Sarah Waltz

Sarah Waltz

Associate Professor
Program Director for Music History
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Sarah Waltz joined the faculty of University of the Pacific’s Conservatory of Music in fall 2007. She teaches the music history survey and several upper-level courses, including American Music, Women in Music as well as topics in 18th, 19th and 20th century music. She advises both the Bachelor of Music in Music History and the Bachelor of Arts in Music. The independent research produced by those undergraduate students has become a point of pride for the Conservatory and university. Research projects she has advised run the historical and cultural gamut from Black opera and hyperpop back to Lusitano motets.

Waltz is a noted presenter at many national and international conferences covering topics in several areas in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. She is currently collaborating with astronomer and historian of science Woodruff T. Sullivan III on a book project about the music, philosophy and astronomy of William Herschel, the composer who discovered the planet Uranus. For this interdisciplinary research, Waltz is a 2023 Whiteley Scholar at the University of Washington Friday Harbor Laboratories. Her efforts to bring this music to light were reported in the New York Times.

Her project on the Black violinist George Bridgtower, for whom Beethoven wrote his so-called “Kreutzer” sonata, deals with the same late-eighteenth-century English milieu and combines her Beethoven work with her growing research on women violinists. Her Beethoven scholarship has been published in Beethoven Forum and the Beethoven Journal. Waltz is also interested in questions of musical nationalism, particularly those that divide Europe into North and South, and has many projects involving settings of Scottish and Celtic poetry, German interest in Scotland, and Scotland's importance to German romanticism as representative of the North.

Additionally, Waltz specializes in the Mendelssohn and Schumann circles, English concert life, the rise of music criticism and musical biography, and the identification of style and convention. Her work has been supported by many grants, including the Jacob K. Javits Fellowship and the Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship in Humanistic Studies. She is a member of the American Musicological Society, the Society for Music Theory, the Royal Musical Association, the Society for Eighteenth-Century Music, the American Beethoven Society, the German Studies Association, the Society for American Music and the North American British Music Studies Association.

Waltz holds both a bachelor’s degree in physics from Oberlin College and a bachelor’s degree in musicology from Oberlin Conservatory, where she also studied flute with Michel Debost and Kathleen Chastain. She received her PhD in Music History from Yale University in May 2007. Her dissertation “The Highland Muse in Romantic German Music” concerns the image of Scotland in late eighteenth and early nineteenth-century German composition and criticism.


BA, Oberlin College

BM, Oberlin Conservatory

PhD, Yale University