McClary, Susan

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McClary, Susan

McClary, Susan , progressive American musicologist; b. St. Louis, Oct. 2, 1946. She studied piano at Southern 111. Univ. (B.Mus., 1968) and musicology at Harvard Univ. (A.M., 1971; Ph.D., 1976, with the diss. The Transition from Modal to Tonal Organization in the Works of Monteverdi). She taught at Harvard Univ. (1969–73) and Trinity Coll. in Hartford, Conn. (1977). McClary joined the faculty of the Univ. of Minnesota in 1977, becoming a prof, in 1990. She was acting director of its Center for Humanistic Studies (1984–85) and director of its Collegium Musicum. Her early research disputed the view of 17th century music that treats it as primitive tonality, arguing instead for its theoretical integrity. From 1982 she publ. articles on the political, economic, and feminist critique of music, on subjects including Mozart, Madonna, Bach, and Laurie Anderson; these studies won her attention and infamy and led to her being called “the first radical feminist musicolo-gist.”Her books include Feminine Endings: Music, Gender, and Sexuality (Minneapolis, 1990), Power and Desire in Seventeenth-Century Music (Princeton, 1991), and Con-ventional Wisdom: The Content of Musical Form (Berkeley and Los Angeles, 2000). She also ed., with R. Leppert, Music and Society: The Politics of Composition, Performance and Reception (Cambridge, 1987).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

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