Douglas W. Shadle

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Creative Director, Scholar

“(Douglas) 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

Douglas Shadle joined the Vanderbilt University Blair School of Music as Assistant Professor of Musicology in 2014. 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 from the University of Houston.

Shadle’s research interrogates the cultural roles of the symphony orchestra, particularly in the United States. He is the winner of five major publication awards, including 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).

His first book, Orchestrating the Nation: The Nineteenth-Century American Symphonic Enterprise (Oxford, 2016), explores the volatile relationships between composers, performers, critics, and audiences and demonstrates why American composers rarely find a home on concert programs today. The first comprehensive study of its kind, it has been cited or reviewed in several popular venues, including the New York Times, the New Yorker, the Washington PostFirst Things, BBC Music MagazineGramophoneSymphony Magazine, and PostClassic.

His second book project is a collection of writings and radio broadcasts by Chicago Sun-Times critic Andrew Partner titled A Portrait in Four Movements: The Chicago Symphony under Barenboim, Boulez, Haitink and Muti (Chicago, 2019). Featuring a foreword by esteemed critic Alex Ross, the book is co-edited with John R. Schmidt, former Associate Attorney General under President Bill Clinton and CSO lifetime trustee.

His third book is a short monograph on Antonín Dvořák’s “New World Symphony” for Oxford University Press. Shadle recontextualizes this iconic piece within the complex landscape of American classical music culture of the 1890s. He wrote a teaser in the New York Times to mark the 125th anniversary of the symphony’s Carnegie Hall premiere, and he has presented research on Dvořák’s American residency at regional, national, and international conferences.

Shadle is a leading expert on fellow Little Rock native Florence Price (1887–1953), the first African-American woman to win international acclaim as a composer. He won an SEC Faculty Travel Grant to study Price’s manuscripts in 2016, and his research on Price has been featured on radio stations around the globe as well as in the New Yorker, the New York TimesNewMusicBox, and I Care if You Listen. He wrote liner notes for the world premiere recordings of Price’s two violin concertos (Albany) and fourth symphony (Naxos) and has consulted on educational materials for the Orchestra of St. Luke’s “Music in Color” series.

Shadle’s shorter writings include articles, essays, and reviews in American Music, the Journal of the Society for American Music, the Journal of Music History Pedagogy, the Journal of Musicological ResearchMLA Notes, the Russian ReviewMessiaen the Theologian (Ashgate, 2010), Common-Place, the Register of the Kentucky Historical Society, program notes for the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the blogs for Naxos Records, Oxford University Press, and Q2 Music.


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