Assistant Professor of Musicology
Assistant Professor Jen Gunderman divides her time between teaching, performing and recording. She has been at the Blair School since 2004, specializing in American popular music history courses, but she is also an active performer, studio session musician, and producer, and has been playing keyboards and singing in Sheryl Crow’s band since 2013.
Recent touring highlights with Crow included a summer of tour with Phil Collins in Europe, a show at Wembley Stadium with The Eagles, a U.S. tour leg with Heart, and a show at Newport Folk Festival.
In February 2016 she launched the Coursera MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) “Understanding the Music Business: What Is Music Worth?”, which was the Blair School’s first Coursera offering, and Vanderbilt’s first Coursera course produced entirely in their Always Available format. She is also the host and director of the interview series Conversations at Blair, whose guests have included Peter Frampton and Sheryl Crow.
Gunderman earned an undergraduate degree in classical piano performance at Vassar College with Phi Beta Kappa honors, completed additional studies at the Heidelberg-Mannheim Hochschule fuer Musik and the University of Mannheim, Germany, and earned an M.A. in ethnomusicology from University of Washington (Seattle).
After leaving graduate school, she toured with rock bands Dag and The Jayhawks full time for several years, and has since performed and recorded with a diverse variety of musicians, playing various keyboards and/or singing with Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, Michael McDonald, Chris Robinson (Black Crowes), Roger McGuinn (Byrds), Exene Cervenka (X), Loretta Lynn, The Dixie Chicks, Annie Clark (St. Vincent), Steve Cropper (Booker T & the MGs), John Prine, Emmylou Harris, Lyle Lovett, Vince Gill, Don Was, Duane Eddy, Keith Urban, Darius Rucker, Martina McBride, Chris Stapleton, Jason Isbell, Mavis Staples, Bonnie Raitt, Maren Morris, and many others.
She has performed at Avery Fisher Hall (Lincoln Center), Wembley Stadium and Royal Albert Hall (London), and the Ryman Auditorium, as well as in clubs, theaters, festivals, amphitheaters, and sports arenas. She has recorded for major and independent record labels and has appeared on radio and television shows in the U.S., Canada, and Europe, including The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, The Today Show, Late Night with David Letterman, The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The Colbert Report, The View, Ellen, Good Morning America, and others.