Gwynne Kuhner Brown is a musicologist, pianist, and mbira player with a special passion for American concert music of the 20th century. Her doctoral dissertation on George Gershwin's masterpiece, Porgy and Bess, led her to an ongoing investigation of the African-American musicians who were Gershwin's inspirations and contemporaries, including Eva Jessye and Hall Johnson. She is presently writing a book on the life and works of William Dawson (1899-1990): famed director of the Tuskegee Institute Choir, creator of widely admired arrangements of religious folk songs such as "Ezekiel Saw de Wheel" and "Balm in Gilead," and composer of the unjustly obscure Negro Folk Symphony. She has presented her scholarship at national meetings of the American Musicological Society and the Society for American Music. Her writing has been published in the Journal for the Society of American Music and in Blackness in Opera (University of Illinois Press, 2012).
"Having received an outstanding liberal arts education at Puget Sound myself, it's a joy to return and work with the engaged and inquisitive students here. In classes for music majors and non-majors alike, I value an approach to music that includes a variety of perspectives, including the aesthetic, historical, cultural, social, and analytical."