Richard Taruskin (1945-2022)

July 02, 2022

The Department of Music notes with sadness the passing of Richard Taruskin, eminent musicologist and Professor Emeritus of Music at University of California, Berkeley, on July 1, 2022, at the age of 77.  Before joining the Berkeley department in 1986, Taruskin spent 26 years at Columbia, as an undergraduate (CC '65), graduate student (GSAS, MA '68, PhD '76), and professor (Assistant, Associate and Full).  He regularly taught Music Humanities as well as music history and theory courses, and also led the Collegium Musicum.

Taruskin's original research specialty was nineteenth-century Russian opera, but his scholarly interests encompassed broad expanses of Western music history and its political, cultural, and social contexts. Taruskin was a prolific author in both academic and journalistic venues.  His magnum opus was the six-volume Oxford History of Western Music (2005).

Taruskin received many honors and prizes in his career.  The most prestigious--unique for a music historian--was the 2017 Kyoto Prize in arts and philosophy. 

Read the New York Times obituary of Taruskin here.