Dr. Jeffrey Sposato

Dr. Jeffrey Sposato

Department Chair and Professor, Music History

 Old Main, Suite 1321

(313) 577-2545


Dr. Jeffrey Sposato


Jeffrey S. Sposato is Chair and Professor in the Department of Music. Before joining Wayne State in 2024, he served as Director of the School of Music and Interim Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs in the College of Fine and Applied Arts, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, as well as President of the Association of Illinois Music Schools. His teaching and research interests include music of the baroque, classical, and romantic periods; sacred music; choral music; concert traditions; and opera.

Sposato’s most recent book, Leipzig After Bach: Church and Concert Life in a German City (Oxford, 2018) examines musical life in Leipzig, Germany in the tumultuous century between the deaths of two renowned musicians: Johann Sebastian Bach in 1750, and Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy in 1847. As part of his research on Leipzig, Sposato curated historical recreation concerts with the Mercury Orchestra, Bach Society Houston, and Houston Chamber Choir that featured music performed in Leipzig during this period, and he assembled the music for a mass in Leipzig celebrating the 500th anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation. His previous book, The Price of Assimilation: Felix Mendelssohn and the Nineteenth-Century Anti-Semitic Tradition (Oxford, 2006), was named a Choice Outstanding Academic Title for 2006 and a Royal Philharmonic Society Music Award finalist.

His other publications include William Thomas McKinley: A Bio-Bibliography (Greenwood, 1995), as well as articles and reviews in Ars Lyrica, 19th-Century Music, Music & Letters, Choral Journal, Musical Quarterly, Notes, and The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (second edition). His work also appears in the collections The Idea of Art Music in a Commercial World, 1800-1930 (Christina Bashford and Roberta Marvin, eds.), Nineteenth-Century Choral Music (Donna Di Grazia, ed.), Historical Musicology (Stephen Crist and Roberta Marvin, eds.), and Geistliche Musik und Chortradition im 18. und 19. Jahrhundert (Anselm Hartinger, Peter Wollny, and Christoph Wolff, eds.).

Before joining the faculty at the University of Illinois, Sposato served as Associate Director and Director of Graduate Studies at the Moores School of Music, University of Houston, where he taught in the musicology division for twelve years. Prior to that he taught for six years at the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg, where he founded and directed that school’s Collegiate Chorale. His grants include an ACLS/Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship for Junior Faculty and a Fulbright fellowship for doctoral research in Germany.

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