Music Lecture
Prof. Jamie O’Leary ’04
"Populist, Middlebrow, Experimental: Music and The Far-Left Theater on Broadway (1935 - 1939)"

James O’Leary specializes in popular music and opera, and currently focuses his research on Broadway musicals of the 1940s. He investigates the ways in which composers have strategically and self-consciously projected aesthetic hierarchies (high art versus popular, highbrow versus lowbrow) to intervene in political debates during World War II and the early Cold War. He has presented his work at a number of conferences including annual meetings of the American Musicological Societyat the Society for American Music, and at the Sorbonne.

In addition to his written work, O’Leary has lectured for the Metropolitan Opera and has worked as a pianist, music director, and arranger for the Yale School of Drama, the American Repertory Theater Oberon Stage, and the Williamstown Theater Festival. At Oberlin, O’Leary teaches music history surveys in 19th-century European music and American music, as well as more specialized courses on topics including popular music; Fin-de-Siècle music in Germany, France, and Austria; music philosophy; and organology.