Sarah Marlowe

Assistant Professor of Music Theory, NYU Steinhardt


I am Assistant Professor and Interim Director of Music Theory and History at New York University's Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development (faculty bio).

My current research and teaching are deeply intertwined, reflecting a combined interest in fugue and counterpoint, Schenkerian analysis, and music theory pedagogy. I received the Patricia Carpenter Emerging Scholar Award (2013) for my work developing Schenkerian voice-leading paradigms in fugue expositions; this paper was later published in Theory and Practice (2014). Recent publications on various topics in music theory pedagogy appear in the Journal of Music Theory Pedagogy (2016 and forthcoming), The Norton Guide to Teaching Music Theory (2018), and BACH: Journal of the Riemenschneider Bach Institute (2019). I also study the music of Dmitri Shostakovich through a Schenkerien lens, seeking ways to understand how his use of Russian modes interacts with the tonal system. Current projects include an application Schenkerian techniques to select fugues from his 24 Preludes and Fugues, op. 87, and a broader study that features new Stufen that emerge through his modal-tonal language. I have presented my work at conferences hosted by the Society for Music Theory, Music Theory Society of New York State, the Rocky Mountain Society, and the Society for Music Analysis.

I have been a full-time faculty member at NYU Steinhardt since Fall 2012 and am fortunate to be able to teach courses directly related to my research areas. I teach primarily upper-level undergraduate electives and graduate seminars in 16th- and 18th-century counterpoint, Schenkerian analysis, and other special topics in music theory (seminars in Analyzing Tonal Forms, Canon and Fugue; I recently created a new course on Music Theory Pedagogy that will be offered in Spring 2020).

As Associate Director of my program (now Interim Director), I assist in the supervision of our entire undergraduate core curriculum in music theory, aural skills, and music history. I created and maintain syllabus templates for all of our core theory and aural skills courses, supervise a staff of 12–15 adjunct faculty, and facilitate the staffing and scheduling of approximately 40 unique sections of the core curriculum each semester.

In addition to my service as program director, I am an active member of the doctoral faculty, Committee on Curriculum and Programs, and Neurodiversity Working Group. I previously served as a board member for the Music Theory Society of New York State, and co-editor of Theory and Practice. In November, I will begin a three-year term as Associate Editor of the Society for Music Theory (SMT) Newsletter.

My teaching has been recognized on several occasions. I am the recipient of the Steinhardt Teaching Excellence Award (2018), the University of Rochester’s Edward Peck Curtis Award for Excellence in Teaching (2010), and the Eastman School of Music’s Teaching Assistant Prize (2008).