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Photograph of Marc Medwin

Marc Medwin Assistant Professor Performing Arts

Marc Medwin received his undergraduate degree in English literature from Ithaca College in New York. He went on to earn a MA and PhD in musicology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, completing a dissertation on the late works of John Coltrane. Marc became an assistant professor in the music program at American University in the fall of 2008. Additionally, he maintains an active career as music journalist, writing for such magazines as Fanfare, The New York City Jazz Record and for the jazz journal Jazz Perspectives. Marc has also played keyboards in several experimental ensembles in Chapel Hill, Durham and Raleigh, North Carolina as well as having performed with Henry Grimes and Tyshawn Sorey. More recently, he has focused on the intersections between journalism and scholarship. His research interests include contemporary classical music, improvised music and electro-acoustic music, focusing on composer-performers as diverse as Bill Dixon, Anthony Braxton, Wadada Leo Smith and Keith Rowe. Marc has presented papers in academic conferences at Oxford University, Boston University, University of Tours and at the annual conference of the American Musicological Society.
See Also
Performing Arts Department
For the Media
To request an interview for a news story, call AU Communications at 202-885-5950 or submit a request.


Spring 2024

  • PERF-205 Masterpieces of Music

  • PERF-205 Masterpieces of Music

  • PERF-321 Evolution of Jazz and Blues

Summer 2024

  • PERF-320 History of Rock Music

Fall 2024

  • PERF-110 Understanding Music

  • PERF-320 History of Rock Music

  • PERF-323 History of Music II

Partnerships & Affiliations

  • Committee member of Audio Technology Course Development Group, Department of Performing Arts
    American University (fall 2008-present)

  • American Musicological Society
    Member (2003-present)

  • Habits of Mind Sub-Committee on Aesthetics Committee (fall 2017-present

  • Creative Aesthetic Inquiry Sub-committee (Core Curriculum)
    member (fall 2017-present)

  • Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee
    member (fall 2020-present)

Scholarly, Creative & Professional Activities

Research Interests

  • Marc Medwin specializes in 20th and 21st century music, notably in jazz, rock and contemporary classical music. He contributes articles and reviews to scholarly journals and to more popular publications focusing on contemporary music, often interviewing the subjects of his research.

Grants and Sponsored Research

  • Mellon Fund Faculty Research Support Grant, American University, Washington, D.C., 2012.
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Music Department Research Grant, spring, 2008.
  • University of North Carolina Graduate School Transportation Grant to Leeds International Jazz Conference, UNC at Chapoel Hill, 2007.
  • UNC Chapel Hill Music Department Research Grant, 2007.

Work In Progress

  • John Coltrane and the Avant-Garde 1961-1967. [Book proposal to be submitted by spring 2022 to Oxford University Press]

Selected Publications

  • Baroque Synesthesia and the Curation of Possibility: Keith Rowe 20002020, in Surround, Issue 5, forthcoming 2021.
  • “The Allure of Permeable Boundaries: An Interview with Yun Ju Pan,” in Fanfare, No.42, Issue 6, 2019.
  • “Soft Machine: Hidden Details,” in New York City Jazz Record, Issue 198, 2018.
  • “Motivic Transformation in Bill Dixon’s Intents and Purposes,” Current Research in Jazz, Vol.6, 2015.
  • “Atteindre l'unité: Autoréférences dans la musique de John Coltrane,” in John Coltrane: l'oeuvre et son empreinte, ed. Vincent Cotro, Paris: Outre Mesure, 71-84. 2015.
  • “The ErstWand Series: Composing Time, Absenting Place,” in Surround, Issue 3 (spring 2015)

  • “Attaining Unity: Self-Reference in the Music of john Coltrane,” Jazz Research Journal, Special Issue on John Coltrane’s life and Music, forthcoming summer 2009.

  • “Anthony Braxton: Complete Arista Recordings 1974-1980,” Jazz Perspectives, Vol.3 Issue 1, 2009.
  • “Mark Dresser and Denman Maroney: Live in Concert,” Kadima Collective KCR18 [Liner Note of Compact Disc] Jan.2009.
  • “Art Davis 1934-2007,” Coda, Nov./Dec., 2007.
  • “Orrin Keepnews’ Collection,” All About Jazz New York, No.66, Oct.2007.

Professional Presentations

  • “Drone-Dream Fulfilment: Minimalist Structure and Implication in John Coltrane’s Ascension,” Miles Davis and John Coltrane at 90: Retrospect and Prospect, International Conference, University of Surrey, England, 2017.
  • “Of Eddies and Artifacts: Improvising History in Lennie Tristano’s Descent into the Maelstrom,” Perspectives on Musical Improvisation II International Conference, University of Oxford, Oxford, England, 2014.

  • “Sound, Vision and Malleability: Bill Dixon’s Music for the Free Conservatory Orchestra of the University of the Streets,” American Musicological Society National Meeting, Nashville, TN, Nov. 6-9, 2008.