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Jonathan Rosenberg


Ph.D., Harvard University

Jonathan Rosenberg teaches twentieth-century U.S. history at Hunter College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. His research focuses on the history of the United States in a global context. His book, Dangerous Melodies: Classical Music in America from the Great War through the Cold War (W.W. Norton, 2019), explores the relationship between art and politics in twentieth-century America by examining the intersection between the world of classical music in the United States and the wider world. Spanning more than sixty years, from World War I through the Cold War, the book focuses on America’s engagement with the world by considering how singers, instrumentalists, conductors, composers, music critics, and concertgoers linked the world of classical music to overseas developments. In these years, the nexus between the classical-music community in the United States and momentous events overseas helps to explain why classical music occupied a critical place not just in American cultural life, but in American political life, as well. In recent years, Rosenberg has given lectures and conference papers based on Dangerous Melodies at the Roosevelt Institute of American Studies, Middleburg, The Netherlands (October 2018 and May 2018); the University of Antwerp (May 2018); the University of Jyvaskala, Finland (February 2017); the Sibelius Academy, Helsinki (May 2014); the Free University of Berlin (April 2014); the University of Antwerp (December 2013); Leiden University (September 2013); the University of Helsinki (May 2013); and Harvard University (March 2013).

Rosenberg’s current project, The Jazz Expats: How American Jazz Musicians Left Their Country and Changed the World, is the story of an extraordinary group of American creators whose lives and art became intertwined with unfolding cultural and political developments in Europe. Whether in France, Scandinavia, Germany, or Holland, these gifted Americans played a leading role on the European cultural scene from the 1920s to the 1970s, lending their distinctive sonic energy and unique personal style to urban life across the Continent. Over time, these remarkable artists and their music contributed to the Americanization of the world, a crucial development in the history of the twentieth century.

Rosenberg is the author of How Far the Promised Land?: World Affairs and the American Civil Rights Movement from the First World War to Vietnam (Princeton University Press, 2006). He is the co-author of Kennedy, Johnson, and the Quest for Justice: The Civil Rights Tapes (W.W. Norton, 2003); and with John Lewis Gaddis, Ernest May, and Philip Gordon, he co-edited and contributed to Cold War Statesmen Confront the Bomb: Nuclear Diplomacy since 1945 (Oxford University Press, 1999). In addition to his scholarly articles and reviews, Rosenberg has written for The Christian Science Monitor and The Wilson Quarterly. Before receiving his Ph.D. in history from Harvard, Rosenberg, a graduate of Juilliard, worked as a classical musician.


Phone: 212-772-5546

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