Michael Cuthbert

Associate Professor, History/Culture, Music

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Michael Scott Cuthbert, Associate Professor of Music (AB ’98, AM ’01, Ph. D. ’06, Harvard University) is a musicologist who has worked extensively on music of the fourteenth-century, computational musicology, and minimalism and other music of the past forty years. His publications include seven articles on computational musicology, Ars Nova: French and Italian Music of the Fourteenth Century (with John Nádas), “Generalized Set Analysis and Sub-Saharan African Rhythm,” and “Free Improvisation: John Zorn and the Construction of Jewish Identity through Music.” Cuthbert’s current book project, Ars Mutandi, covers sacred music in Italy during the Black Death and Great Schism.

His article, “Tipping the Iceberg: Missing Italian Polyphony from the Age of Schism,” used computer simulations to contradict the unquestioned assumption that most written medieval music has been lost. Cuthbert’s research lab has produced “music21,” an open-source toolkit for computer-aided musical analysis, which has an installed user base in the thousands. Cuthbert's awards include the Rome Prize in Medieval Studies, the Villa I Tatti Fellowship in Italian Renaissance Studies, and a Fellowship in Music at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University. As a composer, his works have been performed by the Bang on a Can All-Stars and other groups. Prior to coming to MIT, Cuthbert was on the faculties of Smith and Mount Holyoke Colleges.