Faculty & Staff Profiles

René Rusch

Associate Professor of Music Theory

René Rusch is an associate professor of music theory. She graduated with honors in piano performance from Lawrence University and completed her PhD in music theory at the University of Michigan. Prior to joining the Department of Music Theory faculty at U-M in 2015, Rusch taught at the Schulich School of Music, McGill University from 2007-15.

In addition to specializing in the music of Franz Schubert, Rusch’s research interests include 19th-century chromaticism, Schenkerian theory, and jazz theory. Her papers often adopt an interdisciplinary perspective, drawing from philosophy, literary theory, and historiography. Rusch has presented her research at several conferences, including the Society for Music Theory’s (SMT) annual and regional meetings (MTMW, MTSNYS, MTSMA); European Music Analysis Conference (EuroMAC); the Seventh International Conference on Music Since 1900 at Lancaster University, UK; “Thanatos as Muse? Schubert and Concepts of Late Style” in Maynooth, Ireland; the Biennial International Conference on Nineteenth-Century Music; the New England Conference of Music Theorists (NECMT); and “Tonality in Perspective” at King’s College in London. Her work has appeared in the Journal of Music Theory, Music Analysis, Music Theory and Analysis (formerly the Dutch Journal for Music Theory), Music Theory Online, Journal of the Society for Musicology in Ireland, and Intersections. She is currently writing a book about Schubert’s instrumental music and the poetics of contemporary interpretive practices.

Rusch received the Arthur J. Komar Award from Music Theory Midwest in 2006 for a paper presentation derived from her thesis “Imagining Tonal Spaces: Conceptions of Hierarchy, Chromaticism, and Social Constructs in Schubert’s Music.” In 2011, she was awarded a research grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) and is currently a member of the partnership grant “Single Interface for Music Score Searching and Analysis,” funded by SSHRC. She is the recipient of the 2014 Schulich School of Music Teaching Award at McGill University and was nominated twice for the Principal’s Prize for Excellence in Teaching. Rusch has also won first prize in several piano competitions, including the Music Teachers National Association’s Performance Competition and the National Federation of Music Clubs’ District and Regional Competitions. She has served on the editorial boards of Music Theory Online, Intégral, and Engaging Students: Essays in Music Pedagogy; the SMT-Jazz Award Committee; and the Program Committee for SMT (Arlington, VA). She is currently serving as Editor-in-Chief of Music Theory Online.

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