Stephen Rodgers is professor of music theory and musicianship at the University of Oregon. Prior to coming to Oregon, he taught aural skills at his alma mater, Lawrence University, where he received his B.A. in Music and English. He also taught music theory at Yale University, where he completed his Ph.D. in 2005, with the help of a Mellon Fellowship in Humanistic Studies.
Rodgers writes about the relationship between music and poetry, focusing especially the songs of nineteenth-century composers such as Franz Schubert, Fanny Hensel, Felix Mendelssohn, Robert Schumann, and Clara Schumann. Several of his publications consider how composers respond to the semantic and structural aspects of poetry—in short, what poems mean and how they are shaped. Others explore how composers respond to the “musical” aspects of poetry—the vowels and consonants that give poems their intonational shape.
He is also committed to exploring understudied repertoires of song, particularly those of women composers. He has published several articles on the songs of Fanny Hensel and edited a collection of essays, The Songs of Fanny Hensel, which is forthcoming from Oxford University Press. He is currently writing a book about the songs of Clara Schumann.
In July 2019, Rodgers was one of ten University of Oregon faculty members to receive an inaugural Presidential Fellowship in Humanistic Studies. The fellowship will support his work on another book project, Song and the Music of Poetry.
Rodgers’s work extends beyond academia as well. He regularly gives pre-concert lectures for the Oregon Bach Festival and other performing arts organizations in and around Eugene. He wrote a one-hour episode about song in the 1830s and 40s for Thomas Hampson’s radio series Song: Mirror of the World. And he is active as a tenor, having performed several lecture-recitals throughout the United States.
- The Songs of Fanny Hensel, Oxford University Press, forthcoming.
- “Musical and Poetic Closure in Clara Schumann’s Lieder.” In Clara Schumann Studies, ed. Joe Davies. Cambridge University Press, forthcoming.
- “Fanny Hensel’s Sechs Lieder op. 9: A Brother’s Elegy.” In Rethinking Mendelssohn, ed. Benedict Taylor. Oxford University Press, forthcoming.
- “Fanny Hensel’s Schematic Fantasies; Or, The Art of Beginning.” In Analytical Essays on Music by Women Composers, ed. Laurel Parsons and Brenda Ravenscroft, 149–73. Oxford University Press, 2018.
- “Music, Poetry, and Performance in a Song by Maria Schneider.” SMT-V: Videocast Journal of the Society for Music Theory 3/3 (December 2017).
- “Recomposing Two Musical Settings of Goethe’s ‘Ein Gleiches’ in Romantic Style.” Collateral: Online Journal for Cross-Cultural Close Reading (October 2017).
- “Schubert’s Idyllic Periods.” Music Theory Spectrum 39/2 (Fall 2017): 223–46.
- “Song and the Music of Poetry.” Music Analysis 36/3 (October 2017): 315–49.
- “‘Wo sind sie hingegangen?’: Hidden Melodies and Schubert’s ‘Greisengesang.’” Music Theory and Analysis 4/2 (October 2017): 271–82.
- “The Fourth Dimension of a Song.” Music Theory Spectrum 37/1 (Spring 2015): 144–53.
- “Sentences with Words: Text and Theme-Type in Die schöne Müllerin.” Music Theory Spectrum 36/1 (Spring 2014): 58–85.
- “Fanny Hensel’s Lied Aesthetic.” Journal of Musicological Research 30/3 (2011): 175–201.
- “Thinking (and Singing) in Threes: Triple Hypermeter and the Songs of Fanny Hensel.” Music Theory Online 17/1 (April 2011).