James Hepokoski

James Hepokoski's picture
Henry L & Lucy G Moses Prof Emeritus of Music
469 College St, New Haven, CT 06511-6609

Professional website:  https://jameshepokoski.com/

Specializations: History and analysis of European art music from ca. 1750 to 1950; historical contexts, musical structure, and hermeneutics (interpretations of textual meaning); symphonic and chamber works from Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven through Debussy, Ravel, Mahler, Sibelius, Elgar, and Richard Strauss; problems of extramusical connotation and metaphor in illustrative and program music; differing conceptions of musical modernism, ca. 1880‑1920; Italian opera (Verdi, Puccini); music, ideology, and nationalism; twentieth-century music traditions in the United States (including blues and commercial song, 1900-1950); Cole Porter.

About: James Hepokoski received his M.A. and Ph.D. in musicology from Harvard University (1972-79). He has taught at Oberlin College Conservatory (1978-1988), at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities (1988-1999), and at the Yale Department of Music since 1999. He was the co-editor of the musicological journal 19th-Century Music from 1992 to 2005.  In 2010 Yale awarded him the Sidonie Miskimin Clauss Prize for Teaching Excellence in the Humanities.

Central to his work is a broad, overarching view of the past and current state of the ever changing discipline, its challenges and opportunities. Both in his writings and in his courses, Hepokoski explores ways of synthesizing music history, analysis, and criticism (music as cultural discourse). “Our goals are to think more deeply about how we talk and write about music; to ask informed, hard questions of ourselves and our disciplinary traditions; to contribute original and challenging ideas to the ongoing discussion about music and its many different roles in culture.”  

At the undergraduate level he teaches two music history survey courses required of music majors (1600-1800 and 1800-1960), along with specialized courses in Mozart, Beethoven, Mahler, American music, symphonic nationalism and cultural identity, and other topics. His graduate-level seminars have dealt with a wide range of subjects.  Among them: Late Beethoven; Sonata Theory; American Music Genres in the Twentieth Century (Ives, 1920s-30s blues, popular song and Cole Porter, all of these drawing on primary-source holdings in the Yale Libraries); Methodological Issues in Music History and Analysis; Program Music and Structure; and Richard Strauss’s Tone Poems.  

Selected Publications:

Books: Music, Structure, Thought: Selected EssaysAldershot, UK: Ashgate, 2009.

Musical Form, Form & Formenlehre: Three Methodological Reflections.  Co‑authored with William E. Caplin and James Webster.  Ed. Pieter Bergé.  Leuven, Belgium: University Press Leuven, 2009.

Elements of Sonata Theory: Norms, Types, and Deformations in the Late-Eighteenth-Century Sonata. New York: Oxford University Press, 2006. Co-authored with Warren Darcy. Awarded the Wallace Berry Prize (best book) from the Society for Music Theory, 2008.

Sibelius: Symphony No. 5. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993. 

Otello di Giuseppe Verdi [in the series Musica e spettacolo: Collana di Disposizioni sceniche diretta da Francesco Degrada e Mercedes Viale Ferrero ]. Co-authored with Mercedes Viale Ferrero.  Translated into Italian by Francesco Degrada. Milan: G. Ricordi & C., 1990. [This book on Verdian staging was the first volume of a series of “production-book” source-reprints—original staging manuals—undertaken by G. Ricordi & C.] 

Giuseppe Verdi: Otello. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987. 

Giuseppe Verdi: Falstaff . Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983.

Selected Articles 

 “Program Music.”  In Issues in Musical Aesthetics: Musicological Perspectives.  Ed. Stephen Downes. New York: Routledge, forthcoming in 2014.

“Dahlhaus’s Beethoven-Rossini Stildualismus: Lingering Legacies of the Text‑Event Dichotomy.”  In The Invention of Beethoven and Rossini: Historiography, Analysis, Criticism.  Ed. Nicholas Mathew and Benjamin Walton.  Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013.  Pp. 15‑48.

“Ineffable Immersion: Contextualizing the Call for Silence” (in “Colloquy: Vladimir Jankélévitch’s Philosophy of Music”).  Journal of the American Musicological Society 65 (2012), 223‑30.

“Monumentality and Formal Processes in the First Movement of Brahms’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in D Minor, op. 15.”  InExpressive Intersections in Brahms: Essays in Analysis and Meaning.  Ed Heather Platt and Peter H. Smith.  Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2012.  Pp. 217-51.

“Modalities of National Identity: Sibelius Builds a First Symphony.”  In The Oxford Handbook of the New Cultural History of Music.  Ed. Jane F. Fulcher. New York: Oxford University Press, 2011.  Pp. 452‑83.

“The Second Cycle of Tone Poems.”  In The Cambridge Companion to Richard Strauss.  Ed. Charles Youmans.  Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010.  Pp. 78-104.

“Un bel dì? Vedremo! Anatomy of a Delusion.” In Madama Butterfly: L’orientalismo di fine secolo, l’approccio pucciniano, la ricezione: atti del convegno internazionale di studi, Lucca-Torre del Lago, 28‑30 maggio 2004.  Ed. Arthur Groos and Virgilio Bernardoni.  Florence: Leo S. Oschki, 2008.  Pp.  219‑46.

“The Framing of Till Eulenspiegel,” 19th-Century Music 30 (2006), 4-43.

“Beyond the Sonata Principle.” Journal of the American Musicological Society 55 (2002), 91‑154. 

“Back and Forth from Egmont: Beethoven, Mozart, and the Nonresolving Recapitulation.” 19th-Century Music 25 (2002), 127-54. 

“Beethoven Reception: The Symphonic Tradition.” Chapter 15 [on the symphony and symphonic poem, ca. 1840-1900] of Jim Samsoned., The Cambridge History of Nineteenth-Century Music. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 2002. Pp. 424-59. 

“Jean Sibelius,” entry in The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. 2nd ed. London: Macmillan, 2001. Vol. 23: 319-47. 

Ottocento Opera as Cultural Drama: Generic Mixtures in Il Trovatore.” In Martin Chusided.,Verdi’s Middle Period (1849-59): Source Studies, Analysis, and Performance Practice. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1997. Pp. 147-96. 

“The Dahlhaus Project and Its Extra-Musicological Sources.” 19th-Century Music 14 (1991), 221-46.

Music History
Appointment Type: 
Graduate faculty
Undergraduate faculty