Cristina Magaldi Ph.D. ’94

3 min read
Department of Musicology Alumni Cristina Magaldi Ph.D. ’94
Cristina Magaldi Ph.D. ’94, Musicology

Department of Musicology

Cristina Magaldi is a musicologist who specializes in the music of Latin America, Brazilian music, music and globalization, music and nationalism, popular music, and music and gender. A professor at Towson University, Magaldi earned her B.A. from the University of Brasilia, her M.M. from Reading University and her Ph.D. from UCLA. She is the author of many published papers and her book “Music in Imperial Rio de Janeiro: European Culture in a Tropical Milieu” received the Robert M. Stevenson Award, which was granted by the American Musicological Society for the best publication on an Iberian in 2005. Magaldi was also the 2009 winner of the Irving Lowens Article Award, granted by the Society for American Music, for “Cosmopolitanism and World Music in Rio de Janeiro at the Turn of the Twentieth Century,” which is featured in “Musical Quarterly: Volume 92.”

In an interview with Magaldi, she shared her insights into her early scholarly influences, balancing research and teaching, and advice for musicology students.

  • You’re a professor and scholar who has been published several times, including a book. How did your time at UCLA contribute to your career success?

During my time at UCLA I had the chance to learn from the best scholars, both in music and in other disciplines like history, sociology, and Latin American Studies. At UCLA I also interacted with many scholars who came to campus to visit or to lecture and who exposed me to a range of ideas and approaches to viewing music and history. Finally, the support I received from the institutions and the resources available in my area were crucial for my development as a scholar.

  • Can you talk about early influences that led you to choosing musicology as an area of study?

My early influence in this direction was during my master’s degree in performance in Reading University, England. A prominent music theorist, my advisor Dr. Jonathan Dunsby opened my eyes to music scholarship, which I channeled to my specific areas of interest.

  • Was there a particular UCLA faculty member who impacted your scholarship?

Yes. Dr. Robert Stevenson’s wide knowledge about musics in Latin America furthered my own interests, and his support to my work was invaluable. Dr. Susan McClary’s focus on the social and cultural aspects of music making assisted me in widening my research interests and in venturing into academic areas that were new to me. 

  • Like most professors, you teach and also conduct your own research and writing. Can you talk about how you balance these two roles?

It is very difficult to balance teaching and research, especially at a university that requires heavy teaching loads. I ended up focusing more on teaching during the academic year and pushing my research into the summer and school recesses. I never found a perfect balance, to be honest, but deadlines for publication help keep you on track.

  • Has your approach to teaching changed from when you first started? If so, how?

With the development of online research tools, I assume that general information is available to most University students, so my teaching is now mostly devoted to assist my students to make sense of the available information and to develop their own line of thought according to their individual background and interests.

  • What advice would you give to current students and/or young alumni of The Herb Alpert School of Music who are pursuing musicology?
  1. Love what you do; 2) Find your own path, and most importantly; 3) Use what you know for the betterment of our world.

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