New Editor Appointed for American Music


The University of Illinois Press is pleased to announce the appointment of Michael Pisani, professor of music at Vassar College, as Editor of American Music beginning January 2014.  Pisani, a renowned scholar, author, pianist, and conductor, brings to American Music his 30+ years of experience in nineteenth- and twentieth-century music, opera, American music, and film music.

About Michael Pisani

Michael Pisani was born in Gary, Indiana. His early musical experiences include classical and folk accordion, participation in a rich music and drama program at Andrean (Catholic) High School, and directing a local church choir. He attended Oberlin College as a composer and pianist and earned a master’s degree in conducting. He served as musical director for an arts organization in Valdosta, Georgia before being invited by Raymond Harvey, a fellow Obie, to be his conducting assistant for the Texas Opera Theatre. This led to six exciting years on the road with the glorious Houston Grand Opera, in which he worked with many renowned singers, directors, and composers. He prepared the casts for Carlisle Floyd’s Willie Stark and Leonard Bernstein’s A Quiet Place, and led the Composers’ Opera Workshop for two seasons. In addition, he served as rehearsal pianist for the Pacific Northwest Wagner Festival, chorus master for the Chautauqua Opera, conductor for Opera New England (under Sarah Caldwell) and the Skylight Opera (under Stephen Wadsworth and Francesca Zambello), and several others.

In 1996 Pisani completed a Ph.D. in musicology at the Eastman School of Music (University of Rochester, New York) where he concentrated on American musical nationalism and exoticism. He developed his thesis into a book: Imagining Native America in Music, which was published by Yale University Press in 2005 and which won an ASCAP-Deems Taylor Award.  Although he teaches music of all periods and styles, he is a scholar of American music of the 19th and early 20th centuries, specializing in dramatic forms such as theatre music, opera, film music, and program music. He also published two essays on teaching film music. One of these appeared in Teaching Music History, ed. Mary Natvig (Ashgate, 2002) and the other in Film Music II, published by the Film Music Society of Los Angeles (2004).

His first essay on 19th-century theatrical music was published in the Cambridge Companion to Victorian and Edwardian Theatre (2003) and his biggest research project in this area is forthcoming in 2014 from the University of Iowa Press. This is a study of music written for stage plays in London and New York from 1780 to 1910 and is, in effect, a transatlantic history of melodramatic theatre. An offshoot of this—“When the Music Surges”—is an investigation of the influence of 19th-century melodramatic theatre on music for Hollywood film melodramas. This will also appear in 2014 in the Oxford Handbook to Film Music.

About American Music

American Music is the first journal that was devoted exclusively to American music and the wide-ranging scope implied by its title. Articles cover a rich array of composers, performers, publishers, institutions, performing traditions, and events. Recent essay topics have included: disability in Carlisle Floyd's Of Mice and Men; hip hop sampling of jazz; harpsichord kits; music in the Appalachian mountaintop removal mining debate; Mychael Danna's score for The Sweet Hereafter; funeral music in the South; David Tudor and the bandoneon; and music in stagings of Tennessee Williams's A Streetcar Named Desire. The journal also includes reviews of books, recordings, films, websites, and concerts.

American Music is issued quarterly and is published by the University of Illinois Press. Full details about the journal, including submission guidelines, advertising information, and subscription rates are available at American Music is available online to subscribers through the JSTOR Current Scholarship Program at

About the University of Illinois Press

Since its inception, American Music has been published by the University of Illinois Press, which was established in 1918 as a not-for-profit scholarly publisher at the University and was one of the founding members of the Association of American University Presses in 1937. UIP is ranked as one of the country's larger and more distinguished university presses and publishes works of high quality for scholars, students, and the citizens of the state and beyond.





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