SMT Audio Archive

This page includes various audio recollections and reminiscences by people who participated in SMT during its early years. They recount both the early days of SMT, along with other reminiscences regarding the development of music theory prior to the establishment of SMT. Each file is around 5-10 minutes long. If you would like to contribute an audio reminiscence of your own, please contact the SMT webmaster.

John Rahn, Professor Emeritus at University of Washington, is a prominent music theorist and composer. A long-time editor of Perspectives of New Music, he served SMT in many capacities and played a pivotal role in the formation of the Society. Posted 2015.

Joel Lester, Professor Emeritus at CCNY and the CUNY Graduate Center, and Dean of Mannes College of Music from 1996-2011, was also active as a violinist (including as the founding violinist in the Da Capo Chamber Players,with which he played for 22 seasons). He served on the SMT Executive Board in the early 1980s, edited Music Theory Spectrum in the mid-1990s, and was President of SMT from 2003-2005. Posted 2015.

Maury Yeston taught music theory as an Associate Professor at Yale. He is also a celebrated composer, especially well known for his Broadway musicals. He has won Tony and Drama Desk awards, and he has been nominated for various other awards, including the Oscar, Grammy, and Golden Globe. Among his many notable accomplishments is coming up with the name of the Society for Music Theory! Posted 2015.

Deborah Stein is a Professor of Music at New England Conservatory and an award-winning scholar; Ann McNamee is Professor Emerita of Swarthmore College and a prolific songwriter/composer. Both have been extremely active in SMT and are extremely serious scholars, but at a memorial tribute to Allen Forte in 2015, they exhibited their playful side by sharing this lighthearted story about a party at the 1977 meeting in Evanston. Posted 2015.

Carlton Gamer, Professor Emeritus at Colorado College and a prominent composer and theorist, played a pivotal role in organizational meetings that predated SMT and in the early years of the Society. Posted 2014.

Robert Morgan is Professor Emeritus at Yale University. The presentation that he mentions in this audio reminiscence has been published as "Schenker and the Theoretical Tradition—: The Concept of Musical Reduction," College Music Symposium 18/1 (1978), pp. 72-96. Posted 2014

Robert Gauldin served the SMT in many capacities, including as its President from 1991–93. He was the very first speaker on the first solo panel of the First National Conference of Music Theory (which pre-dated the formation of SMT) held in Boston on the afternoon of 29 February 1976 (a joint panel—held in conjunction with the ASUC Meeting—took place earlier that day). Posted 2014

Robert Hurwitz, Professor Emeritus at University of Oregon, a violist and a distinguished music theorist and pedagogue, presented a paper on a panel at the Second National Conference of Music Theory in Evanston, the meeting at which SMT was formed. Posted 2014

Margaret Vardell Sandresky is composer, organist, music theorist, and pedagogue. Among her many accomplishments, she is the first woman to have given a presentation at the National Conference of Music Theory (the predecessor of SMT) and the first woman to have published an essay in Music Theory Spectrum. A website with links to her compositions and other materials may be found at In these audio recordings, she provides reminiscences on her experiences in SMT as well as on the early days of her music theory training and career. Posted 2014

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Bryan Simms served the first editor of Music Theory Spectrum. His short essay, “On the Founding of Music Theory Spectrum,” appeared in the first issue of this journal. Posted 2014

Gary Wittlich, Professor Emeritus at Indiana University, served the SMT in many capacities, including as its President from 1988-91. Posted 2014