Benjamin Korstvedt graduated summa cum laude from Clark University in 1987 with a B.A. in Music and received his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1995. He joined the Clark faculty in 2002, where he is now Professor of Music. He has served as Chair of the Department of Visual and Performing Arts and as Program Director for Music. He is also affiliated with the programs in Media, Culture and the Arts and German Studies. Before coming to Clark, Professor Korstvedt was on faculty of the University of St. Thomas and the University of Iowa. He has held fellowships with the American Musicological Society, the NEH, the Mannes Institute for Advanced Studies in Music, and the Internationales Forschungszentrum Kulturwissenschaften (International Research Center in Cultural Studies) in Vienna
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Teaching Professor Korstvedt’s teaching explores musical history and culture from the seventeenth century into the twentieth century, with a special interest in developing critical strategies for exploring connections between music and its many cultural contexts. He teaches several courses in Clark’s music curriculum including an innovative introductory course “Studying music historically and critically,” as well as courses on topics in music before 1750, the classical and romantic repertory, and musical modernism from 1885 to 1945.
Topics of his seminars and workshop courses have recently included “Classical Music as Recorded Art,” “The Ethics and Aesthetics of the Sublime,” and “Music and Politics.” He is committed to interdisciplinary and collaborative teaching. and has recently taught courses in conjunction with colleagues in Philosophy, English, and History.
Scholarship and Research Professor Korstvedt is the author of a critical study of the musical aesthetics of the German philosopher Ernst Bloch (1885-1977) entitled Listening for Utopia in Ernst Bloch’s Musical Philosophy. The book, which is the first work in English on the topic, explicates central themes of Bloch’s philosophy of music and develops them through essays on works by Wagner, Mozart, Bruckner and Brahms.
Professor Korstvedt is also a leading scholar of the Austrian composer Anton Bruckner (1824-96). He has explored the complex text-critical issues surrounding Bruckner’s works, the reception of his music by critics and scholars in the Third Reich, the place of Bruckner’s music in the culture of fin-de-siècle Vienna, and the form and meaning of Bruckner’s symphonies. He has published a monograph on Bruckner’s Eighth Symphony that considers the history, musical design, aesthetic meaning, and performance of that great work, as well as numerous articles on these topics and has given presentations at conferences and symposia in the United States, Canada, England, Germany, and Austria. One his recent publications explore the complicated relationship of Bruckner and his one-time protégé Gustav Mahler, “Mahler’s Bruckner, between Devotion and Misprision.”
He is a contributor to the Anton Bruckner Collected Works Edition. He is now completing a three-volume critical edition of the Fourth Symphony that, unlike previous any edition, accounts for all the primary sources of the symphony. The first volume has just been completed and will receive its first performance in December 2018 by the Belgian National Orchestra conducted by Hartmut Haenchen.
He has also published the first modern edition of the 1888 version of Bruckner’s Fourth Symphony for the Bruckner Collected Works edition. This version of the symphony has been performed internationally in Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom, and Austria, as well as in the U.S. A video production of a performance by the Cleveland Orchestra, conducted by Franz Welser-Möst in the St. Florian Abbey, Austria has appeared on DVD (Euroarts). The Minnesota Orchestra gave the score its American premiere and recorded it on CD under the direction of Osmo Vänskä, (BIS SACD 1746) in 2010
In 2010 Professor Korstvedt was awarded the Julio Kilenyi Medal of Honor in recognition of his achievements in promoting the better understanding and appreciation of the music of Anton Bruckner.
Listening for Utopia in Ernst Bloch’s Musical Philosophy (Cambridge University Press, 2010).
Anton Bruckner: IV Symphonie Es-Dur, Fassung von 1888, Anton Bruckner Sämtliche Werke, Band IV/3 (Musikwissenschaftlicher Verlag, Vienna, 2004)
Anton Bruckner: Symphony no. 8, Cambridge Music Handbooks (Cambridge University Press, 2000).
“Language and Ideology in the German Reception of Bruckner’s Symphonies in the 1930s,” German Quarterly, special issue on Music and German Culture, 1848-1945, Vol.91, no. 3 (2018), in press
“Is Something Missing? Music History as Reality and Geist” in “Colloquy: Ernst Bloch’s Musical Thought,” Journal of the American Musicological Society 70 (2017), 840-846
“Mahler’s Bruckner, between Devotion and Misprision,” Journal of the American Musicological Society 70 (2017), 357-432
“The Path to the ‘Homeric Seas’: On an Overlooked Aspect of Bruckner’s Stylistic Evolution, ca. 1880,” The Bruckner Journal, Vol. 21, no. 3 (November 2017), 15-29
“’The Prerogative of Late Style’: Thoughts on the Expressive World of Schubert’s Late Works” in Schubert’s Late Music in History and Theory, ed. Lorraine Byrne Bodley and Julian Horton (Cambridge University Press, 2016), 204-25
“On Not Inviting Difficulties in Haydn’s Symphonies,” Haydn: Online Journal of the Haydn Society of North America 3.2 (2013), 35 pages
“‘Defining the ‘Problem’: the Development of Post-war Attitudes toward Bruckner Versions,” Journal of Musicological Research 32 (2013), 1-27
“Reading Music Criticism Beyond the fin-de-siècle Vienna Paradigm,” Musical Quarterly 94 (2011), 156-210
“Still Searching for Bruckner’s True Intentions,” The New York Times, Arts and Leisure Section, Sunday, July 10, 2011, p. 19
“Anton Bruckner in the Third Reich and After: an Essay on Ideology and Bruckner Reception,” The Musical Quarterly 80 (1996)
He is a contributor to The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, and his reviews have appeared in The Journal of the American Musicological Society, Music and Letters, The Journal of Modern History, Fontes Artes Musicae, and Notes