Michael Puri headshot
MP

Michael James Puri

Associate Professor
Unit: College of Arts and Sciences
Department: Department of Music
Office location and address
Randall 124
130 Hospital Dr
Charlottesville, Virginia 22904
Biography

A dutiful but unenthusiastic classical pianist in my youth, I suddenly became quite serious about music when I was sixteen and for the rest of high school spent an inordinate amount of time practicing and listening to classical repertoire. My desire to develop this newfound passion alongside my abiding interest in academics launched me on a journey which ultimately included not only a handful of degrees—B.A. in Music and German at Harvard, undergraduate and graduate diplomas in piano performance from the Music Academy in Basel, Switzerland, and an M. Phil. and Ph.D. in Music Theory from Yale—but also work as a programmer and announcer at a radio station (WHRB in Cambridge, MA), and as a volunteer in the community. Immediately after receiving my doctoral degree in 2004 I came to Charlottesville to teach in the McIntire Department of Music at the University of Virginia. I maintain my life as a performer by giving lecture-recitals on grounds; as a member of UVa's Center for German Studies, I have recently discussed and performed Brahms's op. 5 piano sonata, Robert Schumann's Kreisleriana and Nachtstücke, and Liszt's Funérailles.   

Just as I seek to balance musical performance and academics in my personal life, I also seek to balance technical with more humanistic approaches to music in my scholarly work. My equal investment in fields within music academia (music theory and historical musicology, in particular) and beyond it (literary and critical theory) has motivated me to explore the deep cultural implication of music without sacrificing attention to compositional detail. This synthetic method informs each of the eight chapters of my monograph, Ravel the Decadent: Memory, Sublimation, and Desire (Oxford, 2011). By broaching topics such as dandyism, traumatic and redemptive memory, idylls, and bacchanals, it traces the aesthetic origins of the music of Maurice Ravel (1875–1937) to the artistic movement of the French Decadence.

In addition to this book, my effort to wed music analysis to the interpretation of culture has led me to engage with the music and thought of Wagner, Adorno, Jankélévitch, and Gadamer; essays on these and other topics appear in a variety of journals—Journal of the American Musicological Society, Music Analysis, 19th-Century Music, Music Theory Online, and Cambridge Opera Journal, among others—and in several edited collections. (Bibliography and pdfs can be found on my personal webpage.) I am currently writing a second monograph, Sympathetic Resonances, which seeks to challenge the long-standing opposition between German Romanticism and early French Modernism by highlighting moments of sonic, cultural, and historical coincidence between the two.

At the University of Virginia I have taught a variety of courses. At the undergraduate level this has included the entire major-level theory sequence, as well as seminars on nineteenth-century music, program music, French music at the fin de siècle, and Schenkerian analysis. Doctoral seminar topics have included memory studies, Wagner (The Ring, Lohengrin, and Parsifal), the interarts, humor, and the analysis of music-text relations in art song.

For my research I have received financial support from many institutions, including the American Philosophical Society, the Javits Foundation, the Mellon Foundation, the Whiting Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), the American Musicological Society, and the Society for Music Theory. For an essay on Ravel's dandyism I received the 2008 Alfred Einstein Award from the American Musicological Society, which recognizes the best article written by an early-career scholar in the previous year. During the 2013–14 academic year I was in residence at the National Humanities Center as its Delta Delta Delta Fellow. I am currently Director of Graduate Studies for my department and Review Editor (2017–19) for the Journal of the American Musicological Society.

EGMT 1510: Engaging Aesthetics
Credits: 2
In this class students will learn to identify, describe, and analyze aesthetic phenomena, understand the social role and ongoing evolution of human creative expression, and develop their own approach to creative expression.
MUSI 2010: Music, Meaning, and the Arts
Credits: 3
What does music signify, and how does it convey meaning? How does its collaboration with other arts inflect both its significance and signifying ability? This lecture course seeks to answer these questions in an inquiry that focuses on Western art music from about 1800 to the present. This course is intended for non-music majors; no prior musical experience is required or expected.
MUSI 2993: Independent Study
Credits: 1–3
Prerequisite: Instructor permission.
MUSI 3030: Studies in Nineteenth-Century Music
Credits: 3
Prerequisite: MUSI 3310; or instructor permission.
MUSI 3310: Theory I
Credits: 3
Studies the pitch and rhythmic aspects of several musical styles, including European art music, blues, African drumming, and popular music. Focuses on concepts and notation related to scales and modes, harmony, meter, form, counterpoint, and style. Prerequisite: Ability to read music, and familiarity with basic concepts of pitch intervals and scales..
MUSI 3320: Theory II
Credits: 3
Studies pitch and formal organization in European concert music of the 18th and 19th centuries. Includes four-part vocal writing, 18th-century style keyboard accompaniment, key relations, and form. Students compose numerous short passages of music and study significant compositions by period composers. Prerequisite: MUSI 3310 or instructor permission.
MUSI 3559: New Course in Music
Credits: 1–4
This course provides the opportunity to offer new topics in the subject of Music.
MUSI 3993: Independent Study
Credits: 1–3
Prerequisite: Instructor permission.
MUSI 4331: Theory III
Credits: 3
Studies in 18th-, 19th-, and 20th-century techniques and styles through analysis and composition. Prerequisite: MUSI 3320 or instructor permission.
MUSI 4507: Composers
Credits: 3
Study of the life and works of a composer (or school of composers); topic announced in advance. Prerequisite: MUSI 3320 or the equivalent and instructor permission.
MUSI 4993: Independent Study
Credits: 1–3
Prerequisite: Instructor permission.
MUSI 7510: Cultural and Historical Studies of Music
Credits: 3
Selected topics, announced in advance, exploring the study of music within cultural and historical frameworks. Prerequisite: Instructor permission.
MUSI 7520: Current Studies in Research and Criticism
Credits: 3
Current Studies in Research and Criticism Prerequisite: Instructor permission.
ENGL 8559: New Course in English Literature
Credits: 1–4
This course provides the opportunity to offer a new topic in the subject of English Literature. For more details on this class, please visit the department website at http://www.engl.virginia.edu/courses.
MUSI 8910: Supervised Research
Credits: 3
Reading and/or other work in particular fields under supervision of an instructor. Normally taken by first-year graduate students. Prerequisite: Instructor permission.
MUSI 8993: Independent Study
Credits: 1–3
Independent study dealing with a specific topic. Requirements will place primary emphasis on independent research. Prerequisite: Instructor permission.
MUSI 8998: Non-Topical Research, Preparation for Research
Credits: 1–12
For master's research, taken before a thesis director has been selected.
MUSI 8999: Non-Topical Research
Credits: 1–12
For master's thesis, taken under the supervision of a thesis director.
MUSI 9910: Supervised Research
Credits: 3
Reading and/or other work in particular fields under supervision of an instructor. Normally taken by second year graduate students. Prerequisite: Instructor permission.
MUSI 9920: Supervised Research
Credits: 3
Reading and/or other work in particular fields under supervision of an instructor. Normally taken by second year graduate students. Prerequisite: Instructor permission.
MUSI 9998: Non-Topical Research, Preparation for Doctoral Research
Credits: 1–12
Preliminary research directed towards a dissertation in consultation with an instructor. Prerequisite: Instructor permission.
MUSI 9999: Non-Topical Research
Credits: 1–12
For doctoral dissertation, taken under the supervision of a dissertation director. Prerequisite: Instructor permission.