Faculty | Musicology
John and Rebecca Moores Professor of Music
Howard Pollack holds a Bachelor of Music degree in music history from the University of Michigan and a Master of Arts degree and Ph.D. in musicology from Cornell University. He has taught at the University of Houston since 1987.
Pollack has published widely in the field of American music, including six books: Walter Piston (1982); Harvard Composers: Walter Piston and his Students, from Elliott Carter to Frederic Rzewski (1992); John Alden Carpenter: A Chicago Composer (1995); Aaron Copland: The Life and Work of an Uncommon Man (1999); George Gershwin: His Life and Work (2006); and soon-to-be released, Marc Blitzstein: His Life, His Work, His World (2012). He also co-edited German Literature and Music: An Aesthetic Fusion (1890-1989) (1992).
Described by the New York Times as "the definitive study of Aaron Copland's life and work, no doubt for a long time to come," Copland received the Irving Lowens Award from the Society for American Music and a Deems Taylor Award from ASCAP. George Gershwin, which received a Deems Taylor Award and an Award for Excellence in Historical Recorded Sound Research from the Association for Recorded Sound Collections, has been called "a watershed event in scholarship on the composer" and "a monument to all that we presently know about Gershwin as both man and musician" (Journal of the Society for American Music) as well as "endlessly fascinating" (New York Times) and "a gripping read" (Charleston News and Courier), with "some of the best musical analysis you're likely to find anywhere" (Toronto Globe and Mail). Pollack's other awards include two Fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, a Research Grant from the Kurt Weill Foundation for Music, a Newberry Library Fellowship, a Research Excellence Award from the University of Houston, and subvention grants from the Lloyd Hibberd Publication Endowment Fund and the Dragan Plamenac Publication Endowment Fund of the American Musicological Society and the H. Earle Johnson Publication Fund of the Society for American Music.
Pollack's articles and reviews have appeared in numerous journals and encylopedias. He also has lectured at colleges and arts organizations in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, the Czech Republic, England, Germany, Mexico, and across the United States, and has appeared in film documentaries and on such American radio shows as Morning Edition, All Things Considered, the Voice of America, and Fresh Air as well as on British, Australian, and New Zealand radio.
At the University of Houston, Pollack regularly teaches the final portion of the undergraduate music history survey, Music History III (1890-present), and the Doctoral Research Seminar as well as electives in 20th-century music, keyboard literature, film music, musical theater, and such special topics as Stravinsky, Ives, Prokofiev and Shostakovich, and the American symphony.