Nancy Newman

Specializes in European and American musical practices since 1800, with an emphasis on the relationship between art music and popular culture

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Nancy Newman

Associate Professor
College of Arts and Sciences
Department: Music and Theatre

European and American music since 1800; music and popular culture; film music and feminist theory

Campus phone: (518) 442-4189
Campus email:


Musicologist, Associate Professor and Department Chair Nancy Newman joined the Music and Theatre Department at UAlbany in 2005 after teaching appointments at Tufts, Wesleyan, and Clark University.

Newman specializes in European and American musical practices since 1800, with an emphasis on the relationship between art music and popular culture. Her book, Good Music for a Free People: The Germania Musical Society in Nineteenth-Century America, is published in the series, Eastman Studies in Music (University of Rochester Press, 2010).

Articles on the orchestra have appeared in the Yearbook of German American Studies (1999) and the Institute for Studies in American Music Newsletter (2003). On 22 April 2014, Dr. Newman will give a talk on the Germanians' piano sheet music at the Library of Congress' historic Coolidge Auditorium (co-sponsored by the American Musicological Society).

A joint faculty member of the Department of Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Newman's other areas of interest include film music and feminist theory. She has given conference papers on Bjork's contribution to Dancer in the Dark, the composer-performer Clara Wieck Schumann, and the voice of actress Judy Holliday.

Her essay, “Gender and the Germanians: ‘Art-Loving Ladies’ in 19th-Century Concert Life” was published in American Orchestras in the Nineteenth Century (University of Chicago Press, 2012). This book was recently awarded the AMS Ruth Solie Award for Outstanding Essay Collection. An article on the 1950s musical, The 5000 Fingers of Dr. T, “’We’ll Make a Paderewski of You Yet!’” appears in Lowering the Boom: New Essays on the History, Theory and Practice of Film Sound (University of Illinois Press, 2008). She has contributed to The Grove Dictionary of American Music (Oxford Music Online) and published reviews in Women and Music, American Music, and Notes: Quarterly Journal of the Music Library Association. Her essay, “A Music Teacher’s Perspective on Savant Skill” appeared in Leon Miller’s Musical Savants: Exceptional Skill in the Mentally Retarded (Erlbaum, 1989).

Fellowships and awards for Dr. Newman’s research have been granted by the AMS, American Antiquarian Society, Music Library Association, AMS-New England, and John Nicholas Brown Center at Brown University. Her education includes degrees from the University of Chicago and Brown University, where she worked with Rose Subotnik, a leading expert on the critical theorist Theodor Adorno. An active performer of electroacoustic music for piano and other keyboards, Newman has been a member of several West African drumming and Indonesian gamelan ensembles.

In June 2011, she gave the U.S. premiere of Matt Malsky’s heterogeneous for toy piano and live-processed sound at Brooklyn’s Bargemusic.