Researcher invited in 2016
Researcher specialized in popular music
Todd Decker has published three books on commercial popular music in the United States from the 1920s to the present: Music Makes Me: Fred Astaire and Jazz (University of California Press, 2011), Show Boat: Performing Race in an American Musical (Oxford University Press, 2013), Who Should Sing “Ol’ Man River”?: The Lives of an American Song (Oxford University Press, 2015).
Prof. Decker has given numerous scholarly presentations nationally and internationally, including at the Library of Congress, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the University of Texas at Austin, the College of William and Mary, and Northwestern University. Decker’s articles, book chapters, and blog posts consider race in Hollywood and Broadway musicals, archival research on the Broadway musical, the closeting of gay characters and films in the 1990s, Martin Scorsese’s use of popular music in the film Casino, Oscar Hammerstein II’s humanitarian ideals in The King and I, and disco in the film The Martian.
Prof. Decker received his Ph.D. in historical musicology at the University of Michigan in 2007 and was selected for an Alvin H. Johnson AMS 50 Fellowship by the American Musicological Society in 2006-07. He joined the faculty of Washington University in fall 2007—after a one-year visiting position at UCLA—and teaches courses on twentieth-century American popular music, film music, and eighteenth-century European art music.