“A Glimpse of a Modern Graduate Music Seminar: Visit to Paul Henry Lang’s Columbia University Class Reveals How Scholars Work,” Musical America, February 10, 1940
Columbia University Archives, Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Columbia’s graduate program under Lang was in the forefront among American universities. Meanwhile, Lang had taken a primary role in launching the American Musicological Society, and had succeeded Carl Engel as Editor of The Musical Quarterly. In 1954 he was appointed chief Music Critic of the New York Herald Tribune, succeeding Virgil Thomson. At Columbia he established the Collegium Musicum and the Musicology Colloquium.
Lang’s landmark contribution to music literature, Music in Western Civilization, was first published in 1941. Recently reprinted with a new introduction by Leon Botstein, it remains the work for which he is best known. The book bears the distinctive hallmarks of his style: a breadth of knowledge and perspective, a deeply humanistic outlook, and a literary approach to scholarly writing.
In the half century since Paul Henry Lang opened a broad realm of possibilities for research in the Department of Music, the discipline now known as historical musicology came to be deeply rooted in American graduate education, a progress in which Columbia may claim a major role. Columbia’s Department of Music faculty remain at the forefront of the national and international scene in musicological research and related activities, and a number of those who have earned the Ph.D. in the department’s program in historical musicology have gone on to make significant contributions to the discipline.