Jeffrey Magee teaches courses and writes about music in the United States in the belief that all students should become more aware of the diverse musical idioms and values of the country where they’ve chosen to live and study. His interests include a variety of African-American traditions, issues of Jewish-American musical identity, black-Jewish intersections, the fundamentally collaborative nature of the performing arts, and the ways in which performance and composition exist on a continuum of creative music-making. He is the author of The Uncrowned King of Swing: Fletcher Henderson and Big Band Jazz (Oxford, 2005), which won the Irving Lowens Award for Best Book in American Music from the Society for American Music, as well as an award for excellence in Historical Recorded Sound Research from the Association for Recorded Sound Collections. His second book, Irving Berlin’s American Musical Theater (Oxford, 2012), was supported as a We the People Project of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and was runner-up for the Lowens Award. His book-in-progress Gypsy and the American Dream is under contract with Oxford University Press.
Professor Magee has published articles in the Journal of the American Musicological Society, American Music, Black Music Research Journal, Current Musicology, Studies in Musical Theatre, and Musical Quarterly, and a chapter, “Ragtime and Early Jazz,” in The Cambridge History of American Music. Most recently, his article “Miranda’s Les Miz” appeared in a special issue of Studies in Musical Theatre devoted to the musical Hamilton. He has given public lectures at the Library of Congress, Harvard University, 92Y, and many other colleges and universities. His voice may be heard on the documentary series Leonard Bernstein: An American Life, narrated by Susan Sarandon and widely aired on public radio, and he has been interviewed by The New York Times and Al Jazeera America. He has served on review panels for the NEH, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University.
Before joining the Illinois faculty, he taught at Indiana University (1997-2006), and served as executive editor of the NEH-funded score series Music of the United States of America at the University of Michigan (1993-97). He has been an editorial board member of the Journal of Musicology, Jazz Perspectives, and the Center for Black Music Research, and was founding editor of the book series Profiles in Popular Music for Indiana University Press. He served as director-at-large on the Board of the American Musicological Society 2014-16. Professor Magee became the Director of the School of Music in 2013 after serving for a year as interim Director. In that role, he has moderated and presented at panels of the College Music Society, the Society for Ethnomusicology, and the National Association of Schools of Music. He holds an affiliate appointment in the Department of Theatre.
BA and BM, Oberlin College; MA, University of California at Berkeley; PhD, University of Michigan.