Professor Joseph Kerman (1924–2014)

The Faculty of Music is saddened to learn of the death of Professor Joseph Kerman, who was Heather Professor of Music at Oxford between 1971 and 1974.

Born in London on 3 April 1924, Joseph Kerman attended school in that city, then studied at New York and Princeton Universities in the USA. He joined the staff of the University of California at Berkeley in 1951, where – aside from his four years at Oxford, and a number of distinguished visiting fellowships  – he remained for the remainder of his career. Among other honours, he was elected Honorary Fellow of the Royal Academy of Music, a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and an Honorary Member of the American Musicological Society.

Kerman’s was a major voice in anglophone musicology, and he was a founding figure in the emergence of the so-called ‘new musicology’.  His most influential publications include Opera as Drama, The Beethoven Quartets, important work on William Byrd, and Musicology (published in the USA as Contemplating Music: Challenges to Musicology). He was a founding editor of the journal 19th Century Music.

A collection of his full range of writings was published in 1994 as Write All These Down, and his Charles Eliot Norton lectures at Harvard were published in 1999 under the title Concerto Conversations.