Andrew Pau

  • Associate Professor of Music Theory

Areas of Study


  • AB, Stanford University, 1990
  • JD, Harvard Law School, 1993
  • MM, Mannes College of Music, 2005
  • PhD, City University of New York, 2012


Andrew Pau has taught at the Oberlin Conservatory since 2011. Pau’s research focuses on the music of nineteenth-century French composers. He has written and presented papers on chromatic harmony, phrase rhythm and text setting, and theories of narrative and musical meaning. He is especially interested in musical genres such as opera that lie at the intersection between music and the literary, visual, theatrical, and choreographic arts.

In April 2016, Pau appeared on national television as a contestant on the game show Jeopardy!, where he became a six-day champion.

Barry S. Brook Dissertation Award in Music, CUNY Graduate Center (2012)

Mannes Theory Essay Award (2010)

Felix Salzer Techniques of Music Award, Mannes College of Music (2005)

"Common-Tone Tonality in Bizet's Carmen." Music Theory Spectrum 40(2) (2018): 280–301.

"The Harmonic Theories of Jean-Adam Serre." Intégral 32 (2018): 1–13.

"Plagal Systems in the Songs of Fauré and Duparc." Theory and Practice 41 (2016): 81–112.

“Sous le rythme de la chanson: Rhythm, Text, and Diegetic Performance in Nineteenth-Century French Opera.” Music Theory Online 21/3 (2015).

"The Six Épigraphes Antiques and Debussy's (Re)compositional Process." Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Music Theory, San Antonio, TX, November 2018; and at Debussy Perspectives 1918–2018, Manchester, UK, March 2018.

“The Influence of Dance Forms on Metrical Practices in Nineteenth-Century French Opera.” Paper presented at the annual meeting of Music Theory Midwest, Appleton, WI, April 2014.

“‘A Flight Into the Exotic Distance’: Harmony and Voice Leading in the Act IV Duet from Bizet’s Carmen.” Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Music Theory, Charlotte, NC, November 2013.

“Voice Leading as Harmonic Determinant in Atonal Music.” Paper presented at the annual meetings of the Society for Music Theory, Baltimore, MD, November 2007.

Fall 2024

East Asia in Western Art Music — MUTH 266PT
French Music from the Belle Époque, 1871 - 1900 — MUTH 362


Andrew Pau publishes book review

October 15, 2020

Associate Professor of Music Theory Andrew Pau reviewed Alexandra Kieffer's book Debussy's Critics: Sound, Affect, and the Experience of Modernism for France Review, an online review dedicated to books on French history and culture. 

Andrew Pau Reviews Opera Production

April 30, 2019

Associate Professor of Music Theory Andrew Pau reviewed a DVD of the Metropolitan Opera's 2016 production of Georges Bizet's opera Les Pêcheurs de perles (The Pearl Fishers) in Nineteenth-Century Music Review.

Andrew Pau Publishes

April 14, 2019

Andrew Pau, associate professor of music theory, published an article titled "The Harmonic Theories of Jean-Adam Serre" in the journal Intégral. The article argues for a re-evaluation of the theories of Serre, a native of Geneva who published three essays on the principles of harmony in Paris in 1753.

Andrew Pau Publishes Article

November 28, 2018

Associate Professor of Music Theory Andrew Pau's article "Common-Tone Tonality in Bizet's Carmen" was published in the journal Music Theory Spectrum. The article explores ways in which a harmonic analysis of George's Bizet's score can illuminate the dramatic structure of Carmen, one of the most popular operas in the repertoire.

Andrew Pau Delivers Paper on Debussy

March 19, 2018

Oberlin Conservatory associate professor of music theory Andrew Pau presented a paper at a conference at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, England on March 19, 2018. The five-day programClaude Debussy in 2018: a Centenary Celebration, marks the 100th anniversary of Debussy's death on March 25, 2018. Pau joins guest speakers from 13 countries who explore Debussy’s editions and sketches, critical and interpretative approaches, textual and cultural-historical analysis, and his legacy in performance, recording, composition and arrangement. His paper, "The Six épigraphes antiques and Debussy’s (Re)compositional Process," addressed Debussy’s "Style in History."