freshman introductory seminars Music 16N (Music, Myth, and Modernity: Wagner’s Ring cycle and Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings), 2005-10 and Music 34N (Performing America: The Broadway Musical), 2012-24
  • Graduate seminar topics include 19th century “neo-classicism,” music and visual culture, the operas of Richard Wagner, approaches to professional writing about music, eco-criticism and ideas of nature in Romantic music, Mahler’s symphonies, theories of beauty and the formation of musical taste.