Emily Laurance

  • Visiting Associate Professor of Musicology

Areas of Study


• BM (harp performance), Oberlin Conservatory of Music
• BA (English), Oberlin College
• MM (harp performance), New England Conservatory
• PhD (musicology), University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


Before coming to Oberlin, Emily Laurance served as chair of music history at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, where she taught courses on Verdi, 19th-century French opera, and the symphonic poem. She earned a PhD in musicology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and degrees in harp from Oberlin Conservatory and New England Conservatory.

Laurance has a broad scholarly and performing background, with research areas that include early camp meeting hymnody, early 20th-century American ultramodernism, and French vocal romance of the late 18th century. Her publications include an essay on the use of Parisian street-vendor cries in late 19th-century French opera and an article on the influence of Dane Rudhyar’s thought on the early works of Carlos Salzedo. She is a frequent concert lecturer, including for the San Francisco Opera and the Cleveland Orchestra.

As a performer, Laurance has served as principal harp with the Stockton Symphony and performs regularly with area orchestras. Her recording credits include Luciano Berio's Sequenza II (Neuma Records) as well as the Squirrel Nut Zippers album Perennial Favorites, which won the Recording Institute Association of America's Gold Sales award. In addition to her work at Oberlin, Laurance serves as editor of the American Harp Journal.

Spring 2024

Introduction to the History and Literature of Music — MHST 101
Music and Melodrama on Stage and Screen — MHST 237
Studies in Opera: Verdi — MHST 316