Check out my recent appearance on WQXR’s Aria Code, “P.S. I Love You: Renée Fleming Sings Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin,” with Renée Fleming, Tim Manley, and host Rhiannon Giddens.

Photo by Pascal Perich

Hello, welcome to my website. Here you’ll be able to learn about me and my career. You’ll also find links to some of my publications and performances. Should you wish to contact me, don’t hesitate to do so via the “contact” tab of this website. Feel free to follow me on Twitter at @philewell, and if you’re wondering how to pronounce my name, click here.

I am a professor of music theory at Hunter College of the City University of New York, where I am the Director of Graduate Studies in the Music Department. I am also on the faculty of the CUNY Graduate Center. My research specialties include race studies in music theory, Russian music theory, Russian opera, modal theory and history, twentieth-century music theory, and hiphop and popular music—see the “research” tab above for links to some of my work. As a public music theorist my scholarship has been featured in Adam Neely’s YouTube channel, the BBC, Die Zeit, the New York Times, the New Yorker, and WQXR’s Aria Code, among other outlets—see the “media” tab above for more feature stories concerning my work. You can also read about my race scholarship in “Music Theory and the White Racial Frame,” and my six-part blog, “Confronting Racism and Sexism in American Music Theory.”

My monograph, On Music Theory, and Making Music More Welcoming for Everyone, will appear with the University of Michigan Press’s Music and Social Justice series in 2022. I am also under contract at W. W. Norton to coauthor a new music theory textbook, The Engaged Musician: Theory and Analysis for the Twenty-First Century, which will be a modernized and inclusive textbook based on recent developments in music theory pedagogy, with a projected publication date in 2023.

My BA in Music is from Stanford University, where I studied cello with Stephen Harrison and music theory with Leonard Ratner. My MM in cello performance is from Queens College (CUNY), where I studied cello with Barbara Mallow and music theory with Carl Schachter. I also have a certificate in cello performance from the St. Petersburg (Russia) Conservatory, where I studied with Anatoly Nikitin, and a PhD in music theory from Yale University, where I wrote a dissertation on Alexander Scriabin under Allen Forte. Finally, I studied music theory, as a visiting student, with Yuri Kholopov at the Moscow Conservatory.

I frequently give lectures, workshops, interviews, and keynotes—don’t hesitate to contact me to discuss a potential collaboration. And thanks for visiting my website!

Selected Honors and Awards

“Wilbur Lucius Cross Medal,” presented by the Yale Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and the Yale Graduate School Alumni Association, for “distinguished achievement in scholarship, teaching, and public service,” October 2022.

Atlantic Center for the Arts, “Mentoring Artist-In-Residence,” May 15 to June 4, 2022.

Dartmouth College, the “Leonard J. Reade Distinguished Lecture in Music and Racial Justice,” May 6, 2022.

Carolina Symposia in Music and Culture, the “James W. Pruett Keynote,” University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, April 9, 2021.

“Susan McClary and Robert Walser Fellow,” American Council of Learned Societies, 2020–2021.

“CUNY Graduate Center Award for Excellence in Mentoring,” 2020–2021.

“Virtual Scholar in Residence,” University of Pacific’s Conservatory of Music, 2020–2021.

“Presidential Award for Excellence in Creative Work,” Hunter College, 2019–2020.

The CUNY-wide “Felix Gross Award,” in recognition of outstanding research in the humanities or sciences, for the article “Rethinking Octatonicism: Views from Stravinsky’s Homeland” (Music Theory Online 18.4), February 2013.