Olivia Bloechl

  • Professor


Music History of Europe and North America, 1500-1800
Opera Studies, 1650-1800 (French and Francophone)
Global Music History and Historiography
Postcolonial Theory
Early Modern Cultural History
Gender, Feminist Ethics


I am a music historian and cultural theorist with wide-ranging interests clustered in the early modern period and the long eighteenth century (1500-1800). My research emphasizes music and sound in early Atlantic empires, French Baroque opera (especially tragédie en musique), postcolonialism, and global music history and historiography.

Full-length publications include Native American Song at the Frontiers of Early Modern Music (Cambridge Univ. Press, 2008) and Opera and the Political Imaginary in Old Regime France (Univ. of Chicago Press, 2017), which was supported by an ACLS Charles A. Ryskamp Research Fellowship and a generous subvention from the James R. Anthony Endowment of the AMS. I also co-edited (with Melanie Lowe and Jeffrey Kallberg) Rethinking Difference in Music Scholarship (Cambridge Univ. Press, 2015). ). My current book project is “Sound and Song in the Allegheny World, 1740-1776,” a study of Indigenous/settler sonic interaction and exchange in the upper Ohio River valley (especially the Ohio Forks region, near Pittsburgh) before the American Revolution.

I regularly teach graduate seminars in Musicology and the “Introduction to Musicology” proseminar, and I teach undergraduate courses for the major/minor (MUSIC 0222), as well as general education courses, including two that I developed: MUSIC 0111 (“Experiencing Music History in Pittsburgh”) and MUSIC 0216 (“Global Music History”). I advise Ph.D. students in a range of specialty areas and welcome inquiries from prospective graduate students.

I joined the Department of Music at the University of Pittsburgh in 2017, having previously taught at UCLA and Bucknell University. An alumna of Smith College, I received a Ph.D. in Musicology at the University of Pennsylvania in 2002. A classically trained pianist, I also enjoy dancing Argentinian tango and learning to play the lute and harpsichord.

Recent Courses


  • Global Music History/Global Musicologies
  • Opera at the Limits of the Human
  • Introduction to Musicology
  • Phenomenological Approaches to Music Scholarship
  • Lament in Western Music
  • Opera and Politics in the Old Regime


  • History of Western Music to 1750
  • Introduction to Opera
  • Experiencing Music History in Pittsburgh
  • Global Music History
  • Bach and Handel

Selected Publications

Books and Journal Issues

In progress Song and Sound in the Allegheny World, 1740-1776

2019 Special issue of Early Music, 47, no. 2: “Colonial Contrafaction.” Guest editor, O. Bloechl.

2017 Opera and the Political Imaginary in Old Regime France. University of Chicago Press.

2015 Bloechl, O., M. Lowe, and J. Kallberg, eds. Rethinking Difference in Music Scholarship. Cambridge University Press.

2008 Native American Song at the Frontiers of Early Modern Music. Cambridge University Press.

Articles, Chapters, and Reference Works

In progress      “How Peter Warren Johnson Got his Violin.”

Forthcoming   “The Discomfort of Entanglement in Global Music History.” In the Forum: “Centering Discomfort in Global Music History,” Journal of Musicology. Forum editor, Sin Yan Hedy Law.

Forthcoming   Interview with Bonnie Gordon and Olivia Bloechl, “‘Offer Less Variety and Teach Longer Focused Units’: Lessons Learned in Teaching Global Music History.” Special issue: “Teaching Global Music History: Practices and Challenges,” Journal of Music History Pedagogy. Guest editors, Hedy Law, Daniel Castro Pantoja, and Hyun Kyong Hannah Chang.

Forthcoming   “An Undergraduate Syllabus for ‘Global Music History’.” Special issue: “Syllabuses for Global Music History,” Journal of Music History Pedagogy. Guest editor, Shin Kang Gavin Lee.

2021    “Survivors’ Songs in Opera: What the Vulnerable Voice Can Do.” Women & Music 25, 33-54.

2021    “Gendered Geographies in Lully’s Proserpine (1680).” In Seachanges: Music in the Mediterranean and Colonial Worlds, 1550-1800. Ed. Kate Van Orden, 253-75. I Tatti Research Series, vol. 2. Officina Libraria/Harvard University Press.

2021   “Listening as an Innu-French Contact Zone in the Jesuit Relations.” In Acoustemologies in Contact: Sounding Subjects and Modes of Listening in Early Modernity. Ed. E. Wilbourne and S. Cusick, 13-36. Open Book Publishers.

Fall 2020  “Doing Music History Where We Are.” Newsletter of the Society for Eighteenth-Century Music 36, 1, 9-10.

2020 Editorial: “Global Histories of Early Modern Music.” Guest editorial for Eighteenth-Century Music 17, no. 2, 173-76.

2019 “Music in the Early Colonial World.” In Cambridge History of Sixteenth-Century Music. Ed. I. Fenlon and R. Weistrich, 128-62. Cambridge University Press.

2019  “The Catholic Mission to Japan, 1549-1614.” In Cambridge History of Sixteenth-Century Music. Ed. I. Fenlon and R. Weistrich, 163-75. Cambridge University Press.

2017  Bloechl, O., K. B. Schofield, and G. Solis. “The Value of Collaboration.” Musicology Now. 1,500 ww. http://musicologynow.ams-net.org/.

2016 “Post-colonialism.” Oxford Bibliographies in Musicwww.oxfordbibliographies.com

2015 “Race, Empire, and Early Music.” In Rethinking Difference in Music Scholarship. Eds. O. Bloechl, J. Kallberg, and M. Lowe. Cambridge University Press. 77-107

2013 “On Not Being Alone: Rousseauean Thoughts on a Relational Ethics of Music.” Colloquy: Rousseau in 2013: Afterthoughts on a Tercentenary. Journal of the American Musicological Society 66:1, 261-266

2011 “Choral Lament and the Politics of Public Mourning in the Tragédie en musique.” The Opera Quarterly 27:4, 341-378

2011 “Wendat Song and Carnival Noise in the Jesuit Relations.” In Native Acts: Indian Performance in Early North America. Eds. J. D. Bellin and L. L. Mielke. University of Nebraska Press. 117-144

2010 “War, Peace, and the Ballet in Le Soir.” Early Music 38:1, 91-100

2005“The Pedagogy of Polyphony in Gabriel Sagard’s Histoire du Canada.” Journal of Musicology 22:3, 365-411

2005 “Orientalism and Hyperreality in ‘Desert Rose’.” Journal of Popular Music Studies 7:2, 133-61

Education & Training

  • PhD, University of Pennsylvania, 2002
  • A.B. cum laude, Smith College, Music/English, 1996

Faculty Groupings

Core Faculty

Main Department Affliliation