Christoph Neidhöfer

Academic title(s): 

Associate Professor, Area Coordinator

Christoph Neidhöfer
Music Research
Music Composition
Music Theory
Contact Information
514-398-4400 ext. 00280
Email address: 
christoph.neidhofer [at]
Area Coordinator

Christoph Neidhöfer is Associate Professor in the Department of Music Research at McGill University, Schulich School of Music. He studied at the Musikhochschule Basel, where he earned diplomas in composition, music theory, and piano performance, and at Harvard University, where he received his PhD in music theory with a dissertation on the early serial music of Igor Stravinsky.

Neidhöfer’s research focuses on the analysis of music from the twentieth and twenty-first century from music-theoretical and historical perspectives. Much of his work is informed by archival sources that document the compositional processes, which he examines in their aesthetic, political, and cultural contexts. Neidhöfer’s research 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.

Neidhöfer served on the composition faculty (2000) and theory faculty (2012, 2014) at the Darmstadt International Summer Courses for New Music, where he co-taught the colloquium “Aesthetics, Analysis & Theory” with Ulrich Mosch and Yuval Shaked. Neidhöfer was twice a Fellow at the Mannes Institute for Advanced Studies in Music Theory (Transformational Theory; Schoenberg). As a composer, he was awarded first prize at the Besançon Orchestral Composition Competition (1994) and the Akiyoshidai Composition Award (1997), and as a duo pianist with Anton Vishio he received the Kranichstein Music Prize Darmstadt (1994). Neidhöfer has given guest lectures and workshops in North America, Europe, and Japan; recent engagements include the keynote address at the Annual Meeting of the West Coast Conference of Music Theory and Analysis (University of Utah, 2014), the 2nd Zurich Master Class for Music Theory (Zurich University of the Arts, 2015), a series of three lectures at the Università di Pavia (2016), and talks on colloquium series at the University of Pennsylvania (2016) and The Pennsylvania State University (2019). Together with Gianmario Borio and Pascal Decroupet, Neidhöfer is currently coordinating the research project “New Concepts of Harmony in Musical Composition 1945-1975” at the Fondazione Giorgio Cini in Venice.

For the Society for Music Theory Neidhöfer has served as book reviews editor for Music Theory Spectrum, member-at-large on the Executive Board, member of the Publications Award Committee and Program Committee, and as local arrangements chair for the 2009 meeting in Montreal. He is currently a member of the editorial boards of Intégral and Music Theory Spectrum, the advisory board of Archival Notes, and the Scientific Committee of the Centro Studi Luciano Berio. At McGill, he served as Chair of the Department of Music Research 2012-2015. Neidhöfer teaches courses in 20th/21st-century theory and analysis, mathematical models for musical analysis, modal and tonal counterpoint, composition, as well as graduate seminars in music theory. Recent graduate seminar topics include “Music and Political Engagement,” “Chance and Indeterminacy in Music,” “Analyzing the Writings of Composers,” and “The Music-Analytical Writings of Adorno.” In 2017 Neidhöfer received the Schulich School of Music Teaching Award.

Selected publications: 

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

Journal articles
“Experiencing Time in Brian Cherney’s String Quartet No. 4 (1994),” Intersections 37:1 (2017 [2019]), 119-42.

“Character and Form by Way of Integral Serialism: An Analysis of Fantasia concertante (1957) by Camillo Togni,” Archival Notes 3 (2018), 47-79.

Angela Ida De Benedictis and Christoph Neidhöfer, “Luigi Dallapiccola, Massimo Mila, and the Journey of a Manuscript: An Analysis of Tre poemi (1949) in Context,” Contemporary Music Review 36:5 (2017 [2018]), 440-81.

“Energetik und Form: Analytische Reflexionen über Rudolf Kelterborns Four Pieces for Four Players (2005)” [Energetics and Form: Analytical Reflections on Four Pieces for Four Players (2005) by Rudolf Kelterborn], Dissonance 115 (2011), 18-31. Reprint in: Rudolf Kelterborn, Hier und Jetzt: Reflexionen und Gespräche zur kompositorischen Gestaltung, edited by Michael Kunkel (Friedberg: Pfau, 2016), 55-74.

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

“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, no. 3], Jahrbuch des Staatlichen Instituts für Musikforschung Preußischer Kulturbesitz 2008/2009, 53-73.

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

“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.

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

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

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

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

“Milton Babbitt – Composer and Theorist,” Dissonanz (Neue Schweizerische Musikzeitschrift) 54 (1997), 4-11.

Book chapters
“‘La révolution dans la continuité’: The Presence of the Past in Bruno Maderna’s Creative Process (1948-1955),” in Utopia, Innovation, Tradition: Bruno Maderna’s Cosmos, edited by Angela Ida De Benedictis (Basel: Publications of the Paul Sacher Foundation), forthcoming.

“Berio Analyzes Webern: A Window into Luciano Berio’s ‘Poetics of Analysis,’” in Neue Perspektiven. Anton Webern und das Komponieren im 20. Jahrhundert (Webern-Studien, Beihefte der Anton Webern Gesamtausgabe, vol. 4), edited by Pietro Cavallotti, Simon Obert, and Rainer Schmusch (Vienna: Lafite, 2019), 195-229.

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, 2016), 33-66.

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, and Steven Vande Moortele (Rochester NY: University of Rochester Press, 2015), 373-410.

“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)” (trans. Delphine Iacono), 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 Labels: 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.

Kurth, Ernst. Music Psychology. Translated by Daphne Tan and Christoph Neidhöfer, edited by Daphne Tan. Classic European Studies in the Science of Music (London and New York: Routledge, 2022).

Encyclopedia and handbook entries
“Post-Tonal Theory 1: Zwölftontheorie und Set Theory,” in Handbuch Musikanalyse. Methode und Pluralität, edited by Ariane Jeßulat, Oliver Schwab-Felisch, Jan Philipp Sprick, and Christian Thorau (Stuttgart and Kassel: J. B. Metzler / Bärenreiter), forthcoming.

Agon,” “Cantata,” “In Memoriam Dylan Thomas,” “Movements,” “Requiem Canticles,” “Septet,” “Three Songs From William Shakespeare,” in The Cambridge Stravinsky Encyclopedia, edited by Edward Campbell and Peter O’Hagan (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2021).

“Zwölftontechnik,” in Lexikon neue Musik, edited by Jörn Peter Hiekel and Christian Utz (Stuttgart and Kassel: J. B. Metzler / Bärenreiter, 2016), 627-33.

Book reviews
Review of Theodor W. Adorno, Kranichsteiner Vorlesungen, edited by Klaus Reichert and Michael Schwarz (Suhrkamp, 2014), Music Theory Online 23:4 (2017).

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



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