Aaron Ziegel, Ph.D.

Associate Professor


Contact Info

CA 2094


Ph.D., Musicology
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2011

M.M., Music History
University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, 2006

B.M., Piano Performance
University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, 2004

Areas of Expertise

American Opera & Opera Studies
Music of the European Classical Tradition
Music History Pedagogy
Public Musicology


Dr. Aaron Ziegel is an Associate Professor and Division Leader of Music History and Culture. He teaches courses on music in the United States of America, the full chronological span of Western art music, opera studies, symphonic literature, and writing about music. His teaching and advising engages with music majors, non-majors, and graduate students. His research publications range widely across the broad spectrum of American musics, encompassing such diverse outlets as American opera, film music, American popular song, and the army training camp music of World War I.

Dr. Ziegel’s central research focus examines American operas of the early 20th century. Articles in Music and Politics (2019) and the Opera Journal (2009) and a book chapter in the collection In Search of the “Great American Opera” (Waxmann Verlag, 2016) trace the emergence of a nationalist style of opera writing during the early years of the twentieth century. In collaboration with Towson University student singers, he presented a program of long-forgotten scenes and arias from Romantic-era American operas. An article in the journal American Music (2016) explores the career of Arthur Nevin during World War I, a period in which he both premiered a new opera in Chicago and served in the Army as a teacher of mass singing for the nearly 10,000 soldiers of Camp Grant in north central Illinois.

Dr. Ziegel has also written about the music of Vernon Duke, a composer equally adept with both Broadway popular songs and classical concert music, in an article for the journal American Music (2010) that challenges the traditional understanding of Duke’s compositional style and career. An article in Music Research Forum (2011) compares the alternate film scores for Cocteau’s La Belle et la Bête composed by Georges Auric and Philip Glass. Additional articles on the pedagogy of music history appear in Engaging Students: Essays in Music Pedagogy (2014) and the Journal of Music History Pedagogy (2018). His research has been presented at annual meetings of the American Musicological Society, the Society for American Music, the College Music Society, the Nineteenth Century Studies Association, and the National Opera Association.

Dr. Ziegel engages widely in public musicology and is a familiar pre-concert lecturer in the Baltimore area and surrounding region. He is Scholar in Residence with Opera Baltimore. In that role, he designs and presents lecture series that accompany every opera the company produces each season. These in-depth, multi-part projects provide a thorough analytical and contextual background for each opera, enriching the audience's connections with and understanding of the performances. His lectures are published in a special "Opera Insights" section of the opera company's website. In addition to his work with Opera Baltimore, Dr. Ziegel frequently lectures for Pro Musica Rara, the Handel Choir of Baltimore, and Opera Delaware.

Professor Ziegel received a Bachelor’s in Piano Performance, summa cum laude, and a Master’s in Music History at the University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music. He earned his Ph.D. in Musicology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He studied piano with Elizabeth Pridonoff, Richard Fields, and Michael Chertock, and harpsichord with Eiji Hashimoto and Charlotte Mattax. His principal teachers of musicology include Gayle Sherwood Magee, bruce d. mcclung, Jeffrey Magee, Katherine Syer, and William Kinderman.