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Roberta Freund Schwartz

Associate Professor, Musicology
Primary office:
434 Murphy Hall


Ph.D. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; M.A. University of Iowa

Roberta Freund Schwartz is the Director of the Musicology Division, and has taught at the University of Kansas since 2001. She holds a Ph.D. in historical musicology from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, with specializations in the music of the Renaissance and African American music. Her areas of research interest include the early music of Spain, musical patronage, the history of recorded sound, transnational interpretations of African American music, the blues, and rock and roll. She is the author of How Britain Got the Blues: the Transmission and Reception of American Blues Styles to theBritish Isles (Ashgate, 2007), which won the 2008 Association of Recorded Sound Collections award for best historical writing on the blues. Schwartz is heavily involved in rock music pedagogy; she developed Reverb: A Digital Rock Anthology for the W. W. Norton textbook What’s That Sound? (W. W. Norton, 2005, 2007) and the instructor’s manual for Rock and Roll: An Introduction, 2nd ed. (Centgage, 2006), and has contributed material to several other rock texts. Her work has appeared in a number of compilations and Festschrifts, and she has published articles on the Spanish melomane and composer Saint Francis of Borja; Spanish music manuscripts; the patronage of music by the Spanish nobility in the Renaissance; sexual euphemism in the blues; Iowan identity in The Music Man; British blues rock; and the role that British jazz critics played in popularizing African American music in England. Schwartz has also presented papers and lectures on various topics at major conferences in the United States, Spain, and England. She is currently working on a monograph about the Chicago or “hokum” blues of the 1930s. Schwartz is also an advocate for the preservation and care of early sound recordings; she was Director of the KU Archive of Recorded Sound from 2001-2005 and currently serves as the Archive’s advising director.

Selected Awards & Grants


  • A-R Editions Award, Midwest Chapter of the American Musicological Society, Spring


  • University of Illinois Dissertation Completion Fellowship


  • University of Illinois Foundation Research Grant


  • Rotary International Fellowship


  • Presser Foundation Fellowship


  • An Incomplete Listing of Teaching Assistants ranked as Excellent by their Students, University of Illinois
  • Rita Benton Award for Excellence in Musicology, 1993
  • Undergraduate music performance scholarship, University of Iowa

Selected Publications

  • From Criado to Canonization: Music in the Life of Saint Francis of Borja, Essays on Music and Culture in Honor of Herbert Kellman, ed. Barbara Haggh (Klincksieck, 2001), pp. 193-200, Borja, San Francisco de.
  • Die Musik In Geschichte und Gegenwart: Allgemeine Enzyklopedie der Musik, (Bärenreiter Metzler, 2001), vol. 2, pp. 325-328.
  • En busca de la cultura cortesana: investigaciones del mecenazgo musical de las cortes nobiliarias del Renacimiento, Signo: Revista de Historia de la Cultura Escrita 5 (1998), pp. 127-132.
  • Sevilla 5-5-20, Tarazona 2/3, y los fuentes manuscritos del siglo XVI: una reconsideración de conexiones, proceedings of the Coloquio Internacional: Fuentes musicales en la Península Ibérica (ca. 1250-1550), Lleida, 1996 (Lleida: Ediciones de la Universitat de Lleida, 2001), pp. 203-218.

Selected Papers Read


  • The Greatest Miracle of San Blas: A Convent as Noble Chapel in Early Modern Spain, at the national meeting of the Renaissance Society of America, Toronto, March 27, 2003


  • To Get My Hambone Boiled: Food as Sexual Euphemism in the Blues, Hall Center for the Humanities, 2002 Spring Faculty Colloquium, February 21, 2002


  • Spain is Different: Music in the Courts of the Spanish Nobility in the Renaissance, at the national meeting of the American Musicological Society, Atlanta, November 18, 2001
  • En busca de liberalidad: Modalities of Music Patronage of the Spanish Nobility, 1470-1640, at the spring meeting of the Midwest Chapter of the American Musicological Society, March 25, 2001
  • In search of liberalidad: Music, musicians and patronal strategies of the Dukes of Alba, 1470-1635, at the musicology colloquium of the University of Iowa, February 9, 2001


  • Manuscript Sources of Spanish Renaissance Music: A Reconsideration of Connections, at the conference New Studies in Spanish Music, University of Illinois, January 24-25, 1997


  • Sevilla 5-5-20, Tarazona 2/3, y los fuentes manuscritos del siglo XVI: una reconsideración de conexiones, at the international colloquium Fuentes musicales en la Península Ibérica (ca. 1250-ca. 1550), Lleida , Spain April 1996

School of Music Calendar
Music students present hundreds of public concerts every year
Students perform in KU choirs, concert bands, pep bands, ensembles, symphony orchestra, and jazz combos
The school owns one of the greatest jazz record collections in the world
KU Wind Ensemble performed the world premiere of the symphony "In the Shadow of No Towers" at Carnegie Hall
One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
44 nationally ranked graduate programs.
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Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.