Megan Ross

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Music Department
Visiting Assistant Professor

Ph.D., The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Fields: Critical Reception Theory, Beethoven Studies, Hip-Hop


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Megan Ross ’11 is proud to be returning to the Holy Cross Music department as a Visiting Assistant Professor. She specializes in the reception of Beethoven and his music, as well as hip-hop music and education. Originally from East Northport, N.Y., she holds a B.A. in Music from the College of the Holy Cross, M.M. in Musicology from Boston University, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Musicology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Prof. Ross enjoys teaching a wide variety of courses on topics ranging from western art music, hip-hop, world music, women and music, politics and music, rock, and theory. She is active in the local community as both a scholar and an educator by giving public musicology talks for multiple organizations, including Tanglewood and Music Worcester, as well as by offering community-based learning projects for her students at Holy Cross.

Prof. Ross’s research in Beethoven studies began as a music major at Holy Cross. Her dissertation under the direction of Prof. Mark Evan Bonds, “The Critical and Artistic Reception of Beethoven’s String Quartet in C♯ minor, Op. 131,” synthesizes a broad range of interpretations of a string quartet that is paradigmatic of the composer’s so-called “late” style. Her ongoing work questions the meaning of late style, its continued valorization in the western art music canon, and the critical and artistic reception of works belonging to this oeuvre from the 1820s down to the present. These topics emerge in her essay for Bonner Beeethoven-Studien, “The Late Quartets and Wagner’s 1870 Beethoven Essay Revisited” (forthcoming 2020). In her most recent article, “The Power of Allusion: Beethoven’s Grosse Fuge and Op. 130 VI,” Prof. Ross studies Beethoven’s music through analysis of his hand-written sketches.   

Prof. Ross is also engaged in ethnographic research projects related to the field of hip-hop. Currently, she is exploring the history of the local hip-hop scene in the greater Boston area. In another project she investigates the entrance and development of hip-hop DJing in educational institutions from the early 2000s to the present as part of an ongoing quest for legitimacy within hip-hop and the broader world, as well as a response to the increasing dominance of digital technologies. This project began as a master’s thesis under the direction of Prof. Mark Katz: “Continuing the Quest for Legitimacy: The Institutionalization of Hip-Hop DJing Education.”