Katz, Mark 1970–

views updated

Katz, Mark 1970–


Born February 20, 1970. Education: College of William and Mary, B.A., 1992; University of Michigan, M.A., Ph.D., 1999.


Office—University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Department of Music, CB 3320 Hill Hall, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3320. E-mail—[email protected]


Writer, musician, violinist, lecturer, public speaker, and educator. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, assistant professor of music, 2006—. Johns Hopkins University, Peabody Conservatory, Baltimore, MD, instructor, 1999-2006; Guest speaker at colleges and museums, including Cornell University, Duke University, Syracuse University, King's College London, and the Victoria and Albert Museum. Guest on radio and television programs.


American Musicological Society (member of council), Centre for the Historical Analysis of Recorded Music (member of international advisory board).


National Science Foundation grant; Sally Hacker Prize, Society for the History of Technology, Certificate of Merit for Best Research in General History of Recorded Sound and Awards for Excellence, Association for Recorded Sound Collections, all for Capturing Sound.


Capturing Sound: How Technology Has Changed Music, University of California Press (Berkeley, CA), 2004.

The Violin: A Research and Information Guide, Routledge (New York, NY), 2006.

Contributor to books, including Reader's Guide to Music History, Fitzroy Dearborn (Chicago, IL), 1999; International Dictionary of Black Composers, Fitzroy Dearborn (Chicago, IL), 1999; I Sing the Body Electric: Music and Technology in the Twentieth Century, edited by Hans-Joachim Braun, Wolke (Hofheim, Germany), 2000; and The Harvard Dictionary of Music, 4th edition, edited by Don Michael Randel, Harvard University Press (Cambridge, England), 2003.

Contributor to periodicals and journals, including Beethoven Forum, Journal of Musicological Research, Notes, and American Music.

Journal of Musicology, member of advisory board; Journal of the Society for American Music, member of editorial board; Beethoven Forum, review editor.


Mark Katz is a writer, musician, and music educator based at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he is an assistant professor of music. He has also been an instructor at the Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins University. Katz's academic and teaching interests center on popular music, performance practice, and the intersection of music and technology. Among his courses are classes on twentieth-century music and the place of music in twentieth-century life; recording technology and musical culture; and the history and context of popular music, noted a biographer on the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Department of Music Web site. Katz is a frequent lecturer and guest speaker at universities such as Cornell University, Duke University, and King's College London, and at the Smithsonian Institution. Katz also makes appearances on television and radio programs, participates in music-related Internet chats, and occasionally presents preconcert lectures and informative speeches.

In addition to his pursuits of classic violin, Katz is also a "beginning turntablist," interested in the possibilities of rap, hip-hop, and related forms of modern music, reported the Web site biographer

In Capturing Sound: How Technology Has Changed Music, Katz presents "an interesting, insightful, and informative journey into the origins of recording technology," commented Gene Kaplan, writing in the Music Educators Journal. Katz begins his survey in the early 1900s and with the introduction of early phonograph recorders and players. This new and unique technology, and the ongoing "phenomenon of recording" that it introduced, "changed the aesthetic, social, and economic climates of society both in the USA and internationally," Kaplan remarked. The upsurge in recorded music and refinements in recording technology altered the way people listen to and appreciate music in the United States and abroad, Kaplan asserts.

In his historical survey, Kaplan notes how early recordings were made and how the methods for playing some instruments, such as violins, had to be modified to take best advantage of the recording technology of the time. Katz tracks the evolution of recording technology from the fragile wax cylinders used in early phonographs through magnetic tape, vinyl, compact discs, and the modern electronic formats, such as MP3s. Throughout this evolution, music consumers changed their ideas and attitudes toward live and recorded music, Katz states. He considers how recording techniques and musical manipulation combine in the turntable-based sound of rap and hip-hop, and how digital sampling and other forms of music borrowing have been contentious issues for musicians and performers. Katz "presents a nuanced story of musical borrowing, transformation, and associated fallout. Considering several of the familiar arguments about appropriation, authenticity, fairness, and artistic integrity, he illuminates a complex landscape of conflicting and competing issues surrounding the practice of digital sampling," commented Albin J. Zak III, writing in Notes. Katz also comments on ongoing controversies surrounding digital music formats and file sharing, which he ultimately believes can serve the public good even while accommodating the rights of musicians and music companies and the desires of listeners and music collectors. "In proposing a common sense ‘fair use’ policy that acknowledges technological reality, he offers the outline of a compromise informed by the same sort of appreciation of the phonograph effect that he aims to impart to his readers," Zak stated.

The Violin: A Research and Information Guide contains nearly 1,700 bibliographic entries on the history and nature of the violin. The book contains references in several broad subject classifications, including violin acoustics and construction, violinists and composers, violin playing and performance practice, and violin music, noted Michael J. Duffy IV in a Notes review. A reference and general studies section includes information on discographies, periodicals, and general reference sources that address the violin. More focused sections provide bibliographic citations for sources in bow making, violin authentication and forgeries, the history of violin playing, health issues related to violin playing, violin playing techniques, and more. Katz also includes biographical sketches on a number of prominent figures in violin music, performance, composing, and teaching. "Violinists, violin teachers, and scholars of the violin all have much to gain by consulting this book," concluded Duffy.



Choice, April, 2005, B.J. Murray, review of Capturing Sound: How Technology Has Changed Music, p. 1408; May, 2007, K.D. Underwood, review of The Violin: A Research and Information Guide, p. 1504.

Music Educators Journal, September, 2005, Gene Kaplan, review of Capturing Sound, p. 28.

Notes, March, 2006, Albin J. Zak III, review of Capturing Sound, p. 732; September, 2007, Michael J. Duffy IV, review of The Violin, p. 61.

Reference & Research Book News, February, 2005, review of Capturing Sound, p. 220.

Technology and Culture, April, 2005, James P. Kraft, review of Capturing Sound, p. 429.


University of California Press Web site,http://www.ucpress.edu/ (April 10, 2008), author profile.

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Department of Music Web site,http://music.unc.edu/ (April 10, 2008), faculty profile.