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Bryan R. Simms

Last updated 10/13/2021

Bryan R. Simms is Professor Emeritus of Musicology at the University of Southern California. He was appointed to its faculty in 1976 and served there for thirty-eight years prior to his retirement in June 2014. Before coming to USC he taught at the University of Denver and at Yale University, where in 1971 he received a Ph.D. in musicology. He was formerly editor of the Journal of Music Theory and Music Theory Spectrum, and he has served on the Council of the American Musicological Society and Executive Board of the Society for Music Theory.

He specializes in music and musical theory of the 20th century, and his books include most recently The Atonal Music of Arnold Schoenberg: 1908–1923 (Oxford University Press), Music in Western Civilization (with Craig Wright, Thomson-Schirmer Books), and Alban Berg: A Research and Information Guide, second edition (Routledge), and Pro Mundo – Pro DomoThe Writings of Alban Berg (Oxford University Press, 2014), which is an English edition of the complete writings of this composer.



Pro Domo – Pro Mundo: The Writings of Alban Berg. Translated and edited, with commentary, by Bryan R. Simms. New York: Oxford University Press, 2014.

Music in Western Civilization (with Craig Wright). Belmont, CA: Thomson Schirmer, 2006. Text, 13 CDs, and the Anthology for “Music in Western Civilization” by Timothy Roden, Craig Wright, and Bryan Simms (1,867 pp. containing scores of 216 works, each with analytic head notes and new translations of foreign language texts). Second edition, revised, 2009.

Alban Berg: A Guide to Research. New York and London: Garland, 1996. Second edition, revised: Alban Berg: A Research and Information Guide. New York: Routledge, 2009.

The Atonal Music of Arnold Schoenberg, 1908-1923. New York: Oxford University Press, 2000.

Composers on Modern Musical Culture: Readings on Twentieth-Century Music. Compiled and edited by Bryan R. Simms. New York: Schirmer Books, 1999.

Schoenberg, Berg, and Webern: A Companion to the Second Viennese School. Edited by Bryan             R. Simms. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1999. Second edition, revised, 1996.

The Art of Music: An Introduction. New York: HarperCollins, 1993.

Music of the Twentieth Century: Style and Structure. New York: Schirmer Books, 1986. Text, 6 CDs, and Music of the Twentieth Century: An Anthology. Second edition, revised and expanded, New York: Schirmer Books, 1996.


“The German Apprenticeship of Charles Ives.” American Music 29 (2011): 139–67.

“Serialism in the Early Music of Aaron Copland.” Musical Quarterly 90/2 (2007): 176–96.

“Schoenberg, Schenker, and the Metier of Music Theory.” In Schenker-Traditionen, ed. Martin Eybl and Evelyn Fink-Mennel, 19-28. Wiener Veröffentlichungen zur Musikgeschichte, vol. 6. Vienna: Böhlau Verlag, 2006

“From Song Cycle to Cantata: Arnold Schoenberg’s Gurrelieder.” Choral Journal 45/4 (November 2004): 8–13

“’My Dear Herzl’: Self-Representation in Schoenberg’s String Quartet No. 2” 19th-Century Music, 26/3 (2003): 258–77.

“Alexander Zemlinsky” and “Alban Berg: Operas.” In Reader’s Guide to Music: History,       Criticism, Theory (Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn, 2000).

“Arnold Schoenberg.” In Schoenberg, Berg, and Webern: A Companion to the Second Viennese School, 128–83. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1999.

“Schoenberg: The Analyst and the Analyzed.” In The Schoenberg Companion., 223–50.             Edited by Walter B. Bailey. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1999.

“Whose Idea Was Erwartung?.” In Constructive Dissonance: Arnold Schoenberg and the       Transformations of Twentieth‑Century Culture, 100‑111. Edited by Juliane Brand and       Christopher Hailey. Berkeley, London, Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1997.

“Berg’s Lulu and Theatre of the 1920s.” Cambridge Opera Journal, 6 (1994): 147‑58.

“The Theory of Pitch‑Class Sets.” In Models of Analysis: Early Twentieth‑Century Music. Ed. Jonathan Dunsby. Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1993.

“Berg’s Four Songs, op. 2: An Homage to Schoenberg.” In Musical Humanism and Its Legacy: Essays in Honor of Claude V. Palisca, pp. 487-501. Edited by Nancy K. Baker and Barbara R. Hanning. Festschrift Series no. 11. Stuyvesant, NY: Pendragon, 1992.

“Who First Composed Twelve‑Tone Music, Schoenberg or Hauer?” Journal of the Arnold       Schoenberg Institute 10 (1987‑88), 109‑33.

“Twentieth‑Century Composers Return to the Small Ensemble.” In The Orchestra: A                   Reference History, 455‑77. Edited by Joan Peyser. New York: Charles Scribner’s Songs, 1986.

“Theory” (with Sherman Van Solkema). The New Grove Dictionary of American Music.             Edited by H. Wiley Hitchcock and Stanley Sadie. New York: Grove’s Dictionaries, 1986.

“Line and Harmony in Schoenberg’s ‘Seraphita’ opus 22 no. 1.” Journal of Music Theory 26             (1982): 291‑312.

“Arnold Schoenberg’s Theory of Harmony: A Commentary.” Music Theory Spectrum 4       (1982): 155‑62.

“Schoenberg’s Correspondence with Heinrich Schenker” (with Charlotte E. Erwin).  Journal of the Arnold Schoenberg Institute5 (1981): 22‑43.

“The Historical Editions of Alexandre‑Etienne Choron.” Fontes artis musicae 27 (1980):       71‑77.

“The Society for Private Musical Performances: Documents and Resources in Schoenberg’s       Legacy.” Journal of the Arnold Schoenberg Institute 3 (1979): 126‑49.

“New Documents in the Schoenberg‑Schenker Polemic.” Perspectives of New Music 16 (1977):       110‑24.

“Choron, Fétis, and the Theory of Tonality.” Journal of Music Theory 19 (1975): 112‑39.

Lectures and Papers

“Hans Richter’s First Sound Film.” Conference Keeping Score: Hans Richter’s Filmic Encounters with Music, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, June 23, 2013.

“Copland the Serialist, 1923–1930.” National meeting of the American Musicological Society, Quebec City, November 4, 2007.

“Schoenberg, Schenker, and the Metier of Music Theory.” Symposium Schenker-Traditionen. Sponsored by the Universität für Musik und Darstellende Kunst, Vienna, June 13, 2003.

“Schoenberg’s Society for Private Musical Performances.” Bard College Music Festival:             Schoenberg and His World. Annandale-on-Hudson, NY, August 15, 1999

“Schoenberg, Neoclassicism, and the Twelve-Tone Method.” Conference of the Pacific-Southwest       Chapter, American Musicological Society. Los Angeles, April 24, 1999

“Myths of Modernism” (panel discussion). Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra: Reports from       a Surprising Century. Los Angeles, February 20, 1999.

“Schoenberg’s Early Fragmentary Operas.” International Conference “Austria, 996‑1996: Music in a    Changing Society.” Ottawa, Canada, January 6, 1996.

“The Dramatic Conception of Berg’s Lulu and its Sources in Theater of the 1920s.” National meeting of the American Musicological Society, Chicago, November 8, 1991.

“Whose Idea Was Erwartung?” Symposium “Constructive Dissonance.” Arnold         Schoenberg Institute, Los Angeles, August 16, 1991.

“Staging Erwartung and Die glückliche Hand: Schoenberg and Expressionist Theatre.”   Symposium             “Arnold Schoenberg: The Critical Years,” University of Victoria, Victoria, Canada, February 10            1991.

“New Documents Concerning Schoenberg and Josef Matthias Hauer.” Department of Music, University of California, Los Angeles, May 17, 1990.

“Form and Self‑Reference in the Final Scene of Schoenberg’s Die glückliche Hand.” West Coast       Conference of Music Theory and Analysis, University of California, Santa Barbara, April 17,       1990.

“Schoenberg, Schenker, and the Birth of Modernism in Vienna.” Southern Methodist University, April 20, 1985.

“Schoenberg’s Analytic Annotations to His Piano Piece, Op. 23, No. 4.” National        meeting of the Society        for Music Theory, New Haven, November 13, 1983.

“A Major Addition to the Schoenberg Collection at the Library of Congress.” National meeting of the American Musicological Society, Denver, November 8, 1980.

“The Resources of the Arnold Schoenberg Institute.” University of California, Santa Barbara, April 21,       1980.

“Schoenberg’s Conception of the Analysis and Structure of Twentieth‑Century Music.” National meeting of the American Musicological Society, Minneapolis, October 21, 1978.

“Musical Historicism in France in the Early Nineteenth Century.” National meeting of the American    Musicological Society, Los Angeles, November 2, 1975.

“Daniel Read: An American Composer.” New Haven Colony Historical Society, January 25, 1970.

Book Reviews

Twenty book reviews have appeared in the Los Angeles TimesMusic and Letters, Notes: Quarterly Journal of the Music Library Association, Musical Analysis and other journals.

 Honors, Fellowships, and Awards

Virginia Ramo Musical Faculty Award, University of Southern California School of Music, 2000

The award is conferred by the faculty and students upon a faculty member in recognition of outstanding contributions to music and education, to the Thornton School of Music and University of Southern California, and to mankind.

Fulbright Senior Scholar Grant, Western European Regional Research Program, 1990‑91.

German Academic Exchange/Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst, award for language study in   Germany, May‑June, 1989.

National Endowment for the Humanities, summer seminar, 1980.