Join us at the American Musicological Society Annual Meeting

This week the 2017 American Musicological Society’s annual meeting convenes in Rochester, New York and AMS members can save 40% on new and forthcoming titles when they visit our booth in the exhibit hall.

If you cannot attend the meeting, the discount is available online for 15 days after the show—use source code 17E9198 online (enter code at checkout).

Meanwhile get an early look at some of the titles we’ll have on view:




We are also offering a chance to win a free paperback copy of one of our Luminos Open Access music titles. The digital editions are always free (visit to download), but please visit our booth at AMS to enter to win a print copy of your choice of either Keys to Play by Roger Moseley or Instruments for New Music by Thomas Patteson.


Watch this space through the weekend for more #amsroc17 posts, with free content from UC Press journals and more.

Classical Music Month: Celebrate with 30% Off

September is Classical Music Month. To celebrate, we’re offering 30% off our Classical Music titles.


Animation, Plasticity & Music in Italy, 1770–1830 by Ellen Lockhart

“This very innovative study illuminates such central categories of musical thought and practice as voice, gesture, performance, and the work. It will be read with much interest and pleasure not only by musicologists, but also by historians of dance, science, aesthetics, and philosophy, and by anybody who cares about the connections between music and the human body.”—Emanuele Senici, author of Landscape and Gender in Italian Opera



From 1989, or European Music and the Modernist Unconscious by Seth Brodsky

“Brilliantly written and argued, From 1989 is nothing less than a psychoanalysis of European musical modernism, and Brodsky, its nimble Lacanian analyst. Capacious, insightful, erudite, witty, paradoxical, and whip-smart, it is simply like nothing else in musicology today. It must be read.”—Brian Kane, author of Sound Unseen: Acousmatic Sound in Theory and Practice



Russian Music at Home and Abroad: New Essays by Richard Taruskin

“In surveying the continent of Russian music, Richard Taruskin has breathtakingly altered its scholarly appearance, displaying its arc in space as if through a telescope and its textures as if through a microscope. His new book casts a resolute and penetrating eye on contemporary Russia and the processes now underway there, which are shaping a new awareness of music within the cultural traditions that are at the heart of Russian spiritual life.”—Liudmila Koynatskaya, Saint Petersburg Conservatory


The Castrato: Reflections on Natures and Kinds by Martha Feldman (newly available in paperback)

“Rich in scholarship and filled with subtle analysis.” —Colm Tóibín, London Review of Books

“Meticulously researched, beautifully written and richly illustrated . . . In this book, as erudite as it is gripping, there is little to criticize.”—Cultural History


Art of Suppression: Confronting the Nazi Past in Histories of the Visual and Performing Arts by Pamela Potter

“[Potter’s] book unquestionably provides a ground-breaking historiographic foundation for understanding the mechanisms that stood behind the descriptions and analyses of the Third Reich and the cultural and artistic life of the Nazi state…. She raises significant questions related to myths about the unrestricted power of authoritarian and dictatorial regimes in all matters related to culture. And, most important, she hints at anti-democratic, authoritarian trends found in liberal and Western societies today where cultural life is ostensibly immune to intervention and coercion.”—Ha’aretz


The Thought of Music by Lawrence Kramer

“Kramer has been hugely successful in creating a community of formalist and hermeneutic analytical discourse that has inspired a new generation of thinkers to question music’s inherent meaning and value in contemporary society. . . a hugely important and timely work that should no doubt become the focus of much future work and pedagogy.”—Notes



Wagner, Schumann, and the Lessons of Beethoven’s Ninth by Christopher Alan Reynolds

“This is a multilayered book. It is on one level a formidable piece of forensic musical detective work displaying detailed critical understanding of the works in question through identification of influences and tracing of possible thematic cross-references across generic boundaries; on another it is a musically highly intelligent study of interactive compositional processes in the different but related guises of operatic and instrumental music.”—Music & Letters


Grand Opera: The Story of the Met by Charles and Mirella Affron

“This new history is an epic treat for the Metophile . . . an exhaustively researched, updated, thoughtful Met Opera history. The successive directors’ flaws and achievements are described with equanimity. It compellingly conveys the problems and the progress, the failures and the glories of the Metropolitan Opera.”—Carol L. Anderson, Wagner Notes


Save 30% with discount code 17W7196 (enter at checkout).

Browse more Classical Music titles on our site, or revisit content from last year’s #ClassicalMusicMonth blog series, including free downloads of related Open Access titles.

Richard Taruskin Wins 2017 Kyoto Prize

UC Berkeley Department of Music Professor Emeritus Richard Taruskin has been awarded the prestigious Kyoto Prize. A notable honor, the Kyoto Prize has long been regarded by many as the most significant award available in fields that are traditionally not honored with a Nobel Prize.


Bestowed annually since 1985 by the Inamori Foundation, the Prize is presented in three categories: Advanced Technology, Basic Sciences, and the Arts and Philosophy. Taruskin joins prominent scholars to win the award including Noam Chomsky, Jane Goodall, Witold Lutoslawski, and fellow UC Berkeley faculty member Richard Karp.

“The quality and volume of his work reveal that in music, creativity can be found not only in composition and performance, but also in meticulous discourse contextualizing the art.”—Inamori Foundation

A world-renowned musicologist, music historian, and critic Taruskin came to UC Berkeley Music in 1986. Previously he served numerous roles at Columbia University where he earned his B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. While at Columbia he worked as choral conductor and played viola da gamba with the well-known Aulos Ensemble.

UC Press is proud to be the publisher of many of Richard’s books, including the recently-released Russian Music at Home and Abroad. We warmly congratulate him on this significant recognition for his work.

Classical Music Month: An Excerpt from Richard Taruskin’s New Essays on Russian Music

This post is part of a series celebrating #ClassicalMusicMonth. We’re pleased to share the below excerpt from Richard Taruskin’s just-released, Russian Music at Home and Abroad: New Essays. Stay tuned for our final post next week, and enjoy free access to curated Classical Music articles through September.

Taruskin cover
Russian Music at Home and Abroad: New Essays (September 2016)

An excerpt from “NOT MODERN AND LOVING IT” (Chapter 5)

When I was a lad I received a present from my mother, who was a piano teacher (but not my piano teacher; she knew better than that). It was a set of sepia-toned lithographed portraits from G. Schirmer, the main American music publisher of standard and pedagogical piano literature. The portfolio was titled “The Great Composers,” and it started, perhaps needless to say, with J. S. Bach. The others Bs then passed in review, along with Mozart, Haydn, Schubert, Schumann, Chopin, Wagner, Verdi—the whole crowd. What was surprising was the end-point: the only composer in ordinary modern dress, beardless, wigless, short-haired, altogether contemporary and therefore quite exotic in such surroundings. It was Rachmaninoff, of course, the only composer who was still alive at the time the set was issued. Rachmaninoff, the portrait set quietly insisted, was the last of the Great Composers, the only one left. That made quite an impression on me.

I remembered that ancient gift and the impression it made when it came time, perhaps fifty years later, to frame my account of Rachmaninoff in the Oxford History of Western Music, my attempt, in only six volumes and a mere one and a half million words, to put everything about classical music into a single perspective. As a historian, I saw my task as reportage, not evaluation, still believing that a neutral point of view, if not actually achievable, is nevertheless the thing toward which, asymptotically, one strives. Whether I myself agreed with the value G. Schirmer had claimed for Rachmaninoff was, I assumed, of no interest to my readers, who would be seeking from me the information they would need to reach their own informed judgments. As a reader I always cherished this right and resented historians who tried to usurp it. What the historian owes the reader is a just account of historical significance, an account that should originate in observation, not predilection. For me to say “Rachmaninoff was the last of the great composers” would have been absurd; and it would have been equally absurd for me to say that he was not. And yet, needless to say, reportage and evaluation are not so neatly separable. The act of selection—of choosing what shall be reported—is implicitly, and inescapably, evaluative; and evaluation is implicitly, and inescapably, contentious.

My solution to this dilemma, or at least the criterion of relevance I sought to apply to the task of selection, was to ask myself always what was the necessary contribution of this figure or that fact to the story as a whole. And here is where that old set of sepia prints gave me the answer. “There were many,” I wrote, “during the 1920s and 1930s, who regarded [Rachmaninoff] as the greatest living composer, precisely because he was the only one who seemed capable of successfully maintaining the familiar and prestigious style of the nineteenth-century ‘classics’ into the twentieth century.” I congratulated myself when I came up with that sentence, because it reported the fact that Rachmaninoff was widely regarded as great, and it also signaled his unusualness within the stylistic spectrum of his day, even hinting that his role was an embattled one. Rachmaninoff, I concluded, was “the most effective antimodernist standard bearer.” The fact that he was both antimodernist and successful, I continued, “and that his style was as distinctive as any contemporary’s, could be used to refute the modernist argument that traditional styles had been exhausted.”

In the mood for some classical music now? Listen to Sergei Rachmaninoff play his Piano Concerto No. 2. This selection was recorded in 1929 by RCA victor with Rachmaninoff’s favorite orchestra; the Philadelphia Orchestra. Leopold Stokowski (1882-1977) is conducting.

To read more by Richard Taruskin, see his recent article, “Was Shostakovich a Martyr? Or Is That Just Fiction?,” in the New York Times, or a recent book review in the Times Literary Supplement.

To get your own copy of his new book, check your local bookstore, or purchase online at IndieBoundAmazonBarnes & Noble, or UC Press (to save 30% on, enter discount code 16M4197 at checkout).

Richard Taruskin is the Class of 1955 Professor of Music emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley, where he taught from 1987 to 2014, after twenty-six years at Columbia University (man and boy). He is the author of Stravinsky and the Russian TraditionsOn Russian Music, Defining Russia Musically, and the six-volume Oxford History of Western Music.