Musicology and Ethnomusicology Division

The Division of Musicology and Ethnomusicology of the UK School of Music offers a superior education in musicology with its diverse faculty of scholars, its dual emphasis on traditional research and creative explorations in the field, its focus on collaborations between scholarship and performance, and its access to the extensive collections housed in the Lucille Little Fine Arts Library and the John Jacob Niles Center for American Music. The Coordinator of the Division of Musicology and Ethnomusicology is Ron Pen.


The Musicology and Ethnomusicology Division is presently made up of seven full-time faculty and one part-time instructor, whose specialties range from the Medieval period to contemporary music, from chant and opera to fiddle tunes, folk songs, and Korean drumming, employing a wide variety of methodological approaches. The expertise of several faculty members reinforces the School of Music’s designated strengths in Opera/Vocal Music and American Music.

Ben Arnold, A 19th-Century scholar who centers his work in the music of Liszt. He edited the Liszt Companion (Greenwood Press, 2002), has also published widely on music and war, most notably Music and War: A Research and Information Guide (Garland, 1993).

Lance Brunner, a Medievalist with an expertise in sequence, has edited several volumes of Early Medieval Chants from Nonantola (A-R Editions, 1996-99); he also brings together a range of interests in contemporary music, meditation, and music and healing.

Jonathan Glixon, Renaissance and Baroque specialist, has recently published Inventing the Business of Opera: The Impresario and His World in Mid-Seventeenth-Century Venice (Oxford University Press, 2005), in collaboration with part-time instructor and Early Baroque scholar Beth Glixon. Jonathan Glixon’s publications have also centered on Venetian laude and the musical practices of nunneries and confraternities, including his book, Honoring God and the City: Music and the Venetian Confraternities, 1260-1807 (Oxford University Press, 2003).

Diana Hallman, a specialist in 19th-Century French opera, particularly the central repertoire of French grand opera and the composer Fromental Halévy, has published a contextual study of the opera La Juive, entitled Opera, Liberalism, and Antisemitism in Nineteenth-Century France: The Politics of Halévy’s La Juive (Cambridge University Press, 2002), as well as articles and chapters on French opera. Her interests in American music have centered in American concert life, and she is continuing work on a biography of the Austrian-American pianist Fannie Bloomfield Zeisler.

Donna Lee Kwon, an ethnomusicologist with a specialty in the music of Korea, also works in East Asian and Asian American popular and creative musics, issues of music and embodiment, gender and the body, space and place, musical scenes and the workings of cultural politics.

Ronald A. Pen, specialist in American music, serves as Director of the John Jacob Niles Center for American Music and Coordinator of the Division of Musicology and Ethnomusicology, With particular focus on Appalachian traditional and popular styles, he recently published I Wonder As I Wander a biography and cultural study of the composer, folk arranger, and collector John Jacob Niles. Recent publications also include “Preservation and Presentation of the Folk: Forging an American Identity” in Music, American Made: Essays in Honor of John Graziano (Harmonie Park Press, 2010).

Dr. Erin Walker Bliss, lecturer, is director of the new World Music Performance program within the University's General Education Curriculum. She holds a DMA in percussion performance from UK, and is completing her PhD, also at UK, with a concentration in ethnomusicolgy.

Dr. Beth Glixon, part-time instructor, is a specialist in music of the 17th century, with particular emphasis on opera in Venice.

Graduate Study in Musicology and Ethnomusicology

The School of Music offers two degrees in Musicology/Ethnomusicology:

  • M.A. in Musicology & Ethnomusicology
  • Combined M.A./Ph.D. in Musicology & Ethnomusicology

See the complete graduate program of study in Musicology and Ethnomusicology as well as the list of courses offered.

The musicology graduate program has a diverse student body, with a wide variety of backgrounds and interests (click here to find out more about our current students). As can be seen from the topics our alumni have selected for Ph.D. dissertations and M.A. theses, the program welcomes research into any area of music.

Through the generosity of Rey and Katherine Longyear, the Division sponsors an annual series of distinguished guest lectures.

The University of Kentucky supports a comprehensive music collection through the Lucille Little Fine Arts Library, and provides numerous opportunities for original research in its special collections, most notably those of the John Jacob Niles Center for American Music.

The Division of Musicology and Ethnomusicology offers several types of financial support for graduate students. Click here for further information.

See information on application to the M.A. and Ph.D. programs.

For further information on our programs, please contact Ron Pen, Coordinator of the Division of Musicology and Ethnomusicology.

Undergraduate Study

The Division of Musicology and Ethnomusicology offers a full range of undergraduate courses for majors and non-majors.

The UK School of Music does not offer an undergraduate degree in musicology or music history. Undergraduate students who plan to study musicology at the graduate level might wish to consider the B.A. degree in music, since it offers the most opportunity for advanced study, but those with other undergraduate music degrees can also pursue graduate study in the field.