Dan DiPiero

Dan DiPiero
Assistant Professor of Music Studies

Contact Info
Grant Hall 119


Dan DiPiero is a musician and Assistant Professor of Music Studies at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. His research focuses on the affective connections between aesthetics and politics, with a particular emphasis in U.S. improvised and popular music. Dan's first book, Contingent Encounters: Improvisation in Music and Everyday Life (University of Michigan Press, 2022) is an interdisciplinary exploration of improvisation as it appears across contexts. Through a series of nested comparisons, it proposes a nuanced understanding of what improvisation is, how it appears, and what it helps us to think about, socially, musically, and politically.  Contingent Encounters was shortlisted for the International Association for the Study of Popular Music Book Prize in 2023.

His second book, tentatively titled, Big Feelings: Feminism and Indie Rock After Riot Grrrl, explores bands like Soccer Mommy, Indigo De Souza, Jay Som, and Vagabon in order to ask questions about how (queer) feminist politics has shifted in indie rock since the 1990s. Big Feelings is under contract with the University of Michigan Press, and will appear as a part of their Tracking Pop series. Other writing has appeared in Jazz and Culture, Journal of Popular Music Studies, Critical Studies in Improvisation/Études critiques en improvisation, Rancière and Music (Edinburgh University Press), the Los Angeles Review of Books, Sounding Out!, the Cleveland Review of Books, boundary 2 online, and more. With Christine Capetola, Dan co-edited a special issue of the journal American Music Perspectives; featuring the work of graduate students and early career scholars, “Sound and Affect in Times of Crisis” was published in early 2023.

In 2022, Dan co-founded and currently co-chairs the Music and Sound Studies Working Group at the Cultural Studies Association. He also regularly presents research at conferences such as the International Association for the Study of Popular Music, the American Studies Association, the Pop Conference, and more. An award-winning teacher, Dan has taught interdisciplinary courses across the humanities. At UMKC, he teaches Jazz History, Popular Music Studies, Graduate Research Methods, and other courses on music's various roles in society. Prior to UMKC, Dan taught at Ithaca College, Miami University, and the Ohio State University, where he earned his PhD in the Department of Comparative Studies in 2019. He also holds degrees from the California Institute of the Arts (MA, MFA) and Capital University’s Conservatory (BM). His principal drum teachers are Joe La Barbera, Bob Breithaupt, and Bill Ransom.