Frederick (Fritz) Schenker

Assistant Professor Music Department

Northwestern University
University of Wisconsin - Madison

Frederick Schenker

Fritz Schenker's teaching and research centers on popular music, race, and empire. His current book project examines musical labor and jazz in colonial Asia, focusing on the travel and circulation of music and musicians in the 1920s along a littoral entertainment circuit extending from Japan to India. By focusing in particular on the experiences of Filipino and Filipina musicians, dancers, and songwriters, he explores the contradictory ways in which popular dance music was both a force of U.S. and European empire yet also a medium of disruption in multiple social forums and fields. Some of his other projects explore contested performances of musical blackness among contemporary New York jazz musicians inspired by Balkan music, global circulations of early Tin Pan Alley songs, and urban soundscapes of U.S. imperialism. His approach towards the study of music is also deeply informed by his experiences as a jazz and salsa pianist. Fritz received the Society for American Music's 2016 Wiley Housewright Dissertation Award.

Education: PhD Ethnomusicology, University of Wisconsin; B.A. American Studies, Northwestern University

Recent Publications:

-“‘A Circuit Tour of the Globe’: ‘Hiawatha’ and the Double-Stake of Imperial Pop.” Journal of the Society for American Music, Vol. 13, no. 1 (2019): 1-26. Link

-“Listening for Empire in Global Histories of Jazz.” In The Routledge Companion to Jazz Studies. Edited by Nick Gebhardt, Nichole Rustin- Paschal, Tony Whyton, 231-238. New York: Routledge, 2019. Link

-“Jazz in the British Empire: The Rise of the Asian Jazz Professional.” In Cross-Cultural Exchange and the Colonial Imaginary: Global Encounters via Southeast Asia. Edited by Hazel Hahn, 263-279. Singapore: National University of Singapore Press (distributed in U.S. by University of Chicago Press), 2019. Link

-“Jazz Freedoms: Balkan Rhythm, Race, and World Music.” Jazz Perspectives Vol. 10 (2016): 1-23. Link

Classes Taught:

-Music and Race

-Global Jazz

-Musics of the World

-Popular Music Industries Since the 1890s

-FYS, Selling Out: Exploring Music and Capitalism

-Popular Music in American Culture

-Musics of the Transpacific

-Rhythm and Roots


Professional Associations: Society for Ethnomusicology, American Studies Association, Society for American Music, Association for Asian Studies, International Association for the Study of Popular Music


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