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William Weber, Ph.D.

I’ve enjoyed retirement enormously, traveling a lot and publishing on research topics. I’m still on the Editorial Board of The History Teacher, and the May 2012 included a piece where I trace the history of the journal as part of the movement to reform history education active since the 1960s. My main research has been the social history of music in the 18th & 19th centuries, taking me to nice places for talks—Paris, Berlin, Uppsala, Princeton, and Yale, for example. Linda Clark, my wife, being an historian of France1, we spend time enjoying Paris and seeing colleagues there. Right now I’m developing a collaborative book asking why opera repertoires got much older in the nineteenth century, in ways different from concert classics. And it’s so nice to chat with people in the history department about how they teach in challenging ways and have been publishing a lot of good stuff .The teacher preparation program continues to exercise national leadership.

Recent Presentations

 2013 Paris, Francophone Music Colloque: “Les progrès de la musique as a mentalité in musical culture, 1770-1870“.
2013 Paris, Seminar on Music Sociology: “Habitus and Eclecticism in French Musical Taste, 1850-1914”
2013 Berlin, Max Planck Institute for Human Development: “New music versus old in the fragmented state of concert programming, 1900-1914”
2012 Berlin, University of Potsdam: “The Art of Listening”
2013 Yale University, Conference on Music & Commercialism: “Negotiating repertoire, public demand, and artistic ideals at the Paris Opéra in the 1820s”
2012 Princeton, Seminar on Arts & Public Policy: “When did Opera Canons Arise?”
2011 Uppsala University, Sweden: “The Rise of the Popular Song” and “The Canonization of Wagner in Parisian Concerts”
2011 University of Rouen, Southampton University & Durham University: “The Canonization of Wagner in Parisian Concerts”

Research Interests

My writing about music and society has ended up closely involved with the field of musicology. I helped Bob Judd, Executive Director of the American Musicological Society, put together a panel on “The Challenge of Studying Music & History Together” for the 2014 meeting of the American Historical Association. Presently I am working with a Francophone network studying 19th-century music criticism and with a set of French and American sociologists of music who are rethinking the ideas of Pierre Bourdieu. Cormac Newark of the University of Ulster is working with me in developing collaborative book on opera and canon since the early 18th century. I continue to serve on doctoral committees, now a total of thirteen, including Yale, Brown, University of California, Davis, and University of Paris IV, Sorbonne.

Selected Publications

“Habitus, Eclecticism, and Legitimation in the Musical Life of late 19th-century Paris,” in progress
“Richard Wagner, Concert Life, and Musical Canon in Paris, 1860-1914,” in progress
The Great Transformation of Musical Taste: Concert Programming from Haydn to Brahms, Cambridge University Press, 2008. Comment on it by Alex Ross in “Why so serious?” New Yorker, 8 September 2008.
The Musician as Entrepreneur, 1700-1914: Managers, Charlatans and Idealists, which I edited for Indiana University Press, 2004, originally a conference at the William Andrews Clark Library, UCLA, in 2001.
Music and the Middle Class: The Social Structure of Concert Life in London, Paris and Vienna, 1830-48, Croom Helm, London, 1975;2nd edition, Ashgate Press, 2004 “The Opéra and Opéra-Comique in the Nineteenth Century: Tracing the Age of Repertoire,” in L’Opéra de Paris, la Comédie-Française et l’Opéra-Comique; Approches compares, eds. Sabine Chaouche, Denis Herlin and Solveig Serre (2012), 145-58.
“The Concert Agent and the Social Transformation of Concert Life,” in Organisateurs et formes d’organisation du concert en Europe, 1700-1920, Hans-Erich-Bödeker, Patrice Veit and Michael Werner, eds. (Berlin: Berliner Wissenschafts-Verlag, 2008), pp. 83-97.
“Survival versus Canon in the History of Ancient Music,” papers of 2003 UCLA Conference, The Age of Projects: Retrieving the Past, ed. Maximillian Novak, 2008.
“Redefining the Status of Opera: London and Leipzig, 1800-1848,” Journal of Interdisciplinary History, 46 (2006), 507-532.
“Consequences of Canon: Institutionalization of Enmity between Contemporary and Classical Music, c. 1910,” Common Knowledge, 9 (2003), 78-99.
“The History of Musical Canons,” Rethinking Music, eds. Mark Everist and Nicholas Cook, Oxford University Press, 1999, pp. 340-59.
“Did People Listen in the Eighteenth Century?” Early Music, 25 (1997), 678-91 (special issue, “Listening Practice”).
“L’Institution et son public: l’opéra à Paris et à Londres au XVIIIe siècle,” Annales E.S.C., 48/6 (1993), 1519-40.
“Mentalité, tradition, et origines du canon musical en France et en Angleterre au XVIIIe siècle,”Annales E.S.C., 42 (1989), 849-75.
La musique ancienne in the Waning of the Ancien Régime,” Journal of Modern History, 56 (1984), 58-88.
“Learned and General Musical Taste in Eighteenth-Century France,” Past and Present, no. 89 (1980), pp. 58-85.
Please click here to view Dr. Weber’s curriculum vitae.


Professor Emeritus
BA, Harvard College (History)
PhD, University of Chicago (History)
Contact Information:
California State University, Long Beach
1250 Bellflower Blvd., MS 1601
Long Beach, CA 90840-1601