Jordan Musser’s research focuses on music and politics in the twentieth century, and secondarily on musical aesthetics and criticism in nineteenth-century Europe. His current book project, tentatively titled Managing the Crisis: Music, Neoliberalism, and the Popular Avant-Garde in Britain, 1975–84, uses four case studies to explore how free improvisers, performance artists, punk bands, and reggae musicians in Britain both reacted against and ambivalently drew on burgeoning Thatcherism in the process of traversing fine-arts and mass-popular formations. His doctoral thesis, which serves as the book’s foundation, won the Donald J. Grout Memorial Prize for exceptional dissertations in music from Cornell University, where he earned the Ph.D. in Musicology in 2020. Jordan’s most recent publication is “The Avant-Garde is in the Audience: On the Popular Avant-Gardism of Linton Kwesi Johnson’s Dub Poetry,” which appeared in Twentieth-Century Music (Fall 2019). Nineteenth-century projects have concentrated on Austro-German music cultures, and research for them led to the article, “Carl Czerny’s Mechanical Reproductions,” which was published in the Journal of the American Musicological Society (Summer 2019).
Jordan’s scholarly investments far exceed his research specializations. This is reflected in his teaching at Syracuse, which has included courses such as “Global Pop and Politics,” “Music in Multicultural America,” “Introduction to World Music,” “Film Music,” “Music and Media,” and “History of Punk.”
Before moving to upstate New York, Jordan earned the M.A. in the Humanities from the University of Chicago, and before that the B.M. in Music Education from Susquehanna University. His research has been supported by the American Musicological Society, the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst, the Westfield Center for Historical Keyboard Studies, the Don M. Randel Teaching and Research Fellowship, and other prizes and institutions. Standout conference appearances include the annual meeting of the American Musicological Society, the biennial meeting of the North American British Music Studies Association, and the Music and the Moving Image conference at New York University. Jordan’s reviews have been featured in forums such as Metal Music Studies, the Newsletter of the Westfield Center for Historical Keyboard Studies, and Sounding Out!. He also plays music regularly, most recently as a drummer for the Latin American music ensemble, Palonegro.