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Elaine Sisman

Anne Parsons Bender Professor of Music, Department of Music, Columbia University

Chair, Music Humanities, SOF/Heyman, Columbia University (2018–2022, ex-officio)

Governing Board Member, SOF/Heyman, Columbia University (1991–1992, 1994–1997, 1998–1999, 2000–2004, 2006–2010, 2013–2015, 2016–2017)

Governing Board Chair, SOF/Heyman, Columbia University (1993–1994)

Headshot of Elaine Sisman

Elaine Sisman is the Anne Parsons Bender Professor of Music at Columbia University, where she has taught since 1982, serving six years as department chair (1999-2005). She has just completed a term as President of the American Musicological Society. The author of Haydn and the Classical Variation, Mozart: The 'Jupiter' Symphony, and editor of Haydn and His World, she specializes in music of the 18th and 19th centuries, and has written on such topics as memory and invention in late Beethoven, ideas of pathetique and fantasia around 1800, Haydn's theater symphonies, the sublime in Mozart's music, and Brahms's slow movements. Her most recent publications, after the monograph-length article on "variations" in New Grove 2, concern biography (Haydn and his multiple audiences), chronology (Mozart's "Haydn" quartets), history (marriage in Don Giovanni), Enlightenment aesthetics (Haydn'sCreation), and the opus concept ("Six of One"), and she is completing studies of Haydn's Metastasio opera L'isola disabitata and of music and melancholy. Her most recent work concerns Haydn's "poetics of solar time."

Professor Sisman studied piano at the Juilliard pre-college division and with Malcolm Bilson at Cornell, received her doctorate in music history at Princeton, and has taught at the University of Michigan and Harvard University. She has been awarded grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Council of Learned Societies, and has received the Alfred Einstein Award of the American Musicological Society for best article by a younger scholar. She serves on the board of directors of the Joseph Haydn-Institut in Cologne, the Akademie fur Mozartforschung in Salzburg, and the Haydn Society of North America, and as associate editor of The Musical Quarterly. Columbia has honored her with its Great Teacher Award and award for Distinguished Service to the Core Curriculum.

In her role as Chair of Music Humanities Professor Sisman serves as an ex officio member of the Governing Board of the Society of Fellows and Heyman Center for the Humanities. Elected Board members serve three-year, non-renewable terms: terms that exceed three years are served ex officio.