Martin Brody

Catherine Mills Davis Professor Emeritus of Music


Composer of concert music; historian of early modern music, especially music during the Cold War in relation to other arts.

In recent years, my compositional work has been focused on opera and chamber music for voices and instruments. Current projects include an orchestra piece (commissioned by the Boston Modern Orchestra Project) and two chamber operas, one based on a medieval poem about a werewolf, the other on a news story about a talking carp. I also write about modern music, with a special focus on music during the Cold War, in particular the production, reception, and patronage of complex modern music and its political contexts.

I teach composition, theory, and history of music, with a special emphasis on 20th-century and recent music. I am especially interested in teaching that links music with the study of other arts and with philosophy and cultural history. I also enjoy teaching all aspects of music theory, especially in relation to questions of musical cognition and aesthetics.

I recently served as Andrew Heiskell Arts Director at the American Academy in Rome. This has allowed me to work on a wide variety of projects: concert series in Rome and Berlin, conferences on a variety of iconic modern figures from Freud to Philip Guston, and exhibitions of contemporary visual artists. I have also organized several interdisciplinary conferences in Rome and Berlin, in collaboration with the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science.


  • B.A., Amherst College
  • M.M., Yale University School of Music
  • D.M.A., Yale University School of Music