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Douglas Shadle

Associate Professor of Musicology; Chair of the Musicology and Ethnomusicology Department

“Shadle [has] singlehandedly done more than anyone to stamp out fake news about Florence Price and her milieu on social media.” – Steve Smith, National Sawdust Log

As an advocate of historically marginalized composers, musicologist Douglas Shadle is a leading voice in public discussions about the role of symphony orchestras and orchestral music in American life.

His first book, Orchestrating the Nation: The Nineteenth-Century American Symphonic Enterprise (Oxford, 2016), explores the volatile relationships between composers, performers, critics, and audiences throughout the 19th century and demonstrates why American composers rarely find a home on concert programs today. Several major press venues, including the New York Times, Washington Post, and Boston Globe, have covered Shadle’s work on 19th-century American orchestral music.

Shadle is also a highly-regarded expert on fellow Little Rock native Florence Price (1887–1953), the first African American woman to win international acclaim as a composer. His research on Price has been featured in The New Yorker, New York Times, and NewMusicBox, as well as on radio broadcasts and podcasts around the world.

Shadle’s second book, now under contract with Oxford University Press, recontextualizes Antonín Dvořák’s iconic New World Symphony within the complex landscape of American culture at the end of the nineteenth century. In December 2018, he wrote a teaser for the New York Times to mark the 125th anniversary of the symphony’s Carnegie Hall premiere.

Shadle edited a collection writings and radio broadcasts by Chicago Sun-Times critic Andrew Partner called A Portrait in Four Movements: The Chicago Symphony under Barenboim, Boulez, Haitink and Muti (Chicago, 2019). Featuring a foreword by New Yorker critic Alex Ross, the book is co-edited by John R. Schmidt, former Associate Attorney General under President Bill Clinton and CSO lifetime trustee. Shadle’s contributions include the first published history of the CSO’s inaugural century (1891–1991).

Shadle’s publications have won two ASCAP Deems/Taylor Virgil Thomson Awards (2015, 2017), the Society for American Music Irving Lowens Article Award (2016), the inaugural American Musicological Society H. Robert Cohen/RIPM Award (2018), and the Vanderbilt Chancellor’s Award for Research (2018).

Shadle joined the Blair School faculty in 2014 and has served as the chair of the Department of Musicology and Ethnomusicology since 2019. He holds a Ph.D. and M.A. in musicology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a B.M. in viola performance, summa cum laude, from the University of Houston.