Deirdre Loughridge is a music historian who specializes in musical cultures of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and in the history of music and technology. Her work engages with the history of science and media studies to illuminate music from material and multisensory perspectives. Loughridge’s book, Haydn’s Sunrise, Beethoven’s Shadow: Audiovisual Culture and the Emergence of Musical Romanticism (University of Chicago Press, 2016), won the 2017 Kenshur prize for outstanding monograph in eighteenth-century studies. In 2019 she was awarded a membership at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, NJ to work on her new book, Sounding Human.
Loughridge’s book Haydn’s Sunrise, Beethoven’s Shadow demonstrates how proliferating optical technologies in the 18th century fueled innovations in performance, listening practices, and ways of thinking and writing about music. The book-in-progress, Sounding Human, explores how music has been used to define the nature of, and relationships between humans and machines from the eighteenth century to today. Loughridge’s numerous research articles and reviews have appeared in such publications as the Journal of Musicology, Eighteenth-Century Music, Journal of the Royal Musical Association, Cambridge Opera Journal, Early Music, and other musicological journals and edited volumes.
Loughridge also writes for broad audiences, bringing a historical perspective to contemporary issues. Her essays have appeared in such publications as Even Magazine and Art or Sound (Fondazione Prada). She is also co-founder and curator, with Thomas Patteson, of the Museum of Imaginary Musical Instruments, a web-based project that has been featured in the Public Domain Review, and in a gallery exhibit at the San Francisco Center for New Music.
Loughridge’s work has been supported by fellowships from the Mellon Foundation and the American Council of Learned Societies. She received her B.A. from the University of Chicago (in music and biology/neuroscience), and Ph.D. in music history from the University of Pennsylvania. Before coming to Northeastern, she taught at the University of California, Berkeley. Loughridge is also a cellist whose playing can be heard on various albums, including by The Wiggly Tendrils and her chamber-pop band Deirdre & Conor.