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David Thurmaier

Chair of Composition, Music Theory and Musicology / Associate Professor of Music Theory

David Thurmaier is Associate Professor of Music Theory and Chair of Composition, Music Theory and Musicology at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance. In addition to teaching graduate courses in music theory, he coordinates the undergraduate core musicianship sequence.

He holds degrees from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (B.M., Composition), the Eastman School of Music (M.A., Music Theory Pedagogy), and Indiana University (Ph.D., Music Theory), where his dissertation focused on time and compositional process in the orchestral music of Charles Ives. 

He has previously served on the faculties of Lawrence University, the University of Central Missouri, and Florida Gulf Coast University, where he won the Junior Faculty Teaching Excellence Award. At UMKC, he recently won the Award for Excellence in Mentoring Undergraduate Researchers, Scholars, and Artists, as well as the Muriel McBride Kauffman Excellence in Teaching Award.

In addition to Ives, Dr. Thurmaier’s research interests include the pedagogy of music theory, the history of music theory in the United States, and the Beatles. He has presented research on these topics at numerous conferences including the Society for Music Theory, Society for American Music, and the College Music Society. 

Recent publications have included his articles “‘When Borne by the Red, White, and Blue’: Charles Ives and Patriotic Quotation” in American Music, and “‘A Discouraging Lack of Continuity’: Elliott Carter, Charles Ives, and Musical Borrowing” in Current Musicology. He also recently published an essay (with John Cox) about John Lennon’s political music in the collection Protest Music in the Twentieth Century (Brepols), and an essay about George Harrison’s influences from American popular song in the collection New Critical Perspectives on the Beatles: Things We Said Today (Palgrave/Macmillan).

His critical edition of Ives’s Psalm 67 is in production for the Charles Ives Society, to which he was recently named to the Board of Directors. He also serves as Reviews Editor for College Music Symposium, the journal of the College Music Society. 

Dr. Thurmaier has a performance background on horn and guitar, and is the co-host of “I’ve Got a Beatles Podcast,” an international podcast focusing on the music and history of the Beatles.