Simon Cohen

Job title: 

I am a musicologist whose research focuses on French cultural history in the middle of the nineteenth century. I am interested in how music mediates and how it is mediated—its role in facilitating intimate social networks, colonial dispersion, and assertions of political power. 

My previous projects have considered Rossini and salon culture in Second Empire Paris and the relationship between economics and aesthetics in music publishing. In my present ongoing research, I am exploring transmission and circulation of patriotic songs, anthems, and marches in France and abroad under the Second Empire, examining this music’s deployment in public celebrations and commercial markets. Like much of my work, this project proceeds from a curiosity about music that was at the center of cultural and political life, but seems to resist absorption into contemporary aesthetic categories.

In a secondary domain, I have researched the institutional history of classical music in Philadelphia in the 1950s–70s, particularly the patronage and administration of the Philadelphia Orchestra’s summer season.

I am a regular contributor of concert reviews to San Francisco Classical Voice and I previously hosted radio programs and artist interviews on WKCR-FM.

Education: MPhil in music, King’s College, University of Cambridge (2022)

BA in music, Columbia University (2021)