Toru Momii (he/him) is Assistant Professor of Music at Harvard University. His research explores topics of musical interculturality, racial and colonial politics of U.S./Canadian music theory, intersections of music theory and Asian American studies, performance analysis, gagaku, and popular music of Japan and the Japanese diaspora. His article “A Transformational Approach to Gesture in Shō Performance” (2020) was awarded the 2021 Outstanding Publication Award from the Society for Music Theory. His research has been recognized by the SMT-40 Dissertation Fellowship from the Society for Music Theory and the Junior Fellowship in Japan Studies from the Weatherhead East Asian Institute. His writing appears in Music Theory Online and Circuit.

Toru is a co-founder of the Engaged Music Theory Working Group, which develops resources on the intersections between music theory and issues of cultural politics. He also serves as a faculty affiliate of Project Spectrum, a coalition of graduate students of color committed to addressing issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion in music academia.

Toru holds a Ph.D. in music theory from Columbia University (2021), an M.A. in music theory from McGill University, and a B.A. in music and economics from Vassar College (Phi Beta Kappa). Before joining the Department of Music at Harvard, Toru has taught music theory and aural skills at Indiana University Jacobs School of Music and Columbia University. Prior to pursuing academic research, he worked in the investment banking industry in Tokyo, Japan.


Ph.D. Columbia University, Music Theory (2021)
Dissertation: “Music Analysis and the Politics of Knowledge Production: Interculturality in the Music of Honjoh Hidejirō, Miyata Mayumi, and Mitski”

M.A. Schulich School of Music, McGill University, Music Theory (2015)

B.A. Vassar College, Music and Economics (2011)

Other Publications

“Performing Te: Form, Gesture, and Timbre in Fujikura Dai’s neo for Solo Shamisen.” Music Theory Spectrum Vol. 46, No. 2 (Forthcoming).

“Melodic Refusal and Racialized Anxiety in Mitski’s ‘Your Best American Girl.’” In Modeling Musical Analysis, edited by Kimberly Goddard Loeffert and John Peterson. New York: Oxford University Press, Forthcoming.

Review of As It Flows: The Resonance of Shō by Naoyuki Manabe. Circuit, musiques contemporaines Vol. 32, No. 1 (2022). https://doi.org/10.7202/1088789ar.

“A Transformational Approach to Gesture in Shō Performance.” Music Theory Online 26/4 (2020). https://mtosmt.org/issues/mto.20.26.4/mto.20.26.4.momii.html.

“Toward a Performance-based Analysis for the Shō.” SMT Performance and Analysis Interest Group Blog. October 25, 2019. https://smtpaig.wordpress.com/2019/10/25/toward-a-performance-based-analysis-for-the-sho/

Blog Posts


    Society for Music Theory

    American Musicological Society

    Toru Momii

    Profile picture of Toru Momii


    Active 1 year ago