Karol Berger

Karol Berger2

Karol Berger, PhD

  • Osgood Hooker Professor in Fine Arts, Emeritus
  • Professor of Musicology, Emeritus
  • Professor, by courtesy, of German Studies, Emeritus
  • Affiliated faculty at The Europe Center

Department of Music
Stanford University
Stanford, CA 94305-3076

(650) 725-2693 (voice)
(650) 725-2686 (fax)


Karol Berger (Ph.D. Yale 1975) is the Osgood Hooker Professor in Fine Arts, Emeritus at the Department of Music, as well as an affiliated faculty at the Department of German Studies, and an affiliated researcher at the Europe Center.  A native of Poland, he has lived in the U.S. since 1968 and taught at Stanford since 1982.  He has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, American Council of Learned Societies, the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Study and Conference Center, and Stanford Humanities Center.  In 2011-12 he has been the EURIAS Senior Fellow at the Institut für die Wissenschaften vom Menschen in Vienna.  In 2005-2006, he was the Robert Lehman Visiting Professor at Villa I Tatti, The Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies.  He is a foreign member of the Polish Academy of Sciences, an honorary member of the American Musicological Society, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a foreign member of the Polish Academy of Arts and Sciences (Cracow), and a foreign member of the Academia Europaea.  His Musica Ficta received the 1988 Otto Kinkeldey Award of the American Musicological Society, his Bach's Cycle, Mozart's Arrow the 2008 Marjorie Weston Emerson Award of the Mozart Society of America, and his Beyond Reason the 2018 Otto Kinkeldey Award of the American Musicological Society.  In 2011 he received the Glarean Prize from the Swiss Musicological Society and in 2014 the Humboldt Research Award of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.

Selected publications:

  • Musica Ficta:  Theories of Accidental Inflections in Vocal Polyphony from Marchetto da Padova to Gioseffo Zarlino (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987; paperback 2004).
  • A Theory of Art (New York: Oxford University Press, 2000; paperback 2002; also available in the Oxford Scholarship Online philosophy series). Polish translation: Potega smaku. Teoria sztuki, trans. Anna Tenczynska (Gdansk: slowo/obraz terytoria, 2008).
  • Bach's Cycle, Mozart's Arrow:  An Essay on the Origins of Musical Modernity (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2007; paperback 2008). 
  • Beyond Reason: Wagner contra Nietzsche (Berkeley and Los Angeles:  University of California Press, 2017).