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Evan MacCarthy

Assistant Professor - Musicology

Evan A. MacCarthy
is assistant professor of musicology in West Virginia University's School of Music. He received an A.B. in Classics and music from the College of the Holy Cross, and earned a Ph.D. in historical musicology from Harvard University. His research focuses on the history of fifteenth-century music and music theory, late medieval chant, German music in the Baroque era, as well as nineteenth-century American music. 

His book Ruled by the Muses: Italian Humanists and their Study of Music in the Fifteenth Century explores the musical lives of scholars who sought to revive the cultural and intellectual traditions of ancient Greece and Rome. At the intersection of music, pedagogy, and the revival of classical literature, the book offers the first comprehensive study on the centrality of music as it shaped the language and ideas of other disciplines during the fifteenth century. By advocating for the prominence of musical education in the literary, historical, and philosophical writings of humanists, Ruled by the Muses challenges current views that underestimate the place occupied by music and music theory in different spheres of teaching and learning at Italian courts, cathedrals, and universities.  He is also producing an edition and first-ever translation for the Epitome Musical series at Brepols Press of Ugolino of Orvieto’s encyclopedia  treatise on the nature and notation of music (Declaratio musicae disciplinaewritten c. 1435). He is currently writing articles on the music manuscript Porto 714, the German-American reception of Franz Schubert's Singspiel Die Verschworenen, and a newly discovered teaching contract involving the lutenist Pietrobono Burzelli (with Andrea Canova), as well as a chapter on musical exchanges for A Cultural History of Music in the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries, edited by Jeanice Brooks and Richard Freedman (Bloomsbury).

Before coming to WVU, he served on the music faculties of Harvard University (where he was the Harvard College Fellow in music from 2010 to 2012), College of the Holy Cross, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Boston University. In 2012-13, he was the Committee for the Rescue of Italian art (CRIA) Fellow at Villa I Tatti, the Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies in Florence, Italy. Recently he has been awarded grants from the West Virginia Humanities Council, the Big XII Faculty Fellowship Program, the Lila Wallace - Reader's Digest Lecture Program, and the WVU Faculty Senate Research Grant Program. In 2019-20, he is the National Endowment for the Humanities Rome Prize Fellow of the American Academy in Rome. He presently serves as the Discipline Representative for Music for the Renaissance Society of America (through 2021) and serves on the Council of the American Musicological Society (through 2021) and the Advisory Board of the Sewanee Medieval Colloquium. He is also a Faculty Affiliate of WVU's Humanities Center and the faculty advisor for WVU's Mountaineer Musicological Community.

In 2018, he was awarded the Outstanding Teaching Award from the College of Creative Arts at WVU.


Magnus Liber Organi, vol. vii (Les Organa Dupla and les Clausules à deux voix, Wolfenbüttel, Herzog August Bibliothek, Cod. Guelf. 628 Helmstad), ed. Edward Roesner. Plainchants edited by Evan MacCarthy and Greta-Mary Hair (L’Oiseau-Lyre, Paris, 2009).

Articles and Book Chapters

“Antoine Haneron au croisement des exchanges musicaux,” in Le Hainault et la musique de la Renaissance, eds. Camilla Cavicchi, Marie-Alexis Colin, Sandrine Theiffry (Brepols Publishers: Epitome Musical, forthcoming).


“The English Voyage of Pietrobono Burzelli,” Journal of Musicology 35, no. 4 (2018), 431-459. [link]


"The Song of Iopas in Renaissance Italy,” in Virgil and Renaissance Culture, eds. Luke Houghton and Marco Sgarbi (Tempe: Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, 2018), 85-102.


“What’s in a Name? The Origins of Pietrobono Burzelli,” Tijdschrift van de Koninklijke voor Nederlandse Musikgeschiedenis 65/1-2 (2016): 5–11.


“Transformations in Music Theory and Music Treatises,” in The Cambridge History of Fifteenth-Century Music, eds. Anna Maria Busse Berger and Jesse Rodin (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2015) 602–614. [link]


“New Light on Recruiting Singers during the Papal Schism: A Letter from Pope Urban VI,” in Qui musicam in se habet: Studies in Honor of Alejandro Planchart, eds. Anna Zayaruznaya, Bonnie J. Blackburn, and Stanley Boorman (Münster: American Institute of Musicology, 2015), 225–229.


“'This is another and greater subject': Leonardo Bruni on music,” Renaissance Then and Now: Danza, Musica e Teatro per un nuovo Rinascimento, ed. Stefano Baldassarri (Pisa: Edizioni ETS, 2014), 101–109.


“The Sources and Early Readers of Ugolino of Orvieto’s Declaratio Musice Discipline,” in Beyond 50 Years of Ars Nova Studies at Certaldo, 1959-2009 (L’Ars Nova Italiana del Trecento, vol. VIII), ed. Marco Gozzi, Agostino Ziino, and Francesco Zimei (Lucca: Libreria Musicale Italiana, 2014), 401–425.


“Tinctoris and the Neapolitan  Eruditi,” Journal of the Alamire Foundation 5/1 (April 2013): 41–68. [link]


“Teaching from the Organ Bench: Nineteenth-Century Origins of Harvard’s Music Curriculum,” in The Organ in the Academy, eds. Thomas F. Kelly and Lesley Bannatyne (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Department of Music, 2013), 23–36.


“Giacomo Paladini: A Professional Singer and Bishop in Fifteenth-Century Italy,” in Renaissance Studies in Honor of Joseph Connors, eds. Louis A. Waldman, Machtelt Israëls, et al. (2 vols.) (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2013), II, 609–614.

Book Reviews

Review of Paul Schleuse, Singing Games in Early Modern Italy: The Music Books of Orazio Vecchi (Indiana University Press, 2015), in Renaissance Quarterly 69/2 (2016): 1553–1555. [link]


Review of Tim Shephard, Echoing Helicon: Music, Art and Identity in the Este Studioli, 1440-1530 (Oxford University Press, 2014), in Journal of the American Musicological Society 69/1 (2016): 237–241. [link]

Review of Russell E. Murray, Jr., Susan Forscher Weiss, and Cynthia J. Cyrus, Music Education in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance (Indiana University Press, 2010), in Journal of Musicological Research 34/1 (2015): 85–89. [link]

Review of Wendy Heller, Music in the Baroque (W. W. Norton, 2013), in Early Music America 20/1 (Spring 2014): 60.

Review of Fabrice Fitch and Jacobijn Kiel, eds., Essays in Honor of David Fallows: Bon jour, bon mois, et bonne estrenne (Boydell Press, 2011), in Early Music America 18/2 (Summer 2012): 47–48.


Review of Timothy McGee, The Ceremonial Musicians of Late Medieval Florence (Indiana University Press, 2009), in Early Music America 16/1 (Spring 2010): 60.