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Karen Painter

Visiting Scholar 2014-2015


Karen Painter

Karen Painter is an Associate Professor at the School of Music at the University of Minnesota and a Faculty Associate in Jewish Studies. Previously, she taught at Dartmouth College and at Harvard. Painter has long ties with the Center, where she was a faculty affiliate for many years and co-chaired a study group with Alexander Steinbeis called “Performance, Design and Publics in the New Europe.” She holds a Ph.D. in Music from Columbia University. Painter writes on the history of musical listening, especially in the context of aesthetics, ideology and social history. The framework for her research has involved early bourgeois musical culture, fin-de-siècle cultural debates, the World Wars, Austro-German socialism, and Nazism.

As a Visiting Scholar of the Center, Painter will embark on a book project examining the origins and resilience of Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana for Oxford University Press’ new series, Keynotes. While Carmina Burana is said to be the most performed work in the classical repertoire — from the Third Rich to its Israeli premiere in 1966 to numerous film scores and, most recently, in political protests in Turkey— Painter argues that the work has often been overlooked by musical scholars due to its simplicity. Her project will review the cultural context of Carmina Burana and its political life in the Third Reich.

This information is accurate for the time period that the scholar is affiliated with CES.


  • Associate Professor of Music, University of Minnesota