The College of Arts and Architecture

SMT Recognizes Achievements of Maureen Carr

Maureen Carr

The Society of Music Theory (SMT) is the professional organization of music theorists, promoting the development of and engagement with music theory as a scholarly and pedagogical discipline. Since 1995, the executive board of this international organization has granted Lifetime Memberships to certain members in recognition of their truly outstanding contributions to the field. Congratulations to Penn State distinguished professor Maureen Carr who received this honor at the society's 40th annual conference, held recently in Arlington, VA.Maureen Carr receiving award at SMT conference

Professor Carr was introduced at the award ceremony by her faculty colleague, Taylor Greer, who wrote the following tribute.

"I first met Maureen Carr when she welcomed me with open arms the year I began teaching at Penn State University. Early on, I discovered that she had achieved a remarkable balance between teaching, research, and service.  She has had various accolades as a teacher, including our university’s Outstanding Teaching Award.  And over the years she has been tireless in her work for the Society, serving on the executive board, the program committee, and countless other SMT councils.

But, it is in her scholarly work where she has truly excelled.  If I had to summarize her research agenda in a single phrase, it might be “one face, many masks.” Indeed, in her first publication, entitled Multiple Masks, she explored the power of Greek myths in four of Igor Stravinsky’s Neo-Classical works. But, ultimately, that phrase should be amended to be “one portrait, many sketches.”

She has enriched the field of sketch studies by blending genesis with analysis, the reenactment of a work’s gestation with a close interpretation of the finished product. Her work celebrates the ways that music, dance, philosophy, and literature converge.

She has explored the full gamut of Stravinsky’s output:

  • from the Firebird to the Flood,
  • from before the Rite to after the Riot,
  • from many symphonies to one Persephone.

She has already completed four monographs in the field of Stravinsky studies with one more in preparation. For her volume on Pulcinella, she received the 2011 SMT Citation of Special Merit.

A recent reviewer wrote:

'No-one knows the Stravinsky sketches like Maureen Carr.  Over many decades she has done huge service to scholars of 20th-century music through her painstaking study and the subsequent publication both of facsimile editions with commentaries, and detailed analyses of the sketches. They bring Stravinsky’s practices back to life.'

Maureen Carr has spent her whole professional life helping younger scholars and teachers within the discipline in their respective musical journeys. It is my great pleasure to announce that she is a recipient of the 2017 SMT Lifetime Membership Award."