Professor of Music, Historical Musicology
Area Chair, Historical Musicology (2023-24)
Committee on DEI (2023–24)
Director, The University Seminars
Director, Medieval and Renaissance Studies
619B Dodge Hall
Susan Boynton joined the Columbia faculty in 2000. Her research interests include medieval Latin glosses on the hymns of the Divine Office, liturgy and music in medieval Western monasticism, particularly the abbey of Cluny; manuscript studies; music in the Iberian peninsula; music and childhood; and intersections of music with the visual arts. Boynton has published seven books. The first, Shaping a Monastic Identity: Liturgy and History at the Imperial Abbey of Farfa, 1000-1125 (2006), won the Lewis Lockwood Award of the American Musicological Society. Her second monograph, Silent Music: Medieval Song and the Construction of History in Eighteenth-Century Spain (2011), won the Society's Robert M. Stevenson Award. Prof. Boynton coedited (with Diane J. Reilly) The Practice of the Bible in the Middle Ages (2011). Also coedited with Diane J. Reilly, Resounding Images: Medieval Intersections of Art, Music, and Sound (2015) won the American Musicological Society's Ruth A. Solie Award. Boynton's other coedited volumes include From Dead of Night to End of Day (2005), with Isabelle Cochelin, Musical Childhoods and the Cultures of Youth (2006), with Roe-Min Kok; and Young Choristers, 650-1700 (2008), with Eric Rice. Boynton's articles have been published in The Journal of the American Musicological Society, Speculum, Viator, Traditio, and other leading journals in musicology and medieval studies; she has contributed invited chapters to numerous edited volumes (for a complete list see the CV linked in the upper right corner of this page).
In 2024, Boynton was elected a Fellow of the Medieval Academy of America, an honor that recognizes major long-term scholarly achievement within the field of Medieval Studies. In 2020, she was named a Chevalier of the Ordre des Palmes Académiques, an honor awarded by the Prime Minister of France on the recommendation of the Minister of Education. Boynton is also a recipient of Columbia's Distinguished Faculty Award. Her research has been supported by fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Academy in Rome, the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, and the Trinity Long Room Hub Arts and Humanities Research Institute.
With the historian Isabelle Cochelin (University of Toronto), Boynton is a general editor of the interdisciplinary series Disciplina Monastica: Studies on Medieval Monastic Life/Etudes sur la vie monastique au moyen age (Brepols Publishers), in which 13 volumes have appeared to date. Boynton is an Associate Member of the Institut de recherche en musicologie (IReMus) of the Centre national de le recherche scientifique (France). She is a member of the Wissenschaftlicher Beirat (Scientific Board) of the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis (Basel, Switzerland) and of the International Advisory Board of the Global and Local Scholarship on Annotated Manuscripts (GLOSSAM) project of the Irish Research Council at the University of Galway. Boynton also co-chairs the Study Group on Childhood and Music of the American Musicological Society. Through research and teaching on the medieval liturgical manuscripts in the Columbia collection, Boynton has become a collaborator of the Digital Analysis of Chant Transmission project. She also serves on the External Board of Medieval Liturgy: Tutorials for Students, Teachers & Researchers (an NEH-funded project at the University of Notre Dame).
At Columbia, Boynton is Director of The University Seminars and Director of Medieval and Renaissance Studies. In 2018-19 she was Resident Faculty Director of Columbia's Institute for Ideas and Imagination at Columbia's Global Center in Paris.
Boynton is actively involved in art history, currently as coeditor (with Diane J. Reilly) of the medieval art history journal Gesta, published by the University of Chicago Press for the International Center of Medieval Art. With art historian Anne-Orange Poilpré of the University of Paris, she has coorganized three international workshops for graduate students on the study of images in the humanities, funded by the grants from the Aliiance Program. From 2016-19, Boynton was the Columbia Project Leader of FAB-Musiconis, a Franco-American digital humanities and musical iconography exchange codirected with Frédéric Billiet of Paris-Sorbonne University and supported by the Partner University Fund of the FACE Foundation.
The Practice of the Bible in the Middle Ages: Production, Reception, and Performance in Western Christianity
Degrees from Other Institutions:
Diplôme (graduate diploma)
Louvain la Neuve
Music and Women's Studies