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Alejandro L. Madrid


photo of Alejandro L. Madrid

Educational Background

  • Ph.D. Ohio State University



Alejandro L. Madrid is a cultural theorist whose historical, ethnographic, and critical work focuses on music and expressive culture from Latin America and Latinos in the United States, especially Mexico, the U.S.-Mexico border, and the Circum-Caribbean. Working at the intersection of musicology, ethnomusicology, and performance studies, Madrid’s work explores questions of transnationalism, diaspora, and migration; homophobia and constructions of masculinity; embodied culture; and historiography, narrative, and alternative ways of knowledge production in music from the mid nineteenth century to the beginning of the twenty-first century.

In 2017, Madrid received the Dent Medal, one of the most important recognitions in the field of music scholarship, given by the Royal Musical Association and the International Musicological Society for “outstanding contributions to musicology.” He is the only Ibero-American scholar who has received this prestigious honor since its inception in 1961. His work has also received the Mexico Humanities Book Award from the Latin American Studies Association (2016); the Béla Bartók Award from the ASCAP Foundation (2014); the Robert M. Stevenson (2016 y 2014) and Ruth A. Solie (2012) awards from the American Musicological Society; the Woody Guthrie Award from the International Association for the Study of Popular Music-Rama EEUU (2009); the Casa de las Américas Musicology Award (2005); and the Samuel Claro Valdés Musicology Award (2002), among other important recognitions.

His research has been funded by the American Council of Learned Societies, the Fulbright Commission, the Ford Foundation, and the Genaro Estrada Fellowship for Mexicanists from Mexico’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. His articles and reviews have been published in Boletín Música, Ethnomusicology, GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies, Heterofonía, Hispanic American Historical Review, Latin American Music Review, Popular Music, Popular Music and Society, Resonancias, Revista Argentina de Musicología, Sound Studies, and Trans. Revista Transcultural de Música. He was Senior Editor of Latino/a and Latin American entries for The Grove Dictionary of American Music (2nd edition) and currently serves as Editor of Oxford University Press’s award-winning series Currents in Latin American and Iberian Music and as co-editor of Cambridge University Press’s journal Twentieth-Century Music.

Madrid has published more than half a dozen books, including In Search of Julián Carrillo and Sonido 13 (Oxford University Press); Danzón. Circum-Caribbean Dialogues in Music and Dance (co-authored with Robin Moore, Oxford University Press); Nor-tec Rifa! Electronic Dance Music from Tijuana to the World (Oxford University Press); Los sonidos de la nación moderna. Música, cultura e ideas en el México post-revolucionario, 1920-1930 (Casa de las Américas); Sounds of the Modern Nation. Music, Culture and Ideas in Postrevolutionary Mexico (Temple University Press); and the textbook Music in Mexico. Experiencing Music, Expressing Culture (Oxford University Press). He is editor of Transnational Encounters. Music and Performance at the U.S.-Mexico Border (Oxford University Press) and co-editor of Experimentalisms in Practice. Music Perspectives from Latin America (with Ana Alonso-Minutti and Eduardo Herrera, Oxford University Press) and Postnational Musical Identities. Cultural Production, Distribution and Consumption in a Globalized Scenario (with Ignacio Corona, Lexington Books). He is currently working on a biography of Cuban-American composer Tania Léon; a book about homophobia, masculinities, and music in Mexican and Mexican-American popular culture; and a book about sound archives and forms of knowledge in relation to Latin America’s lettered city. He is also working in collaboration with the Momenta Quartet in the recording and edition of Julián Carrillo’s complete works for string quartet.

After receiving his Ph.D. in Musicology and Comparative Cultural Studies from the Ohio State University, Madrid has been a visiting researcher at El Colegio de la Frontera Norte-Tijuana and the Teresa Lozano Long Institute for Latin American Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. He has taught seminars as invited professor at Harvard University, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México; Centro de Investigación y Difusión de la Música Cubana; Universidad de la República in Uruguay; Universidad Nacional de Córdoba and Universidad Nacional de San Martín in Argentina; and the Newberry Library in Chicago. He has given the Bruno and Wanda Nettl Distinguished Ethnomusicology Lectureship at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the Gilbert Chase Memorial Music Lectureship at Tulane University. He has also presented numerous invited lectures, among others, at Brown University, Harvard University, Princeton University, Stanford University, UCLA, University of Chicago, University of Texas at Austin, and the University of Pennsylvania.

Since 2013, Alejandro L. Madrid is professor of musicology and ethnomusicology at Cornell University’s Department of Music. Before that he was in the faculty of the Latino and Latin American Studies program of the University of Illinois at Chicago, and was a visiting professor at Northwestern University and Texas A&M University. He is frequently invited as an expert commentator by national and international media outlets, including The Washington Post, Agence France-Presse, Public Radio International, and Radio Uruguay (SODRE). Recently, he acted as music advisor to acclaimed filmmaker Peter Greenaway, whose latest film, Eisenstein in Guanajuato, is set in early 1930s Mexico.


Ethnomusicology; Latin American and Latina/o music; performance studies; sound studies; transnationalism and globalization


  • American Studies Program
  • Latina/o Studies Program
  • Music

Graduate Fields

  • American Studies
  • Latino Studies
  • Music
  • Performing and Media Arts


  • Latin American Studies



Ph.D. Students Present their Research