Remi Chiu is a musicologist specializing in Renaissance music and the history of medicine. He is the author of Plague and Music in the Renaissance (Cambridge University Press), which examines the role of music and music-making in the medical, spiritual, and civic strategies for combating pestilence. A companion volume of Renaissance plague songs, Songs in Times of Plague, was published by A-R Editions.
His research into the music of past epidemics has yielded some unexpected insights into music-making under COVID-19, some of which have been featured in The Guardian, NPR, PBS, and Pitchfork, among other outlets. He has published articles on music, sound, and COVID in Frontiers in Psychology and Historical Reflections/Réflexions Historiques; the former surveys the musical responses to epidemics across epochs, and the latter analyzes the role and ethics of bell-ringing rituals in shaping our understanding of and responses to the pandemic.
One of Chiu’s latest projects focuses on the role of music in popular (quasi-) scientific entertainments, such as the medicine show and the freakshow, and the uses of music in patent medicine advertising in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. This study shows how music can shape the consumer’s concept of a normative body—and how medical commodities can help maintain it. Additionally, with Alessandra Ignesti, he is co-editing the complete Masses of Ippolito Baccusi, a northern Italian composer active in the late sixteenth century. Learn more about his research activities here.
Remi Chiu is a pianist and earned his PhD in musicology from McGill University. Prior to joining Peabody, he taught at the University of Toronto and Loyola University Maryland.