Geoffrey Block, Distinguished Professor of Music History
Students who take courses from Professor Geoffrey Block know he has something substantive to teach them about the music they care about. “They know that I care deeply about their growth as listeners, writers, and thinkers and that I am willing to work hard to develop their potential.” Professor Block emphasizes the fundamental principles of music and its history, the premises behind why we study what we study, and the biographical, social, and philosophical ideas behind the music. “I try to make difficult and provocative ideas accessible and interesting, and I try to convey my sense of joy and enthusiasm for music.” Since he arrived at Puget Sound in 1980 Block has enjoyed teaching talented and motivated students attracted to a university which, unlike few institutions anywhere, offers a rigorous School of Music education within a varied liberal arts context. Professor Block earned a PhD and an MA from Harvard University and a BA from UCLA. He was a Fulbright Fellow at the University of Bonn and has received a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship. In 2008 he earned the title of Distinguished Professor. Block is the author of Charles Ives: A Bio-Bibliography (Greenwood, 1988), Ives: “Concord” Sonata (Cambridge University Press, 1996), Enchanted Evenings: The Broadway Musical from “Show Boat” to Sondheim (Oxford University Press, 1997), a co-editor and contributor to Charles Ives and the Classical Tradition (Yale University Press, 1996), the editor of The Richard Rodgers Reader (Oxford University Press, 2002), and the composer of four musicals. He has also published articles and reviews on Mozart, Beethoven, Ives, jazz, and the Broadway musical in numerous essay collections, journals, and dictionaries (including more than a dozen articles in the New Grove Dictionary 2000 and the forthcoming New Grove Dictionary of American Music II). He is the author of Richard Rodgers (Yale University Press, 2003), the inaugural volume in a seven-volume series for which Block serves as General Editor, and Series Editor of a new series launched in 2010 by Oxford University Press called Broadway Legacies. Block was the consultant and appeared on camera in the PBS documentary Richard Rodgers: The Sweetest Sounds and the nationally syndicated documentary Heart & Soul: The Life and Music of Frank Loesser. He has also appeared on national and international radio programs over National Public Radio, the British Broadcasting Corporation (including a BBC-4 broadcast on South Pacific hosted by Adrian Edwards) , the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, and in numerous newspaper interviews, including the Chicago Sun Times, Baltimore Sun, Christian Science Monitor, and Dallas Morning News. His most recent book, published in 2009, was a second and expanded edition of Enchanted Evenings with the expanded title, Enchanted Evenings: The Broadway Musical from “Show Boat” to Sondheim and Lloyd Webber.