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Thomas Kernan

Thomas Kernan
Thomas Kernan
Assistant Professor of Music History
Chicago College of Performing Arts
» Music Conservatory
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About Me

Thomas J. Kernan, Assistant Professor of Music History and Honors Bachelor of Musical Arts Program Head, has served on the CCPA faculty since fall 2014. He is a scholar-in-residence at the Newberry Library.

His PhD dissertation, “Sounding ‘The Mystic Chords of Memory’: Musical Memorials for Abraham Lincoln, 1865–2009” (University of Cincinnati, 2014) earned the 2016 Abraham Lincoln Association and Abraham Lincoln Institute Hay-Nicolay Dissertation Prize.

Recent publications:

“Vilification or Problematization? John Wilkes Booth in Popular Songs and Musicals.” In Music and Tyranny, edited by Joseph E. Morgan and Gregory Reish. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, an imprint of Rowman & Littlefield, 2017.

“What of the Performers? The Case of the Percussion Group Cincinnati and Percussion Chamber Music Historiography.” In The Modern Percussion Revolution: Journeys of the Progressive Artist, edited by Kevin Lewis and Gustavo Aguilar. New York: Routledge, 2014.

“Drum Set,” “Prepared Piano,” and “Timpani.” In New Grove Dictionary of American Music. 2nd ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 2013.

Recent Classes and Seminars:

  • Bernstein at the Boundaries (graduate seminar)
  • Concepts of Musical Ideals: The Great American Opera and Great American Symphony (graduate seminar)
  • Constructing Musical Monuments in Post-war America (graduate seminar)
  • Destination Chicago: Émigré, Immigrant, and Migrant Musicians and the Creation of Cultural Identity (graduate transformational learning seminar)
  • Hamilton and Musicals Recalling History (undergraduate honors seminar)
  • Music Style and Literature (introductory graduate course)
  • “A Song for Anything”: The Songs of Charles Ives (graduate seminar)
  • Vernacular Music of the United States (undergraduate survey)
  • Western Music History, since 1800 (undergraduate survey)
Topics of Expertise
  • American MusicProf. Kernan teaches and researches vernacular (popular) and cultivated (concert/art) music in the United States, from the nineteenth century to the present.
  • Musical MemorializationA sizable portion of Prof. Kernan's work addresses the ways that music has been (and can be) used to form audible monuments and rituals to people and events.
  • Music and the U.S. PresidencyAn expert on music composed for and about Abraham Lincoln, Prof. Kernan examines the use of music in shaping presidential legacies.
  • PhDMusicology with cognate studies in American History — University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music
  • MMMusic History — University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music
  • BMMusic Performance — University of Missouri-Kansas City