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Richard Taruskin (born 1945) is an American musicologist, music historian, and critic who has written about the theory of performance, Russian music, fifteenth-century music, twentieth-century music, nationalism, the theory of modernism, and analysis. As a choral conductor he directed the Columbia University Collegium Musicum. He played the viol with the Aulos Ensemble from the late seventies to the late eighties. He received various awards for his scholarship, including the Noah Greenberg Prize (1978) from the American Musicological Society, the Alfred Einstein Award (1980), the Dent Medal (1987), the ASCAP-Deems Taylor Award (1988) and the 1997 and 2006 Kinkeldey Prize from the American Musicological Society. He is a professor of musicology at the University of California, Berkeleymarker, holding the Class of 1955 Chair. He has also written extensively for lay readers, including numerous articles in The New York Times. His book on Igor Stravinsky shows that the composer drew on much more Russian folk material than has previously been recognized, and analyzes the historical trends that caused Stravinsky not to be forthcoming about some of these borrowings. Taruskin has also been an influential critic of the premises of the "early-music" movement in classical-music performance; much of his writing has been collected in his book Text and Act.


  • Music in the Western World: A History in Documents compiled and edited by Taruskin and Piero Weiss (New York and London, 1984)
  • Musorgsky: Eight Essays and an Epilogue (Princeton University Press, 1993)
  • Text and Act (Oxford University Press, 1995)
  • Stravinsky and the Russian Traditions: A Biography of the Works through Mavra (University of California Press, 1996)
  • Defining Russia Musically: historical and hermeneutical essays (Princeton University Press, 1997).
  • The Oxford History of Western Music, 6 volumes, (Oxford University Press, 2005) (Kinkeldey winner, 2006)
  • The Danger of Music and Other Anti-Utopian Essays (University of California Press, 2009)


  1. Jerry McBride, Richard Taruskin

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