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Gentry is a musicologist specializing in the history of music in the United
States during the 20th century, both popular and classical. He is
particularly interested in theoretical questions of history, identity and
politics. His book What Will I Be: American Music and Cold
War Identity (Oxford University Press, 2017) traced the changing
relationship between music and identity in music of the 1950s, from doo-wop to
John Cage. He has also published an article on Leonard Bernstein’s second
symphony and a review essay of the musical Hamilton. He is currently
writing a new book on 20th- and 21-century performances of early
American history, analyzing how these creative historiographic practices inform
contemporary political culture.
Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, Dr. Gentry taught at the College of
William & Mary before coming to the University of Delaware. At
Delaware he teaches the music history sequence for undergraduates; graduate
seminars in research methods and various special topics; literature surveys of
symphonic and chamber repertoires, and general interest courses on soul,
hip-hop and LGBTQ musical history. He has also served a term as an at-large
member of the national council of the American Musicological Society, and
two terms as president of the society’s mid-Atlantic chapter.
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