Sarah Tomlinson

Ph.D. candidate 

Originally from Penfield, N.Y., Sarah moved to Chapel Hill after graduating from Michigan State University in 2014. She holds a B.M. in Music Education and a B.A. in Music, earning both degrees with high honors. She completed a M.A. in Musicology at UNC-CH in 2016 with a master’s thesis examining the ways that activist, pianist, and singer-songwriter Nina Simone resisted racism and engaged with black consciousness before she composed her first explicitly political protest song in 1963. Sarah is currently a PhD candidate researching her dissertation on the history and current practice of classical music programming for children’s audiences in the United States. Her dissertation work involves archival research on influential historical programs including Walter Damrosch’s Music Appreciation Hour and Leonard Bernstein’s Young People’s Concerts as well as present-day ethnographic research with the North Carolina Symphony’s education program and participatory research with the Global Scholars Academy, an elementary and middle school in Durham, NC. Sarah traces how children’s concert music has been canonized in the past and strategizes how to make that canon more diverse and inclusive in the present day. Her interdisciplinary and multi-method research is informed by her enrollment in a graduate certificate in Cultural Studies and a graduate certificate in Participatory Research.

Office: 219 Hill Hall


“Singing the Archive in the Schoolroom: A Collaboration between the Library of Congress and the Global Scholars Academy.” Library of Congress Folklife Today Blog, September 7, 2018.

Review of The Oxford Handbook of Children’s Musical Cultures edited by Patricia Shehan Campbell and Trevor Wiggins. Music & Letters 99/1, 2018.

“‘And I Want You To Walk Down Freedom’s Road’: Rethinking Resistance in the Music of Nina Simone, 1958-1963.” MA Thesis, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2016.

Review of Women Music Educators in the United States: A History by Sondra Wieland Howe. SAM Bulletin 27, 2016. VolXLII3-Fall2016.php#Reviews.

“Beef, Cowboys, and Republicans: The Rugged Aaron Copland?” Red Cedar Undergraduate Research: Michigan State University 5 (2015): 23-9.

Conference Presentations

“The Classical Music Canon for Children and Youth: A Case Study at the North Carolina Symphony.” Presented at the Teaching Music History Conference, Terre Haute, IN, June 8, 2018.

“Youth Perspectives, Fan Mail, and Representations of Classical Music on the Music Appreciation Hour and Young People’s Concerts, 1928–72.” Presented at the Society for American Music Conference, Kansas City, MO, March 4, 2018.

“Songs for Schoolrooms: Alan Lomax’s Folk Music of America Broadcasts, 1939-1940.” Presented at the Library of Congress ‘Transatlantic Call: People to People’ Public Conference, Washington, DC, September 22, 2017.

“‘Wherever there’s a conductor, you’re sure to find a dead composer’: Setting the Standard of Western Classical Music Programming for Youth Audiences in the United States.” Presented at the University of Bern Branding ‘Western Music’ Conference, Bern, Switzerland, September 9, 2017.

“Nina Simone’s Movements Around New York City, 1958-1963: Pan-Africanist Collaboration, Music Making, and Ideology.” Presented at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill/King’s College London Joint Graduate Music Conference, Chapel Hill, NC, August 26, 2016.

“Women, Nature and Fantasy in Taylor Swift’s ‘Out of the Woods.’” Presented at Taylor Talk: A Pop-Up Conference on 1989, Chapel Hill, NC, April 28, 2016.

“Arnold Schoenberg’s ‘Warnung,’ Opus 3, no. 3: Madwomen, Sapphonics, and the Spectacle of Female Violence.” Presented at the Society for Music Analysis Conference, Staffordshire, UK, July 8, 2015.

“‘And I Have Poisoned Him’: Arnold Schönberg’s ‘Warnung,’ Opus 3, No. 3, and the Spectacle of Female Violence.” Presented at the American Musicological Society Southeast Chapter Conference, Winston-Salem, NC, February 14, 2015. Revised version presented at Boston University’s Annual Graduate Student Conference, Boston, MA, February 28, 2015.

“Minnie, The Girl Who Lived: Why Cowgirls Make Better Role Models Than Angels.” Presented at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research, Lexington, KY, April 4, 2014.

“Beef, Cowboys, and Republicans: The Rugged Aaron Copland?” Presented at the Michigan State University Undergraduate Research and Arts Forum, East Lansing, MI, April 12, 2013. Revised version presented at the Michigan State University Musicology and Music Theory Department Colloquium, East Lansing, MI, December 6, 2013.

Recitation Instructor

MUSC 142: Great Musical Works Spring 2017
MUSC 146: Introduction to World Music Spring 2016

Teaching Assistant

MUSC 291: Music and Politics Fall 2018
MUSC 291: Music and Politics: Hip Hop Diplomacy and Social Justice Fall 2017
MUSC 145: Introduction to Jazz Fall 2016
MUSC 121: Fundamentals of Music Fall 2015
MUSC 144: Introduction to Country Music Spring 2015
MUSC 148: Introduction to Black Music Fall 2014