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Carl Leafstedt, Ph.D.

"Teaching Trinity students is such a pleasure. They're bright, capable, and talented in so many ways. I try to share my enthusiasm for music, and thinking about music, in class every day."

- Carl Leafstedt, Ph.D.

Carl Leafstedt is a music historian who teaches general music history courses, a First Year Seminar on Music and Politics, and special topics courses on Tchaikovsky, Schubert, Symphonic Literature, and 20th-Century Opera.  A native of Sioux City, Iowa, he was a chemistry/music double major in his undergraduate years at Williams College, then went on to receive a Ph.D. in music history from Harvard University.  He has taught at Southwestern University, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and Duke University.  He's been on the faculty at Trinity since 2001.  He was Chair of the Music Department from 2006-12.

For Trinity he also Co-Chairs the Arts, Letters, and Enterprise program. He takes a lively interest in helping Trinity students pursue careers in music history or arts management. 

Selected Publications

  • "San Antonio."  In The New Grove Dictionary of American Music, revised edition.  New York: Oxford University Press, 2012. 
  • "Bartók on Stage."  Program book essay for the Philharmonia Orchestra of London's 2011 festival, Infernal Dance: Inside the World of Béla Bartók
  • "El Castell de Barbablava, op. 11." Published in the annual program book of the Barcelona Opera, Temporada d'opera, 2007-8, pp. 60-64. Barcelona, Spain: Amics del Liceu, 2007. Published simultaneously in Catalan and English.
  • "Asheville, Winter of 1943-44: Bela Bartók and North Carolina." The Music Quarterly 87/2 (Summer 2004): 219-58.
  • "Seven Doors Into a Soul." Program essay for the Royal Opera House's performances of Bartók's opera Duke Bluebeard's Castle at Covent Garden, London. March 2002.  Reprinted for Spring 2006 season.
  • "The Stage Works: A Portrait of Loneliness." In The Cambridge Companion to Bartók, edited by Amanda Bayley, 62-77. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (UK), 2001.
  • "Pelléas Revealed: The Original Ending of Bluebeard's Castle." InBartók Perspectives, edited by Elliott Antokoletz, Victoria Fischer, and Benjamin Suchoff, 226-44. New York: Oxford University Press, 2000.
  • Inside Bluebeard's Castle: Music and Drama in Bela Bartók's Opera. New York and London: Oxford University Press, 1999. Paperback edition 2003.

Research Areas

His research interests center on music of the 20th century, with emphasis on the music of Béla Bartók.  He is currently working on a book on Bartók's years in America, as well as editing the unpublished autobiography of composer Ernst Bacon, whose Emily Dickinson songs are much beloved by singers.  His book on Bartók's opera Duke Bluebeard's Castle, published by Oxford University Press, earned sufficient attention from the opera world to warrant re-publication in paperback form.  From 2005-7 he served as President of the Southwest Chapter of the American Musicological Society.  He has also been a member of the AMS Council.  A member of the Society for American Music, in 2008 he served as Chair of the Local Arrangements Committee for the Society's annual conference, held that year in San Antonio. 

Trinity's location in South Texas has broadened his interests to include much of the popular music of the area.  He recently wrote the subject article on "San Antonio" for the New Grove Dictionary of American Music (2012).  He is founding coordinator of Trinity University's Legends of Texas Border Music series, a project that pairs guest scholars with prominent musicians who have spent their careers making music in the culturally rich region of South Texas.

Community Service & Involvement

  • He has served on boards of directors for the San Antonio Chamber Music Society, the San Antonio Symphony, and the San Antonio Chamber Choir. He is currently on the board of directors for YOSA, the Youth Orchestras of San Antonio, and the executive board for the Alamo Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America. 
  • Vestry member, St. Mark's Episcopal Church, 2013-15
  • With his wife Ann he served as Co-President of the South Texas chapter of the Williams College Alumni Association, 2001-7. 

Personal Interests

His wife Ann is an attorney in San Antonio. They have two sons, Wendell and Kent.