Stanley Pelkey

Musicologist and historian Stan Pelkey currently serves as Director of the School of Music at the University of Kentucky. A graduate of the University of Rochester, he completed the M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Historical Musicology at the Eastman School of Music, as well as the M.A. in European History. During the past twenty years, he has taught undergraduate and graduate courses in music history and theory, film music, world music, and music entrepreneurship. Pelkey previously served as Dean of the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Roberts Wesleyan College in Rochester, New York, and as Associate Dean of Engagement and Entrepreneurship in Florida State University’s College of Music.

Pelkey researches and writes about American and British film and television music, Handel reception history, and the music of Ralph Vaughan Williams. He was the 2009 recipient of the Ralph Vaughan Williams Fellowship and has received support from the American Handel Society and London Handel Institute. His publications on film and television music include his edited collection, Anxiety Muted: American Film Music in a Suburban Age (Oxford University Press, 2014), which a reviewer in Notes called “necessary reading” in the field and his chapter “a model for future scholars”; entries for Movies in American History: An Encyclopedia (ABC-CLIO, 2011), including the article on film music; his chapter, “Still Flyin’? Conventions, Reversals, and Musical Meaning in Firefly” in Buffy, Ballads, and Bad Guys Who Sing: Music in the Worlds of Joss Whedon (Scarecrow Press, 2010); a chapter on music and Cold War politics in Doctor Who: “The Gunfighters” for Relocating the Sounds of the Western (Routledge, 2018); and his essay “Dexter at Home in Suburbia: Domesticated Monster / Ideal Father,” in NEPCA 2017: Proceedings of the Annual Conference of the Northeast Popular Culture Association (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2019).

Pelkey’s earlier publications on British music include chapters in his edited collection, Music and History: Bridging the Disciplines (University of Mississippi Press, 2005), and several other journal articles and encyclopedia entries. He has completed numerous book reviews for The American Historical Review, Music Reference Services Quarterly, the Bulletin of the Society of American Music, and Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries, and he has given dozens of presentations at the regional, national, and international conferences of professional organizations and societies, such as the American Historical Association, the Popular Culture Association, the College Music Society, the North American British Music Studies Association, the American Musicological Society, the British Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, and Film & History.

Pelkey remains active as a pianist and composer and has served as Director of Music for churches in New York, Michigan, Massachusetts, Kentucky, and Florida. His organ teachers have included Russell Saunders, Michael Farris, Katie Pardee, Karl Schrock, and Mark Schell. He blogs and curates a series of podcasts featuring his original music at

Director, School of Music
Associate Professor


105 Fine Arts Building