Roberta Schwartz

Roberta Schwartz
  • Associate Professor of Musicology
  • Musicology
  • **KU Safe Zone Member

Contact Info

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


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.