Benjamin Steege

Associate Professor of Music, Music Theory
Benjamin Steege
Office Address: 
806 Dodge Hall

Benjamin Steege joined the Department of Music as Assistant Professor in 2012, having previously taught at Stony Brook University. He studies theoretical discourses around music in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, with particular attention to intersections with the history of science, as well as problems in the history of hearing and listening. His research has been supported by fellowships from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (2010–11), the National Endowment for the Humanities (2014–15), and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University (2014–15). His monograph, Helmholtz and the Modern Listener (2012), thematized the collision between orthodox music-theoretical knowledge and the experimental modes of observation developed in new laboratory environments of the mid-nineteenth century. It won the Emerging Scholar Award from the Society for Music Theory in 2014. He is currently writing a second book, Music and the Limits of Psychology, 1910–1960, which asks what it meant for musical thinkers, pedagogues, and practitioners to adopt a skeptical stance toward the ascendant authority of psychological knowledge, especially in the context of the Weimar Republic and its legacy.

Courses taught:

  • Music Humanities (W1123)
  • Music Theory I–II (V2318–V2319)
  • Techniques of 20th-Century Music (V3310)
  • Analysis of Tonal Music (G4360)
  • Topics in the History of Music Theory (G6300)
  • Proseminar in Music Theory (G6333)
  • Debussy and Modernism (G8371)



Columbia Degrees: 
Degrees from Other Institutions: 
Harvard University