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Dr. Wayne Heisler

Professor of Historical and Cultural Studies in Music

Area Coordinator of Historical and Cultural Studies in Music
Coordinator of Bachelor of Arts in Music degree program
Music Building 216

Ph.D., Musicology, Princeton University
M.M., Musicology, University of Wisconsin-Madison
B.A., Music (Piano), DePaul University

Dr. Wayne Heisler is Professor of Historical and Cultural Studies in Music at The College of New Jersey, where his recent and active courses are:

  • FSP 162 (Honors Freshman Seminar): An Era of Opportunity and Crisis: The 1960s (with Professor David Venturo, Department of English)
  • MUS 265: Music and the Stage
  • MUS 355/WGS 307: Gender, Sexuality, and Pop Music in the 1980s (Advanced Community Engaged Learning [ACEL])
  • MUS 452: Music from 1945 to the Present (Writing Intensive)
  • MUS 455: Issues in Music Performance Studies (Music Performance capstone, Writing Intensive)
  • MUS 494: Bachelor of Arts in Music Capstone (Writing Intensive)

Dr. Heisler’s research and teaching interests embrace both art music and popular culture from the late-19th through 21st centuries, including opera, dance, and musical theater; collaborations between composers and choreographers; Gustav Mahler; Richard Strauss; historiography; music ethnography; and gender and sexuality in music and dance performance.

Dr. Heisler’s work appears in the Journal of the American Musicological Society, The Musical Quarterly, The Opera Quarterly, Dance Chronicle, and The Grove Dictionary of American Music (2nd ed.), among other places. His book The Ballet Collaborations of Richard Strauss was published in 2009 as part of the University of Rochester Press’s Eastman Studies in Music series. Dr. Heisler’s conference presentations include the American Musicological Society, German Studies Association, International Musicological Society, North American British Music Studies Association, Royal Music Association (UK), Society of Dance History Scholars, and the Society for American Music. He has been awarded grants from the German-American Fulbright Commission, Germanistic Society of America/Fulbright IIE, and the Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst (DAAD). Dr. Heisler’s service to the field includes as Reviews Editor for The Opera Quarterly; he is also on the Editorial Board of OQ.

Dr. Heisler studied piano in Chicago with Dmitry Paperno and Melody Lord. His performance activities have included music of the late twentieth century, especially aleatoric and “minimalist” compositions, as well as gamelan.

Representative Publications


The Ballet Collaborations of Richard Strauss, Eastman Studies in Music (Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press, 2009).

Choreographing Song in the Twentieth Century (in progress).

Articles and Essays:

“A Note from the Guest Editor” and “Elisabeth Schumann and Richard Specht: Strauss before Sixty” (the latter with Laura Tunbridge), The Opera Quarterly: Performance + Theory + History, themed issue entitled “Strauss despite Strauss,” guest edited by Wayne Heisler Jr., 31/4 (2015): 195–98 and 273–88.

“Dancing Lieder Singing,” in Colloquy: Studying the Lied: Hermeneutic Traditions and the Challenge of Performance, Journal of the American Musicological Society 67/2 (Summer 2014): 557–64.

“Antony Tudor’s Dark Elegies and the Affirmation of Mahler’s Body, 1937–1947,” Dance Chronicle 36/2 (2013): 172–95.

“Kitsch and the Ballet Schlagobers,” The Opera Quarterly: Performance + Theory + History 22/1 (Winter 2006): 38–64.

“‘To drive away all cloudy thoughts’: Heinrich Kröller’s and Richard Strauss’s 1923 Ballettsoirée and Interwar Viennese Cultural Politics,” The Musical Quarterly 88/4 (Winter 2005): 594–629.

“What Fun? Whose Fun? Cyndi Lauper (Re) Covers ‘Girls Just Want to Have Fun’,” ECHO: a music-centered journal 6/1 (Spring 2004):

Chapters/Essays in collected volumes:

“Choreographing Mahler Songs at the Centenary,” in Musicology and Dance: Narratives of Embodiment in the Western Canon, eds. Davinia Caddy and Maribeth Clark (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, [in press]).

“Reconciling the ‘Three Graceful Hellenic Sisters’: Wagner, Dance, and ‘Song-Ballets’ Set to Richard Strauss’s Vier Letzte Lieder (Four Last Songs),” in The Total Work of Art: Foundations, Articulations, Inspirations, eds. David Imhoof, Margaret Eleanor Menninger, and Anthony Steinhoff, German Studies Association Spektrum Series, 133–56 (New York: Berghahn Books, 2016).

“Prestige Management: Die Operetta als Schachfigur” [Operetta as Pawn; German translation by Anna Kampen and Wayne Heisler Jr.], in Kunst der Oberfläche: Operette zwischen Bravour und Banalität, Proceedings of the Operettensymposium, Komische Oper Berlin, 31 January–2 February 2015, edited by Bettina Brandl-Risi Clemens Risi, and Komische Oper Berlin, 53–57 (Leipzig: Henschel Verlag, 2015).

“Choreographing Schumann,” in Rethinking Schumann, eds. Roe-Min Kok and Laura Tunbridge, 329–56 (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011).

“Maturity and Indecision in the Early Works,” in The Cambridge Companion to Richard Strauss, ed. Charles Youmans, 42–55 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2010).

Recent and upcoming presentations:

“Britten’s and Ashton’s ‘Rimbauderies’.” North American British Music Studies Association Conference, Utah State University, 30 July–1 August 2018.

“Are ‘Works’ Enough?” Presentation on the panel “Operatic Ontologies in the 21st Century” at Opera and Performance: Taking Stock and Looking Ahead, Institutionen för kultur och esthetik, Stockholms universitet (Department of Culture and Aesthetics, Stockholm University), Summer 2017.