Maria Ryan | B.A. Hons., M.Mus.


University of Pennsylvania, candidate for Ph.D. in musicology, expected 2021

Graduate certificate in Africana Studies

Dissertation title: “Hearing Power, Sounding Freedom: Black Practices of Listening, Music-making, and Ear-training in the British Colonial Caribbean”

Committee: Guthrie P. Ramsey, Jr. (Chair), Heather Williams, Glenda Goodman

King's College London, M.Mus., musicology, 2014

University of Nottingham, B.A. Hons, music, 2010


Music in the colonial Caribbean, Black Feminist Theory, Music and Slavery,

Book and Archival History, Critical Bibliography, African American Intellectual History


Eighteenth-century music, Music in America, Music and Race, Slavery in America, Atlantic Studies, Afro American classical music, Critical Bibliography, 20th- and 21st-century Opera



"'The influence of Melody upon man in the wild state of nature': Enslaved Parishioners  Anglican Violence, and Racialized Listening in a Jamaica Parish." Forthcoming [Summer 2021] The Journal of the Society of American Music.


“Angels in the Archive: Animating the Past in Written on Skin.” In Recomposing the Past: Early Music on Stage and Screen, edited by James Cook, Alexander Kolassa and Adam Whittaker, 174–187. London: Routledge, 2018.


2020–2022 Andrew W. Mellon Junior Fellowship in Critical Bibliography at University of Virginia Rare Book School

2020–2021 American Musicological Society Alvin H. Johnson AMS 50 Dissertation Fellowship 

2020–2021 ACLS-Mellon Dissertation Completion Fellowship

2019–2020 Margery Morgan Lowens Dissertation Fellowship, Society for American Music

2019 Andrew W. Mellon Short-term Fellowship, Program in African American History, Library Company of Philadelphia

2018 Ora Frishberg Saloman Travel Grant, American Musicological Society

2018 Michael Kraus Research Grant in American Colonial History, American Historical Association 

2015 London Arts and Humanities Partnership Research Studentship (declined), Arts and Humanities Research Council


2020 [forthcoming] “Familiar Strangers: Enslaved Black Women’s Listening Practices and the Afterlives of Slavery in Musical Thought,” American Musicology Society Annual Conference.

2020 “‘Simple Psalmody’ or ‘Laboured Compositions’?: The Politics of Racialized Listening in St. Ann, Jamaica,” North American British Music Studies Association 2020 Biennial Conference [virtual conference due to COVID-19]

2020 “Overhearing on the Plantation,” Society for American Music Annual Conference, [virtual conference due to COVID-19]

2020 “‘…Paper which had once been white’: Interacting Invitation Practices in Colonial Antigua,” American Contact: Intercultural Exchange and the History of the Book [virtual conference due to COVID-19]

2020 “Black Fiddlers in the British Colonial Caribbean.” Invited “Brown Bag” lunch workshop, McNeil Center for Early American Studies, University of Pennsylvania

2019 “‘The influence of Melody upon man in the wild state of nature’: Music, Violence, and Race in a Jamaica Parish, 1827–28,” Early American Music and the Construction of Race, University of Pennsylvania

2019 “Dancing for Themselves: Centering Black Experiences of Military Music in the British Colonial Caribbean,” Atlantic Crossings: Music From 1492 Through the Long 18th Century, Boston University

2018 “Performing and Hearing Race in Post-emancipation Antigua,” North American British Music Studies Association 2018 Biennial Conference, Logan, Utah

2018 “‘Our people, I fear, are drifting too far away from the classics…’: Singing Race, Class, and Gender in Philadelphia 1912–1914,” Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the American Musicological Society, Curtis Institute of Music, Philadelphia

2018 “Decolonizing the Music Survey: A Manifesto for Action” with David Chavannes, Temple University Theory, History, and Ethnomusicology Society (THEMUS), Philadelphia

2016 “Engraved Music as Image and Engraved Image as Music: the Possibility of Silent Audibility in Calliope,” Confluences, Connections and Correspondences: Music and Visual Culture Conference, University of Toronto

2015 “Hearing the Presentness of the Past in Written on Skin,” Representations of Music on Stage and Screen Study Day, University of Nottingham



Instructor of Record

1000(+) Years of Listening (undergraduate survey class), University of Pennsylvania 2017-2018


Musical Life in America, University of Pennsylvania, Instructor of Record: Guthrie P. Ramsey, Jr.

Public Lectures

2018 “Between the Notes” lecturer for Written on Skin, Opera Philadelphia

2017 “Singing (under) the Stars: Lasso’s Prophetiae Sibyllarum” University of Pennsylvania, Kislak Center (Pre-Concert Lecture)

Educational Writing

2017–2018 Curriculum Consultant for Written on Skin, Opera Philadelphia

2015 Online Learning Resources Contributor for course on Jennifer Higdon’s Cold Mountain, Opera Philadelphia

Teaching Service

2018 Teaching Assistant trainer, Center for Teaching and Learning, University of Pennsylvania

2017–2018 Graduate Fellow for Teaching Excellence, Center for Teaching and Learning, University of Pennsylvania



2014–2015       Executive Assistant, Culture at King’s, King’s College London

2012–2014       Music Assistant, Westminster Abbey, London

2010–2012       Music Assistant, Lakeside Arts Centre, University of Nottingham




American Musicological Society

North American British Music Studies Association

Society for American Music

© 2020 by Maria Ryan. All photos by Maria Ryan unless otherwise noted.