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Dr. Eric Saylor

Professor of Music History & Musicology
Office Location: FAC 323

Eric Saylor is Professor of Music History at Drake and a specialist on British art music of the later nineteenth and twentieth centuries, where his primary areas of study include the life and works of Ralph Vaughan Williams and topics in English pastoral music. He received a bachelor's degree in Violin Performance from Drake University, an M.A. in Musicology from Arizona State University, and a Ph.D. in Musicology from the University of Michigan. 

Dr. Saylor is the author of Vaughan Williams (Oxford University Press, 2022), named a 2022 Book of the Year by the Presto Music Awards and the Financial Times, and English Pastoral Music: From Arcadia to Utopia, 1900–1955 (University of Illinois Press, 2017). He is also the co-editor, with Christopher Scheer, of The Sea in the British Musical Imagination (The Boydell Press, 2015) and of Blackness in Opera, with Naomi André and Karen M. Bryan (University of Illinois Press, 2012). He has also written chapters for The Cambridge Companion to Vaughan Williams (Cambridge University Press, 2013), Vaughan Williams and His World (University of Chicago Press, 2023), and multiple essays for Cambridge University Press’s Composers In Context series (including for volumes dedicated to Vaughan Williams, Benjamin Britten, and a forthcoming one on Elizabeth Maconchy). Additionally, he has contributed to prominent music reference sources— including Oxford Bibliographies Online, the second edition of the New Grove Dictionary of American Music (Oxford University Press, 2013), and the British Library’s Discovering Music portal—and to leading periodicals such as the Journal of the Royal Musical Association, The Musical Quarterly, and Musik-Konzepte.

Dr. Saylor has received several honors and awards, including Outstanding Teacher of the Year from Drake's College of Arts and Sciences (2004), the Drake Humanities Research Scholar award (2018–21), and was named Drake University’s Luther M. Stalnaker Lecturer in 2024. A visiting research fellow at Merton College Oxford in 2019, he served as President of the North American British Music Studies Association (NABMSA) from 2016 until 2020, and currently holds the post of Series Editor for Clemson University Press’s Studies in British Musical Cultures series. His other areas of scholarly interest include historiography, intersections of music and politics, and shape-note hymnody.

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