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Christoph Neidhöfer

Academic title(s): 

Associate Professor

Music Research
Contact Information
Email address: 
christoph [dot] neidhofer [at] mcgill [dot] ca
Music Composition
Music Theory

Christoph Neidhöfer is Associate Professor at McGill University, Schulich School of Music, where he has been teaching since 1999. He holds diplomas in Composition, Music Theory, and Piano from the Musikhochschule Basel, where his principal teachers were Rudolf Kelterborn (Composition), Roland Moser (Theory), and Jean-Jacques Dünki (Piano), and a PhD in Music Theory from Harvard University, where he worked with David Lewin and wrote a dissertation on the early serial music of Igor Stravinsky. At Harvard he also studied with composers Donald Martino and Bernard Rands.

Christoph Neidhöfer’s research, which has been supported by grants from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and the Paul Sacher Foundation Basel, as well as by a fellowship from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, focuses on 20th/21st-century music, post-tonal theory, sketch studies, aesthetics of serialism, and eighteenth-century counterpoint. He has twice been a Fellow at the Mannes Institute for Advanced Studies in Music Theory (Transformational Theory, 2003; Schoenberg, 2007). In 2000 he served on the composition faculty and in 2012 and 2014 on the theory faculty at the Darmstadt International Summer Courses for New Music, where he co-taught the colloquium “Aesthetics, Analysis & Theory” with Ulrich Mosch and Yuval Shaked. As a composer, Neidhöfer won first prize at the Besançon Orchestral Composition Competition (1994) and the Akiyoshidai Composition Award (1997), and as a duo pianist with Anton Vishio the Kranichstein Music Prize Darmstadt (1994). He served as book reviews editor for the journal of the Society for Music Theory, Music Theory Spectrum (Nov. 2010 – Nov. 2013), and is currently a Member-at-Large on the society’s Executive Board. He also serves on the editorial board of the journal Intégral and is a member of the Scientific Committee of the Centro Studi Luciano Berio. At McGill, he served as Chair of the Department of Music Research from Fall 2012 to Summer 2015.

Christoph Neidhöfer has given guest lectures and workshops in Europe and North America, more recent events including the keynote address at the Annual Meeting of the West Coast Conference of Music Theory and Analysis, University of Utah (2014), and the 2nd Zurich Master Class for Music Theory, Zurich University of the Arts (2015). At McGill, he teaches courses in 20th/21st-century theory and analysis, mathematical models for musical analysis, nineteenth-century analysis, Baroque counterpoint, composition, as well as graduate seminars in music theory.

Graduate seminars taught:

“The Late Music of Igor Stravinsky,” “Symphonies after Beethoven,” “The Music of Olivier Messiaen,” “The Poetics of Italian Serialism 1935-1960,” “Compositional Process in Selected Twentieth-Century Chamber Music,” “Paths to Twelve-Tone Composition,” “Darmstadt und der italienische Serialismus: Luciano Berio, Bruno Maderna, Luigi Nono” (Humboldt-Universität, Berlin, 2009), “Integral Serialism: Aesthetics and Techniques,” “Chance and Indeterminacy in Music,” “The Music of Anton Webern in Context,” “Expression and Meaning in the Music of the Darmstadt Avant-garde 1946-1965,” “Music and Politics: Analytical Case Studies from the Eighteenth through Twenty-First Centuries.”


Selected publications: 

Forthcoming publications
“Improvvisazioni Concertanti No. 1 (1961) by Norma Beecroft: Serialism, Improvisatory Discourse, and the Musical Avant-garde,” in Analytical Essays on Music by Women Composers, edited by Laurel Parsons and Brenda Ravenscroft (New York: Oxford University Press).

“Arnold Schoenberg and the Early Serial Music of Bruno Maderna,” Quaderni di Musica/Realtà.

“Berio Analyzes Webern: A Window into Luciano Berio’s ‘Poetics of Analysis,’” in Anton Webern und das Komponieren im 20. Jahrhundert (Webern-Studien), edited by Pietro Cavallotti and Rainer Schmusch (Vienna: Lafite).

“Zwölftontechnik” [post-1945], encyclopedia entry in Lexikon neue Musik, edited by Jörn Peter Hiekel and Christian Utz (J. B. Metzler / Bärenreiter).

Christoph Neidhöfer and Peter Schubert, “Form and Serial Function in Trois Poèmes de Pierre Reverdy op. 92 by René Leibowitz,” in Formal Functions in Perspective, edited by Julie Pedneault, Nathan Martin, und Steven Vande Moortele (Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press).

Journal articles
“Inside Luciano Berio’s Serialism,” Music Analysis 28:2-3 (2009 [2011]), 301-48.

“Energetik und Form: Analytische Reflexionen über Rudolf Kelterborns Four Pieces for Four Players (2005)” [Analyzing Energetics and Form: Reflections on Four Pieces for Four Players (2005) by Rudolf Kelterborn], Dissonance 115 (2011), 18-31.

"Atonalität und transformational analysis: Zu einigen verborgenen (und nicht so verborgenen) Strukturen in Schönberg’s Klavierstück op. 11, 3" [Atonality and Transformational Analysis: On Some Hidden (and Not So Hidden) Structures in Schoenberg’s Klavierstück op. 11, 3], Jahrbuch des Staatlichen Instituts für Musikforschung 2008/2009 (Berlin), 53-73.

"Bruno Maderna’s Serial Arrays," Music Theory Online 13:1 (2007).

"’Blues’ through the Serial Lens: Transformational Process in a Fragment by Bruno Maderna," Mitteilungen der Paul Sacher Stiftung 18 (2005), 14-20.

"A Theory of Harmony and Voice Leading for the Music of Olivier Messiaen," Music Theory Spectrum 27:1 (2005), 1-34.

"Bruno Madernas flexibler Materialbegriff – eine Analyse des Divertimento in due tempi (1953)" [Bruno Maderna’s Flexible Notion of the Material – An Analysis of the Divertimento in due tempi (1953)], Musik & Ästhetik 9:33 (2005), 30-47.

"Musiktheorie als exakte Wissenschaft: Milton Babbitts Modell einer ‘scientific method’ zur Formulierung musikalischer Konzepte" [Music Theory as Exact Science: Milton Babbitt’s Model of a ‘Scientific Method" for the Formulation of Musical Concepts], Zeitschrift der Gesellschaft für Musiktheorie 2:2 (2005), 11-19.

"Set Theory," Zeitschrift der Gesellschaft für Musiktheorie 2:2 (2005), 219-27.

"Twelve-Tone Theory," Zeitschrift der Gesellschaft für Musiktheorie 2:2 (2005), 207-17.

"A Case of Cross-Fertilization: Serial and Non-Serial Counterpoint in Stravinsky’s Cantata (1951-52)," Tijdschrift voor Muziektheorie 9:2 (May 2004), 87-104.

Peter Schubert and Christoph Neidhöfer, Baroque Counterpoint (Upper Saddle River, N. J.: Prentice-Hall, 2006).

Articles/chapters in books and monographs
“Messiaen’s Counterpoint,” in Messiaen Perspectives 2: Techniques, Influence and Reception, edited by Christopher Dingle and Robert Fallon (Farnham: Ashgate, 2013), 77-110.

“Berio at Work: Compositional Procedures in Circles, O King, Concerto for Two Pianos, Glossa, and Notturno,” in Luciano Berio: Nuove Prospettive / New Perspectives, edited by Angela Ida De Benedictis (Florence: Leo S. Olschki, 2012), 195-233.

"Vers un principe commun: Intégration de la hauteur et du rythme dans le Quartetto per archi in due tempi (1955)" [Toward One Common Principle: Integration of Pitch and Rhythm in the Quartetto per archi in due tempi (1955)], in À Bruno Maderna, vol. 2, edited by Geneviève Mathon, Laurent Feneyrou, and Giordano Ferrari (Paris: Basalte, 2009), 323-58.

“Analyse und kompositorische Praxis: einige Betrachtungen” [Analysis and Compositional Practice: Some Considerations], in Musiktheorie an ihren Grenzen: Neue und Alte Musik, edited by Angelika Moths, Markus Jans, John MacKeown, and Balz Trümpy (Bern: Peter Lang, 2009), 127-40.

"Zeitgenössische Musik und ihre Etikettierung: Einige Betrachtungen" [Contemporary Music and its Categories: Some Considerations], in Hörgeschichten: Neue Musik ganz schön vielseitig, edited by Martin Schüssler (Basel: Opinio Verlag, 2001), 183-200.

"Beobachtungen zum Tempo bei John Cage vor 1950" [Observations on Tempo in John Cage's Music before 1950], in Der Grad der Bewegung: Tempovorstellungen und –konzepte in Komposition und Interpretation 1900-1950, edited by Jean-Jacques Dünki, Anton Haefeli, and Regula Rapp (Bern: Peter Lang, 1998), 87-111.

Review of Stravinsky's Late Music by Joseph N. Straus (Cambridge University Press 2001), Music Theory Spectrum 27:2 (2005), 336-53.