Paul Laird

Paul Laird
  • Professor of Musicology
  • Musicology

Contact Info

334 Murphy Hall
1530 Naismith Drive
Lawrence, KS 66045-3103


Ph.D. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; M.A. The Ohio State University; B.M.E. The Ohio State University

Former director of the Musicology Area, Paul R. Laird has taught at the University of Kansas since 1994 after previous experience at Pennsylvania State University, Binghamton University, and the University of Denver. He teaches courses on musical theater, Baroque music, American music, and music of the twentieth century, in addition to more general music history classes. He holds a PhD in music from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His research interests include the Spanish and Latin American villancico, Leonard Bernstein, the American musical theater, and early string instruments. He is the author of Towards a History of the Spanish Villancico (Harmonie Park Press, 1997); Leonard Bernstein: A Guide to Research (Routledge, 2002); The Baroque Cello Revival: An Oral History (Scarecrow Press, 2004); Leonard Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms (College Music Society and Pendragon Press, 2010); Wicked: A Musical Biography (Scarecrow Press, 2011); The Musical Theater of Stephen Schwartz: From Godspell to Wicked and Beyond (Rowman & Littlefield, 2014); Leonard Bernstein: A Research and Information Guide (second edition with Hsun Lin; Routledge, 2015); the biography Leonard Bernstein (Reaktion Books, 2018); Historical Dictionary of Leonard Bernstein (with Hsun Lin; Rowman & Littlefield, 2019); West Side Story, Gypsy, and the Art of Broadway Orchestration (Routledge, 2022); and West Side Story in Spain: The Transcultural Adaptation of an Iconic American Show (with Gonzalo Fernández Monte; Cambridge University Press, 2022). Laird is co-editor of Res musicae: Essays in Honor of James W. Pruett (with Craig H. Russell; Harmonie Park Press, 2001); On Bunker’s Hill: Essays in Honor of J. Bunker Clark (with William A. Everett; Harmonie Park Press, 2007); The Cambridge Companion to the Musical (with William A. Everett; Cambridge University Press, 2002; 2nd edition, 2008; 3rd edition, 2017); and Dueling Grounds: Revolution and Revelation in the Musical Hamilton (with Mary Jo Lodge; Oxford University Press, 2021). With William A. Everett, Laird wrote Historical Dictionary of the Broadway Musical (Scarecrow, 2007; 2nd edition, Rowman & Littlefield, 2017) and they served as co-commissioning editors for musical theater for The New Grove Dictionary of American Music (2nd edition). Laird's articles and reviews have appeared in The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (2nd ed.), The New Grove Dictionary of American Music (2nd edition), Anuario musical, Nassarre, Revista de Musicología, Early Music, Australian Journal of Musicology, CMS Symposium, MLA Notes, Historical Performance, American Music, American Record Guide, Continuo Magazine, Studies in Musical Theatre, Journal of the American Musicological Society, Journal of the Society for American Music, and other journals and dictionaries. He has also written numerous chapters for edited collections, conference proceedings, and Festschrifts. Laird has presented papers and lectures at many conferences and universities in the United States and Europe and in 2015 presented the American Musicological Society Lecture at the Library of Congress. Laird directs the Instrumental Collegium Musicum and is active as a Baroque cellist. In August 2002, he won a University of Kansas W. T. Kemper Fellowship for Teaching Excellence. In August 2021, he won the University of Kansas Chancellor’s Club Career Teaching Award. His teaching career has included six courses taught on music research and music history for Universidad de Cuenca and the Universidad de Especialidades Espíritu Santo (Guayaquil) in Ecuador. He frequently teaches classes for the KU Osher Lifelong Institute.