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Peter Kupfer

Associate Professor of Musicology
Chair, Department of Musicology

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.

Kupfer’s research focuses on intersections of music, ideology, and multimedia, with particular interests in 19th century German music and 20th century Russian/Soviet music. In addition, he is interested in questions of musical meaning and reception history, and has, most recently, approached these topics using empirical methods from music sociology and psychology. 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, at the International Conference on Music Perception and Cognition, and at other conferences in France, the United Kingdom, and Canada. His current projects include studies of Aaron Copland’s score for the 1943 film The North Star, the 1941 Soviet film Anton Ivanovich Gets Angry, and tempos in recordings of Shostakovich’s Fifth Symphony.

Kupfer has published his research in the Journal of Musicology; Twentieth-Century Music; Music and the Moving Image; and a chapter of his on Wagner reception in East Germany appeared in 2015 in the edited volume Classical Music in the German Democratic Republic: Production and Reception.

At SMU, Kupfer teaches seminars on Beethoven, Shostakovich, Music and Multimedia, Film Music, Music and Politics, and Music History Pedagogy, as well as research methods and the second half of the undergraduate music history survey. He is also a regular Performance Prelude speaker for the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.


Ph.D., Music History and Theory, University of Chicago
B.A., Music, Computer Science, German Studies, Amherst College


“Musical ‘Diplomacy’ in American and Soviet World War II Films of the 1940s,” in Music and World War II, edited by Pamela Potter and Roberta Marvin (forthcoming).

“Prokofiev in the Popular Consciousness,” in Rethinking Prokofiev, edited by Rita McAllister and Christina Guillaumier (Oxford University Press, forthcoming).

“Review of Composing for the Red Screen: Prokofiev and Soviet Film (by Kevin Bartig),” in Transposition: Musique et sciences sociales 6 (2017). Available at

“Classical Music in Television Commercials: A Social–Psychological Perspective,” Music and the Moving Image 10, No. 1 (Spring 2017), 23-53.

“‘Our Soviet Americanism’: Jolly Fellows, Music, and Early Soviet Cultural Ideology,” Twentieth–Century Music 13, no. 2 (Fall 2016): 201-32.

Ehrt euren deutschen Meister: Reproducing Wagner in the GDR,” in Classical Music in the German Democratic Republic: Production and Reception, eds. Kyle Frackman and Larson Powell (Rochester, N.Y.: Camden House, 2015), 75–96.

Volga–Volga: ‘The Story of a Song,’ Vernacular Modernism, and the Realization of Soviet Music,” Journal of Musicology 30, no. 4 (2013): 530–76.

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Art History

Arts Management and Arts Entrepreneurship

Corporate Communication and Public Affairs

Creative Computation


Film and Media Arts



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