Areas of Study

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Peter Kupfer

Assistant Professor of Music History

Peter Kupfer received his Ph.D. in music history and theory from the University of Chicago in 2010 with a dissertation on the Soviet musical comedy films of Grigory Aleksandrov and Isaak Dunayevsky. He is a two-time Fulbright Fellowship recipient, for his dissertation research in Russia and for a research project on the reception of Wagner in the German Democratic Republic. As a teacher, Kupfer has taught at the University of Chicago, winning the Stuart Tave Course Design Teaching Award; in the School of Music at DePaul University in Chicago; and he spent the academic year 2010-11 as a Visiting Assistant Professor of Music at Reed College in Portland, Ore.

In broad terms, Kupfer’s research focuses on intersections of music, politics, nationalism, reception, and multimedia, with particular interests in 19th century German music and 20th century Russian/Soviet music. His current projects include an analysis of Aaron Copland’s score for the 1943 film The North Star as well as a study of the use of classical music in television commercials. He has presented his work at both regional and national meetings of the American Musicological Society, at the national convention of the Association for Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies, and at conferences in France, England and Canada.

Kupfer has published his research in the Journal of Musicology and a chapter of his on Wagner reception in East Germany will appear in 2014 in a volume on classical music in the German Democratic Republic.  At SMU, Kupfer has taught seminars on Beethoven, Music and Multimedia, Film Music, Music and Politics, and Shostakovich, in addition to teaching graduate research methods and the second half of the undergraduate music history survey.

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Film and Media Arts



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