Carol J. Oja

William Powell Mason Professor of Music


Oja’s research focuses on 20th- and 21st-century American musical traditions, often in transnational contexts. Her book, Making Music Modern: New York in the 1920s (2000), won the Lowens Book Award from the Society for American Music and an ASCAP-Deems Taylor Award. Her newest book, Bernstein Meets Broadway: Collaborative Art in a Time of War, is in production with Oxford University Press. Other books include Copland and his World (co-edited with Judith Tick, 2005); Colin McPhee: Composer in Two Worlds (paperback edition 2004); A Celebration of American Music: Words and Music in Honor of H. Wiley Hitchcock (1990); and American Music Recordings: A Discography of 20th-Century U.S. Composers.

Oja directed the Harvard conference and festival Leonard Bernstein: Boston to Broadway (2006), and she was co-director (with Anne Shreffler) of the conference Crosscurrents: American and European Music in Interaction, 1900-2000, which took place at Harvard and Ludwig-Maximillians-Universität in Munich in 2008-09. The proceedings of Crosscurrents will be published by The Boydell Press in 2013. She is a member of Harvard’s Standing Committee of the Graduate Program in American Studies, as well as the Steering Committee of the Charles Warren Center for American History. She is past-president of the Society for American Music. Oja has held fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the National Humanities Center, the Newhouse Center for Humanities at Wellesley College, and the National Humanities Center. In 2012, she received the Everett S. Mendelsohn Excellence in Mentoring Award at Harvard. In 2013-14, she is Leonard Bernstein Scholar-in-Residence with the New York Philharmonic.

Dissertation Committees

“‘Heard It on the Radio’: Automobile Radio and American Culture” (Aaron Hatley)

“Performing While ‘Black’: African American Broadway Musicals of the 1970s and the Politics of Race” (Scott Poulson-Bryant)

“Rubber Souls: Rock and Roll and the Racial Imagination” (John C. Hamilton)

Selected Publications

  • ColinMcPheeOja

    Colin McPhee: Composer in Two Worlds (University of Illinois Press, 2004), by Carol Oja

  • modernmusic

    Making Music Modern: New York in the 1920s (Oxford University Press, 2000), by Carol Oja