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Jennifer Walker

Jennifer Walker

Assistant Professor | Musicology
School of Music

Jennifer Walker (Ph.D., Musicology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) is an assistant professor of musicology in the School of Music at West Virginia University. A scholar of French music during the late nineteenth century, her research reevaluates music’s role in the relationship between the French state and the Catholic church at the end of the nineteenth century by offering an alternative to the prevailing epistemological emphasis on divisions between the church and the secular Third Republic. More broadly, her research focuses on the intersections of music, politics, and religion in secular societies. Dr. Walker is also actively researching projects related to gender, opera, and critical reception.

Dr. Walker’s book Sacred Sounds, Secular Spaces: Transformations of Catholicism in the Music of Third Republic Paris (AMS Studies in Music/ Oxford University Press, 2021) was the 2022 winner of the American Musicological Society’s H. Robert Cohen/RIPM Award for an outstanding scholarly work on the musical press. She is the author of numerous other articles and book chapters, including a forthcoming book chapter on Gabriel Faure and Republican musical aesthetics in the volume Gabriel Fauré: Influences and Influence (ed. James Sobaskie, forthcoming, Boydell and Brewer), the article “Church, State, and an Operatic Outlaw: Jules Massenet’s Hérodiade” (Cambridge Opera Journal, 2019) and “Les grands oratorios à l’église Saint-Eustache” (Journal of Music Criticism, 2019). Recent book chapters include “Les Drames sacrés and Sacred Drama: Armand Silvestre, Eugène Morand, and Charles Gounod on the Neo-Christian Stage” (La musique religieuse en France au XIXe siècle, ed. Nicolas Dufetel, Brepols, 2021) and “Biblical Boulevards: Sounding the Ralliement on Parisian Popular Stages (Sacred and Secular Intersections in the Long Nineteenth Century, ed. Markus Rathey and Eftychia Papanikolaou, Lexington Books, 2022). She has reviewed the volumes Musical Theater in Europe 1830–1945 (ed. Michela Niccolai and Clair Rowden; Brepols: 2017), The Many Faces of Camille Saint-Saëns (ed. Michael Stegemann, Brepols: 2018), Saint-Saëns and the Stage (Hugh Macdonald, Cambridge, 2019), and Musiques et pratiques religieuses en France au XIXe siècle (ed. Fanny Gribenski and Amelié Porret-Dubreuil, 2022) Dr. Walker has written essays for the BBC Proms and the Bard Music Festival, and her work on Berlioz has been translated into French. She is currently preparing a monograph on Hector Berlioz’s Requiem (forthcoming, Oxford University Press) and is the co-editor with Mark Everist of the volume Gender, Sexuality, and Eroticism on the Lyric Stage (forthcoming, Brepols).

In addition to pursuing an active research program, Dr. Walker is a former Editorial Assistant for the Journal of the American Musicological Society. She serves on numerous committees of the AMS, on the Editorial Board for the Music Criticism Network, and is an honorary member of the Centro Studi Opera Omnia Luigi Boccherini (Lucca, Italy). She has been a WVU Honors Faculty Fellow (2021–22), a WVU Humanities Center Fellow (2023–24), and is a recipient of a fellowship from the West Virginia Humanities Council. She also received the College of Creative Arts Outstanding Faculty Research and Creative Activity Award in 2023. Walker is also an active member of the France: Musiques, Cultures, 1789–1914 network and is the President of the Allegheny Chapter of the American Musicological Society. Prior to coming to WVU, Walker was a Visiting Professor at North Carolina Central University and was an adjunct professor at East Tennessee State University and Hopkinsville Community College.