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Katherine Bergeron

Dean of the College and Professor of Music:
Phone: +1 401 863 2573
Phone 2: +1 401 863 9800

Katherine Bergeron, a professor of musicology, is Dean of the College.


Katherine Bergeron has taught on the faculties of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Tufts University, and the University of California at Berkeley. She joined the Brown faculty in 2004, where she was chair of the Music Department and now serves as the Dean of the College, Brown's highest undergraduate academic office.

Her scholarship has focused on French music and culture at the fin-de-siècle, the discipline of musicology, experimental music, song, poetry, opera, and film. She is co-editor, with Philip Bohlman, of Disciplining Music (University of Chicago Press, 1992), and author of Decadent Enchantments (University of California Press, 1998), which won the Deems-Taylor Award from ASCAP in 1999. In 2004 she edited a special issue on Music, Rhythm, and Language for the journal Representations. She most recently completed Voice Lessons (Oxford University Press, 2010), a study of French language education, linguistic science, and the emergence of the vocal art known as la mélodie française.

Bergeron's teaching and research have been animated by performance. A singer of eclectic tastes, she has performed Gregorian chant, the blues, the court music of central Java, contemporary pop music, experimental music, and, most recently, French art song (


My newest book, Voice Lessons: French Mélodie in the Belle Epoque (Oxford 2010) won the Deems Taylor Award from ASCAP in 2011, as well as the Otto Kinkeldy award from the American Musicological Society, the highest honor accorded to a senior scholar in the field. It examines the modern musical art known as la mélodie française and its rise to prominence in the years around 1900. This was a period when France was pouring resources into national literacy and French scholars were beginning to grasp the nuances of the spoken tongue. I explore the relationship between the free, secular, and compulsory school system of the Third Republic, and the experimental sciences of language that grew alongside it, to observe the ways in which both science and school redefined the verbal arts in France at century's end.

The music of Fauré, Debussy, and Ravel; the writings of Mallarmé, Rimbaud, and Verlaine; the performances of Maggie Teyte, Reynaldo Hahn, and Sarah Bernhardt; the linguistic studies of Paul Passy and Abbé Rousselot: all these sources offer evidence of the new ideas of expression that proliferated during one of the most idealistic moments in French musical history, when poets, composers, actors, singers, and scientists all learned to imagine-and to speak-their language in new ways. Through close readings of songs, poems, sound recordings, and other historical records, Voice Lessons narrates the development of a rare musical art, seeking to explain why this art emerged, why it mattered, and why it eventually disappeared.

For more information about the book and the companion website see


1980 Phi Beta Kappa, Wesleyan University.
1994 Junior Faculty Mentor Grant, University of California at Berkeley,
1995 Faculty Award for Outstanding Woman Assistant Professor, University of California at Berkeley
1997 Promoted to Tenure, University of California at Berkeley
1999 Deems-Taylor Award for Decadent Enchantments, American Society of Composers, Publishers and Authors
1999 Finalist, Distinguished Teaching Award, University of California at Berkeley
2006 Appointed Dean of the College, Brown University


Editorial Board, Representations, (Journal on history, literature and the arts), published by University of California Press, 1996-present
Advisory Board, Repercussions, Department of Music, University of California, Berkeley, 1993-2004.
American Musicological Society, program committee, Winter 1998; General Council, 1997-99; Nominating Committee, 2002. Publications committee, 2006; Committee on Committees, 2009
Program board, Berkeley Early Music Festival, 1995-2001
Reviewer, American Council of Learned Societies, 1999-2005
External reviewer, University of Michigan Humanities Center, 2002, 2004, 2009

Funded Research

1986-87 American Association of University Women. American Fellowship (for dissertation)
1991-92 Dean's Research Grant, Tufts University (for initial work on first book)
1995 National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Fellowship (for book, Decadent Enchantments)
1995 Prytanean Faculty Award, University of California at Berkeley (for book, Decadent Enchantments)
1995 Hellman Family Faculty Fellowship, University of California at Berkeley (for book, Decadent Enchantments)
1999 Committee on Research, Faculty research grant, University of California at Berkeley (for second book, Voice Lessons
2001 Frederick Burkhardt Residential Fellowship for Associate Professors, American Council of Learned Societies (for book, Voice Lessons, deferred to academic year 2002-03)
2001 President's Research Fellowship, University of California (for book, Voice Lessons)
2001 Mellon Fellowship, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center (for book, Voice Lessons)

Web Links

Curriculum Vitae

Download Katherine Bergeron's Curriculum Vitae in PDF Format