Marian Wilson Kimber is Professor of Musicology at the University of Iowa.  Her research about Felix Mendelssohn and Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel has appeared in numerous books and journals.  Wilson Kimber’s 2017 book, The Elocutionists: Women, Music, and the Spoken Word, published by the University of Illinois Press, explores women’s roles as performers and composers in the intersection of poetic recitation and music in American cultural life. The book is the recipient of the H. Earle Johnson Publication Subvention from the Society for American Music and an additional subvention from the American Musicological Society.  Wilson Kimber has recently taken up performing the women’s spoken-word compositions she writes about in the duo, Red Vespa, with pianist Natalie Landowski.



B.A., M.L.S., University of North Carolina Greensboro

M.M., Ph.D., Florida State University


Selected publications

“Women Composers at the White House: The National League of American Pen Women and Phyllis Fergus’s Advocacy for Women in American Music.” Journal of the Society for American Music 12, no. 4 (November 2018): 477–507.

The Elocutionists: Women, Music, and the Spoken Word. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2017.

“The Composer as Other: Gender and Race in the Biography of Felix Mendelssohn.” In The Mendelssohns: Their Music in History, 335–51. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003; reprinted in Mendelssohn. Early Romantic Composer Series. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2015.

“Jane Austen’s Playlist: Teaching Music History Beyond the Canon.” The Journal of Music History Pedagogy 4, no. 2 (Spring 2014): 213–230.

“Musical Topics, Historical Styles, and Narrative in Carl Davis’s Score for Pride and Prejudice (1995).” Journal of Adaptation in Film & Performance 6, no. 2 (2013): 141–55.

“Never Perfectly Beautiful: Physiognomy, Jewishness, and Mendelssohn Portraiture.” In Mendelssohn Perspectives, 9–30. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2012.

“In a Woman’s Voice: Musical Recitation and the Feminization of American Melodrama” In Melodramatic Voices: Understanding Music Drama (Aldershot: Ashgate Press, 2011), 61–82.

“Mendelssohn’s Other Concerto: the Changing Reception of the Piano Concerto no. 2, op. 40, in D minor.” The Journal of Musicological Research 29 (2010): 119–47 and Journal of the Musicological Society of Korea 13, no. (2010): 61–84.

“Fanny Hensel’s Seasons of Life: Poetic Epigrams, Vignettes, and Meaning in Das Jahr.” Journal of Musicological Research 27 (2008): 359–95.

“Victorian Fairies and Felix Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream in England.” 19th-Century Music Review 4 (2007): 53–79.

“Reading Shakespeare, Seeing Mendelssohn: Concert Readings of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, ca. 1850-1920.” Musical Quarterly 89 (2006): 199–236.

“Mendelssohn’s Second Piano Concerto, Op. 40, and the Origins of his Serenade and Allegro Giojoso, Op. 43,” Journal of Musicology 20 (August 2003): 358–87.

“The Suppression of Fanny Mendelssohn: Rethinking Feminist Biography,” 19th-Century Music 26 (Fall 2002): 11329.



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