In brief

2015-12-03 18.37.55Kendra Preston Leonard is a musicologist and music theorist whose work focuses on women and music in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries; and music and screen history, particularly music and adaptations of Shakespeare; and a librettist and poet. She is the author of five scholarly books and numerous book chapters and articles. Her work has appeared in The Oxford Handbook of Music and Disability StudiesGender and Song in Early Modern EnglandThis Rough MagicUpstart CrowEarly Modern Studies Journal, The Journal of Historical Biography, The Journal of Musicological Research, and Current Musicology, among other journals and collections. She is the winner of several scholarly awards and prizes, including the Rudolph Ganz Long-Term Fellowship at the Newberry Library, a Harry Ransom Center Research Fellowship, an American Music Research Center Fellowship, the inaugural Judith Tick Fellowship from the Society for American Music, and Yale University’s Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library Thornton Wilder Fellowship in Wilder Studies. She is the Director of the Silent Film Sound and Music Archive.

From September 2017 to March 2018, Dr. Leonard will be the 2017-18 Rudolph Ganz Long-Term Fellow at the Newberry Library. Past awards and fellowships include the American Musicological Society’s 2016 Janet Levy Award; the Society for American Music‘s 2016 Sight and Sound subvention for her collaborative project with the Silent Film Sound and Music Archive and pianist Ethan Uslan; a 2016 American Music Research Center Fellowship;  and a 2016-2017 Harry Ransom Center Research Fellowship in the Humanities.

Dr. Leonard’s poetry has appeared in vox poetica, lunch, These Fragile Lilacs, and Upstart: Out of Sequence: The Sonnets Remixed, among other venues. Marie Curie Learns to Swim, a one-act chamber opera with a libretto by Dr. Leonard and music by composer Jessica Rudman, will receive its premiere by the Hartford Opera Theater in March 2018.


Recent and Upcoming Scholarly Publications, Presentations, and Projects

“Negotiating Problems of Nostalgia: Music for Buster Keaton’s The General,” 18 January 2018, Mary Washington University (7:30 p.m., Pollard Hall room 304); followed by a screening of the film with live accompaniment by Andrew Simpson

Shakespeare’s Second Line, Borrowers and Lenders, special issue on Shakespeare and jazz, edited by Stephen Buhler (forthcoming).

Contributing co-editor with Mariana Whitmer, Re-Locating the Sounds of the Western, Ashgate Publishing, forthcoming 2018.

Works in Progress

Alice Smythe Jay, ‘Tipperary,’ and ‘Yakima’: An Early Case of Forensic Musicology (article)

Music for the Kingdom of Shadows: Gender, Séances, and Cinema Accompaniment in the Age of Spiritualism (long-form digital project)

Projection, Erasure, and Recovery: Women in Silent Film Music (digital history project)

“Nostalgia and Cultural Memory in Scoring for The General (1927)” (Society for American music 2018 seminar paper)

Fontainebleau Chansons (lyrics)

Sans Merci  (working title; opera libretto about Lili and Nadia Boulanger for composer Jessica Rudman)



Leonard’s ORCID is 0000-0003-3005-4344.