Benjamin Korstvedt graduated summa cum laude from Clark University in 1987 with a B.A. in Music and received his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1995. He joined the Clark faculty in 2002. He has served as Chair of the Department of Visual and Performing Arts and as Program Director for Music. In 2008, he was appointed George N. and Selma U. Jeppson Professor of Music. He is also affiliated with the program in Communication and Culture. Before coming to Clark, Professor Korstvedt served on the faculties of the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota and the University of Iowa. Read more about Professor Korstvedt on his personal website.
Scholarship and Research
Professor Korstvedt's research centers on conjunctions between music and culture in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. He has long specialized in the Austrian composer Anton Bruckner (1824-96). His work has explored the complex text-critical issues surrounding Bruckner's works, the reception of his music by critics and scholars in the Third Reich, the place of Bruckner's music in the culture of fin-de-siècle Vienna, and the form and meaning of Bruckner's symphonies. He has published numerous articles on these topics and has presented papers at conferences and symposia in the United States, Canada, England, Germany, Hungary, and Austria. In 2000, he published a monograph on Bruckner’s Eighth Symphony that considers the history, musical design, aesthetic meaning, and performance of that great work.
In 2004, Professor Korstvedt published the first modern edition of the 1888 version of Bruckner's Fourth Symphony for the Bruckner Collected Works edition. This version of the symphony has been performedMünster, Germany, among others. The score received its US premiere in November 2008 by the Minnesota Orchestra under their music director, Osmo Vänskä. The orchestra’s recording of this score for BIS Records will be released in 2010. internationally in Tokyo, Edinburgh, Montreal, and
In 2007 Professor Korstvedt was a Senior Fellow as the Internationales Forschungszentrum Kulturwissenschaften (International Research Center in Cultural Studies) in Vienna. His project there, “Rhetorical excess and the cultural unconscious in Viennese music criticism," explored music criticism as a public discourse in fin-de-siécle Vienna. He has also received fellowships from the American Musicological Society and the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Professor Korstvedt’s most recent book is a critical study of the musical aesthetics of the German philosopher Ernst Bloch (1885-1977) entitled Listening for Utopia in Ernst Bloch's Musical Philosophy. The book explicates central themes of Bloch's philosophy of music and develops them through essays on works by Wagner, Mozart, Bruckner and Brahms.
Professor Korstvedt has a long interest in the music of Joseph Haydn and is currently the Vice President of the Haydn Society of North America. In 2009, the 200th anniversary of Haydn’s birth, he was a participant in conferences on the composer and his times in Budapest, Toronto, and Boston.
Professor Korstvedt's teaching covers musical history and culture from the seventeenth century into the twentieth century, with a special interest in developing critical strategies for exploring connections between music and its many cultural contexts. He teaches several courses in Clark’s music curriculum including an innovative introductory course “Studying music historically and critically,” as well as courses on topics in music before 1750, the classical and romantic repertory, and musical modernism from 1885 to 1945.
Topics of his seminars have included "Schubert, Beethoven and the transformation of music, 1800-1830," "Music and culture in fin-de-siècle Vienna" and "Haydn: approaches to the music." He has twice had the opportunity to team-teach interdisciplinary seminars sponsored by Clark’s Higgins School of the Humanities, "The Total Work of Art and Cultural Criticism from Wagner to the Present" (with Prof. Jiro Tanaka, German) and "Seeing and Hearing in Early Modern Europe" (with Prof. Andrea Lepage, Art History)
Listening for Utopia in Ernst Bloch's Musical Philosophy (Cambridge University Press, 2010).
Anton Bruckner: IV Symphonie Es-Dur, Fassung von 1888, Anton Bruckner Sämtliche Werke, Band IV/3 (Musikwissenschaftlicher Verlag, Vienna, 2004)
Anton Bruckner: Symphony no. 8, Cambridge Music Handbooks (Cambridge University Press, 2000).
"Reading Music Criticism Beyond the fin-de-siècle Vienna Paradigm," Musical Quarterly 92 (2010), forthcoming.
"The Critics and the Quintet: a Study in Musical Representation" in Anton Bruckners Wiener Jahre: Analysen – Fakten – Perspektiven. Wiener Bruckner-Studien 1, ed., Renate Grasberger, Elisabeth Maier and Erich Wolfgang Partsch (Vienna, 2009), 145-66.
"The Early Compositional History of Bruckner's Fourth Symphony: an Interim Report," The Bruckner Journal, Vol. 12, no. 1 (March 2008), 33-40
"Music Criticism as Cultural Text: the Case of Hugo Wolf," Musicologica Austriaca: Jahresschrift derGesellschaft für Musikwissenschaft 26 (2007), 53-64 Österreichischen
Review of Ernst Bloch, Traces for h-net.org (2007).
"Resistance, Satire, and Strange Enthusiasm: Progressive Responses to Wagner during the First World War Era" in 'Von Grenzen und Ländern, Zentren und Rändern': Der Erste Weltkrieg und die Verschiebungen in der musikalischen Geographie Europas, ed. Christa Brüstle, Guido Heldt, and Eckhardt Weber (Edition Argus, 2005)
"Bruckner Editions: the Revolution Reconsidered" and "Between Formlessness and Formality: Aspects of Bruckner's Form" in The Cambridge Companion to Bruckner, ed. John Williamson (Cambridge University Press, 2004)
"'Return to the Pure Sources': The Ideology and Text-Critical Legacy of the First Bruckner Gesamtausgabe" in Bruckner Studies, ed. Paul Hawkshaw and Timothy Jackson (Cambridge University Press, 1997)
"Anton Bruckner in the Third Reich and After: an Essay on Ideology and Bruckner Reception," The Musical Quarterly 80 (1996)
He is a contributor to The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians and his reviews have appeared in The Journal of the American Musicological Society, Music and Letters, The Journal of Modern History and Notes