Exploring Theory

The Butler School of Music at the University of Texas at Austin features a faculty of dynamic and innovative music theorists who are developing theories of musical meaning and interpretation (cognitive, gestural, semiotic, hermeneutic, narrative, psychodynamic, and sociological) across a wide range of repertoires, from Renaissance to 21st-century, including film music, popular music, tango, and country music. Faculty research interests focus on the music of Gesualdo, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Mahler, Debussy, Villa-Lobos, Ligeti, Waxman, and Piazzola.

Robert Hatten at the pianoWe maintain an enrollment of around fifteen master’s and doctoral students, with around ten in residence in any given year. Both teaching assistantships and fellowships are competitively available. In addition to several fine libraries, students have access to the extensive holdings of the Harry Ransom Humanities Center and the rich musical life of Austin.

Our department has one of the strongest placement records in the country, with nearly all recent graduates securing teaching positions in colleges and universities throughout North America. Three of our faculty have received prestigious teaching awards, and four have authored or co-authored textbooks. Teaching assistants are mentored and observed every semester.

The theory faculty publishes, lectures, and gives keynotes and papers on their research extensively throughout North America and Europe (see individual biographies for details). We also carefully mentor student research, supporting their conference submissions and travel to present papers. A regular theory forum features faculty, student, and guest lectures, in addition to presentations on professional development issues.

We welcome you to explore this website further, to learn more about our innovative programs and the activities of students and faculty. For further information about admission into the master’s or doctoral theory programs at the University of Texas at Austin, please contact Prof. John Turci-Escobar: turci-escobar@austin.utexas.edu