Maria Ryan


Sixth Year Graduate Student in Musicology

215 898-7544

103, Music Building

Maria Ryan is interested in how and why we write and teach histories of music. She is committed to collaborative work, and to exploring the possibilities of creating empowering classrooms for the study of music history. Her dissertation focuses on race and music in the nineteenth-century British colonial Caribbean, exploring the ways in which African and African-descended people, enslaved and free, engaged with European music through listening, performance, theorizing, and composition, in the decades before and after emancipation.

Maria is also interested in twentieth- and twenty-first-century British opera; she is the author of the chapter “Angels in the Archive: Animating the Past in Written on Skin” in the volume Recomposing the Past: Representations of Early Music on Stage and Screen (London: Routledge, 2018). Prior to joining Penn, she worked at the Cultural Institute at King’s College London and the music department of Westminster Abbey, both of which influenced how she thinks about institutional memory and the relationship between art and the state. Maria holds a graduate certificate in Africana Studies from the University of Pennsylvania, a BA in music from the University of Nottingham, and an MMus from King’s College London.