Neal Zaslaw

Herbert Gussman Professor of Music Emeritus

Summary

Neal Zaslaw has taught at Cornell since 1970, where he continues to expound the history of Western music from the 9th to the 21st century. He is the author of more than seventy-five articles on baroque music, historical performance practices, Mozart, and the history of the orchestra. His books include Köchel-Verzeichnis: Thematisches Verzeichnis der musikalischen Werke von W. A. Mozart, begründet von Ludwig Ritter von Köchel (Neuausgabe 2023); (with John Spitzer) The Birth of the Orchestra: History of an Institution, 1650-1815 (2004); Mozart’s Piano Concertos: Text, Context, Interpretation (1996); The Mozart Repertory: A Guide for Musicians, Programmers and Researchers (1991); W. A. Mozart: Portfolio of a Genius (1991); The Compleat Mozart: A Guide to the Musical Works of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1990); Mozart’s Symphonies: Context, Performance Practice, Reception (1989); and The Classical Era from the 1740s to the End of the 18th Century (1989).

Zaslaw began his musical career in the 1960s as a flutist in Leopold Stokowski’s American Symphony Orchestra. Between 1978 and 1982 he supervised recordings of all of Mozart’s symphonies by Jaap Schroeder, Christopher Hogwood, and the Academy of Ancient Music. Time called the results “one of the most important projects in the history of recorded sound.” A decade later he was dubbed “Mr. Mozart” by the New York Times for organizing the 1991-92 Mozart Bicentennial at Lincoln Center, which staged performances of all of Mozart’s works.

In addition to hundreds of radio and television broadcasts in a dozen countries, Zaslaw has lectured at more than sixty universities, colleges, museums, and performing arts centers on four continents. His writings have been translated into French, German, Italian, Spanish, Polish, and Japanese. He has served as vice-president of the American Musicological Society and is the recipient of research grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the Martha Baird Rockefeller Fund for Music. In 1991 the Austrian government knighted him for his contributions to Mozart performance and research. He has been elected to the Akademie für Mozart-Forschung of the Mozarteum (Salzburg) and of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, and named honorary member of the American Musicological Society, the Mozart Society of America, and the Society for Eighteenth-Century Music.

Research Focus

  • 17th- and 18th-century music
  • Historical performance practice
  • Mozart
  • History of the orchestra

Publications

  • Köchel-Verzeichnis: Thematisches Verzeichnis der musikalischen Werke von W. A. Mozart, begründet von Ludwig Ritter von Köchel (Neuausgabe 2023)
  • (with John Spitzer) The Birth of the Orchestra: History of an Institution, 1650-1815. (2004)
  • Mozart's Piano Concertos: Text, Context, Interpretation (1996)
  • The Mozart Repertory: A Guide for Musicians, Programmers and Researchers (1991)
  • W. A. Mozart: Portfolio of a Genius (1991)
  • The Compleat Mozart: A Guide to the Musical Works of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1990)
  • Mozart's Symphonies: Context, Performance Practice, Reception (1989)
  • The Classical Era from the 1740s to the End of the 18th Century (1989)
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