David Gutkin is a scholar of American and European music from the early 20th century through the present. He received his PhD in historical musicology from Columbia University in 2015 and subsequently joined the Society of Fellows in the Humanities at Columbia (2015-17). Gutkin’s research focuses on technologies of mediating music (from notation to television), theories of race and modernity, the history of globalization, and relationships between musical experience and historical memory. Repertories of particular interest include opera, experimental improvisation and free jazz, various –isms of postwar composition (serialism, minimalism, spectralism), and American popular music of the last four decades.
Gutkin has published articles on Robert Ashley’s television operas in The Opera Quarterly, graphic notation in Perspectives of New Music, and ludic theory in the edited volume Notationen in kreativen Prozessen. He edited a special issue of Current Musicology featuring experimental writing about music and co-edited a special issue of American Music Review on opera during the Harlem Renaissance. An article on Afro-Wagnerian composer H. Lawrence Freeman appeared in the Journal of the American Musicological Society. Gutkin is currently working on a book titled Meanwhile, Let’s Go Back in Time: New York Avant-Garde Opera and the Historical Imagination (under contract with Oxford University Press). Through studies of operas with roots in experimental jazz, monumental site-specific spectacles, and works designed for serial television broadcast, the book aims to show how avant-garde artists adapting an eminently ‘historical’ form participated in—and sometimes transformed—the period’s wide-ranging debates over the concept of history as such.
Gutkin has given talks at conferences in the United States, Canada, Germany, and Japan. Before studying musicology, he studied classical guitar with Julian Gray at Peabody Conservatory, Eliot Fisk at New England Conservatory, and Orlando Roman privately.