Dr. Vera Micznik

Professor Emerita of Music (2014), Musicology

Dip. (Bucharest Conserv.), MA (Virginia), PhD (S.U.N.Y., S.B.)


Areas of Interest

Nineteenth- and early twentieth-century music; Gustav Mahler; Program Music: aesthetics and analysis (Berlioz, Liszt); Applications of literary theory to music: Music with/without explicit words, Narrativity in Music, Music Textuality; Semiotics; Opera–especially Women in Opera; General issues of meaning in music, historiography, and interdisciplinarity.

Current Projects

Revisions for publication submission of an article entitled “Schumann’s and Mahler’s Musical Settings of Faust as Documents in the History of Faust’s Reception.” 64 pp.

Book of essays on music with/without words, including program music, issues of narrative, and “ways of telling” (discourse) in instrumental and vocal music.



  • Editor (Associated), A Vision of the Orient: The Texts, Contexts, and Intertexts of 'Madama Butterfly' (Toronto: The University of Toronto Press, 2006).

Articles and Reviews

  • Invited Book Review Essay: Julian Johnson. Mahler’s Voices: Expression and Irony in the Songs and Symphonies (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009), for twentieth-century music (Cambridge Journal Online), Issue 8/1 (March 2011): 105-113.
  • Invited Book Review Essay: Approaches to Meaning in Music, ed. by Byron Almen and Edward Pearsall (Bloomington: University of Indiana Press, 2006), in Theoria-Journal of History of Theory 15 (Univ. of North Texas, 2008):109-122.
  • “Music and Aesthetics: the programmatic issue,” Chapter in The Cambridge Companion to Mahler, edited by Jeremy Barham (London: Cambridge University Press, 2007), pp. 35-49.
  • "The Musico-Dramatic Narrative of Berlioz's Lélio." Chapter in a book The Musical Voyager: Berlioz in Europe, edited by David Charlton and Katharine Ellis (Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, 2007), pp.184-207.
  • "Cio-Cio-San the Geisha." Chapter in a book entitled A Vision of the Orient: The Texts, Contexts, and Intertexts of 'Madama Butterfly' (Toronto: The University of Toronto Press, 2006), pp.36-58.
  • "Le rhythme dans le discours musical: le Requiem de Berlioz." Les 2es Rencontres Interartistiques de l'Observatoire Musical Francais. (Paris: Publications de l'Universite Sorbonne, 2006), pp.35-42.
  • "'Ways of Telling' in Mahler's Music: The Third Symphony as Narrative Text." Chapter in a book Perspectives on Gustav Mahler, edited by Jeremy Barham (Ashgate Press, 2005), pp. 295-323.
  • "Narrative in Music Revisited: Degrees of Narrativity in Mahler and Beethoven." Journal of the Royal Music Association no. 126/2 (Fall 2001), 194-249.
  • "Of Ways of Telling, Intertextuality, and Historical Evidence in Berlioz's Roméo et Juliette." 19th-Century Music (Summer 2000), 21-61.
  • "The Absolute Limitations of Program Music: the Case of Liszt's Die Ideale," Music and Letters 80/2 (1999): 207-240.
  • "Textual and Contextual Analysis: Mahler's Fifth Symphony and Scientific Thought." The International Review of Aesthetics and Sociology of Music, 27/1 (September 1996):13-30.
  • "The Farewell Story of Mahler's Ninth Symphony," 19th Century Music 20/2 (Fall, 1996):162-184.
  • "Mahler and the 'Power of Genre'," The Journal of Musicology XII/2 (Spring, 1994): 117-151.
  • Essay/Review of Kofi Agawu, Playing with Signs and of Jean-Jacques Nattiez, Music and Discourse, in Journal of the American Musicological Society vol. XLV/2 (1992): 526-535.
  • "Is Mahler's Music Autobiographical? A Reappraisal."; In Henry-Louis de La Grange ed., Revue Mahler Review 1 (Paris, 1987): 47-63.
  • "Gesture as Sign: A Semiotic Interpretation of Alban Berg's Op. 6 no. 1," In Theory Only 9/4 September 1986): 19-35.

Papers Presented

  • "Mahler's Eighth and Das Lied--An Exploration of Their Discursive Similarities", at the "Gustav Mahler Centenary Conference: Mahler, Contemporary of the Past?" University of Surrey, Guilford, UK, July 7-9, 2011.
  • "Schumann's and Mahler's Faust," invited presentation at the University of Texas, Austin, School of Music. April 2008; Conference "Ferne Heimatklange--Gustav Mahler und die Moderne", Cologne 6-7 May, 2010; and revised under the title "Discursive Techniques in Schumann's and Mahler's Faust" at the conference "A Work of Art of the Higher Artistic Order: Text and Context of Gustav Mahler's Eighth Symphony," June 16-18, 2010, Ottawa, National Arts Centre.
  • “Le rythme dans le discours musical: le Requiem de Berlioz” (Deuxièmes Rencontres Intérartistiques de l’Observatoire Musical Français, Université de Sorbonne IV, Paris, France, 22-24 March, 2005)
  • "Berlioz's 'Surtitles' in the Requiem" (Conference "Hector Berlioz in the Age of French Romanticism," University of North Texas, Denton, TX, November 11-12, 2003).
  • "Discursive Techniques in Berlioz's Lélio ou Le Retour à la Vie" (Conference "Interpreting Berlioz," November 2002, London, England).
  • "Cio-Cio-San the Geisha," (Part of a presentation entitled "The Politics of Madame Butterfly" by the UBC Hampton "Butterfly" research group at Congress 2000, The Canadian Comparative Literature Association Meeting, Edmonton, May 27, 2000; also given as a Panel Presentation at the Interdisciplinary Symposium "Narrative Representations of the 'Madame Butterfly Myth' in Fiction, Film and Music," Green College, The University of British Columbia, 1997).
  • "Music With/Without Words: Supplementarity in Berlioz's Musical Narratives." (Invited Lecture, Yale University, April 1999; and "Rethinking Interpretive Traditions in Musicology," An International Musicological Conference, Tel Aviv University, Israel, June, 1999)
  • "Liszt's An die Künstler: Music, Text and the Ideology of Zukunftsmusik." (Annual Meeting of the American Musicological Society, Boston 1998)
  • "Textual and Contextual Analysis: Mahler's Fifth Symphony and Scientific Thought." (International Mahler Symposium, University of Colorado at Boulder, 1998; and at "Border Crossings: Future Directions in Music Studies" Conference, The University of Ottawa., March 1995).
  • "Roméo et Juliette: Beethoven and Berlioz Recount the 'Love Scene.'" (Annual Meeting of the American Musicological Society, Minneapolis 1994)


Graduate Seminars Taught

  • Critical readings in Music (2005)
  • Music and Language (2004)
  • Music and Textuality (2002)
  • Berlioz (2001)
  • Constructions of Musical Meaning in Mahler’s Symphonies (2001)
  • Intersections between Music and Literature (19th-and 20th -centuries) (1999)
  • Gustav Mahler’s Symphonic Works: Myth Formation in Music Criticism (1998, 1989)
  • Wagner’s Ring (1997, 2007)
  • Music and Representation (1996)
  • Program Music: Aesthetic, Analytical and Compositional Issues (1994, 1990)
  • Music and Narrative (1992)
  • Vienna 1900-1920 (1991)

Undergraduate senior seminars

  • Music in Culture
  • The Lied Cycle
  • Women, Opera, Politics
  • The Symphonic Poem
  • Schubert