TARUSKIN, RICHARD (1945– ), U.S. musicologist and critic born in New York. He graduated from Columbia University with the M.A. thesis "Vladimir Vasilievich Stasov: Functionary in Art" (1968). He studied at the Moscow State Conservatory (1972) and continued his Russian studies, receiving a Ph.D. in 1975. He published thereafter articles and books on Russian music, including Opera and Drama in Russia as Preached and Practiced in the 1860s (1981; 19932); Musorgsky: Eight Essays and an Epilogue (1992); Stravinsky and the Russian Tradition: A Biography of Works through Mavra (1996); and Defining Russia Musically: Historical and Hermeneutical Essays (1997). He developed parallel studies in the history of Western music and wrote a masterwork in six volumes, The Oxford History of Western Music (2004), in which he focused on the history of musical culture rather than on the selected classic repertoire as the traditional German concept taught. In his other activity as performer he was a choral conductor (director of the Columbia University Collegium Musicum and Cappella Nova) as well as viola da gamba soloist. He also recorded and edited numerous compositions of early and Renaissance music and wrote critical essays collected in his book Text and Act: Essays on Music and Performance (1995). His teaching career developed first at Columbia University (from 1973 to 1987), then at the University of California, Berkeley, where he was appointed professor of music in 1997. Taruskin was a constant contributor to the New York Times, New Republic, Opus, Atlantic Monthly, and Opera News. His phenomenal erudition, consistent historical thinking, and writer's gift made him unrivaled in the musicology of our time. He was awarded the Greenberg Prize (1978); the Alfred Einstein Award (1980), the Dent Medal (1987), and the Kinkeldey Prize (1997). He was a member of the American Philosophical Society.
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Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.