​Philip Gentry is a musicologist specializing in the history of music in the United States during the twentieth century, both popular and classical. He is particularly interested in theoretical questions of history, identity, and politics. His book What Will I Be: American Music and Cold War Identity (Oxford University Press, 2017) traces the changing relationship between music and identity in four diverse musical scenes: the R&B world of doo-wop pioneers the Orioles, the early film musicals of Doris Day, Asian American cabaret in San Francisco, and John Cage’s infamous silent piece 4’33”. He has also published an article on Leonard Bernstein’s second symphony and a review essay of the musical Hamilton. He is currently writing a new book on 20th- and 21-century performances of early American history, analyzing how these creative historiographic practices inform contemporary political culture.

Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, Gentry earned his Ph.D. at UCLA and taught at the College of William & Mary before coming to the University of Delaware. At Delaware he teaches the music history sequence for undergraduates; graduate seminars in research methods and various special topics; literature surveys of symphonic and chamber repertoires, and general interest courses on soul, hip-hop and LGBTQ music history. He has also served a term as an at-large member of the national council of the American Musicological Society, and two terms as president of the society’s mid-Atlantic chapter. He lives in Philadelphia.


Ph.D. in Musicology, University of California, Los Angeles, 2008.

M.A. in Musicology, University of California, Los Angeles, 2005.

M.A. in Musicology, Brandeis University, 2003.

B.A. with High Honors in Music, Wesleyan University, 2002.

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