AboutPhilip Gentry is a musicologist specializing in the history of music in the United States during the twentieth century, both popular and classical. He is particularly interested in theoretical questions of history, identity, and politics. His book What Will I Be: American Music and Cold War Identity (Oxford University Press, 2017) traces the changing relationship between music and identity in four diverse musical scenes: the R&B world of doo-wop pioneers the Orioles, the early film musicals of Doris Day, Asian American cabaret in San Francisco, and John Cage’s infamous silent piece 4’33”. He has also published an article on Leonard Bernstein’s second symphony and a review essay of the musical Hamilton. His current research project is a comprehensive study of anti-communist blacklisting in the music industry in the 1950s, and he is in the early stages of a major project investigating the relationship between past and present in contemporary music.
Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, Gentry earned his Ph.D. at UCLA and taught at the College of William & Mary before coming to the University of Delaware. At Delaware he teaches the music history sequence for undergraduates; graduate seminars in research methods and special topics; and literature surveys on symphonic, chamber and contemporary repertoires. He has also served a term as an at-large member of the national council of the American Musicological Society, and two terms as president of the society’s mid-Atlantic chapter. He lives in Philadelphia.
EducationPh.D. in Musicology, University of California, Los Angeles, 2008.
M.A. in Musicology, University of California, Los Angeles, 2005.
M.A. in Musicology, Brandeis University, 2003.
B.A. with High Honors in Music, Wesleyan University, 2002.
Work Shared in CORE
ProjectsPublic Writing and Appearances
- “How Much Was that Doggie in the Window“, Political Machinations of Popular Music, IASPM-US, 2012.
- “Whiteness and Sex in the Music of Rosemary Clooney” American Music Review, 2014.
- “Hamilton in the White House” Panel, On the Same Page, UC Berkeley, 2017.
- “Aural Sex: A Talk with Musicologist Phil Gentry,” Sex With Timaree podcast, 2017.
- “Love it or hate it, Christmas Music has a big impact on our health,” Interviewed for NBCNews.com story, 2017.
Upcoming Talks and Conferences
- “‘I Just Told Them Like it Was’: Place, Performance, and African American History in Cold War Colonial Williamsburg.” Seminar session on “Music and Cultural Memory.” Society for American Music. Kansas City, MO. To be presented March 2, 2018.
MembershipsAmerican Musicological Society
Society for American Music