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John P. Barker Distinguished Professor of Music, Founding Director, Next Level Cultural Diplomacy Program

Mark KatzMark Katz holds degrees from the College of William and Mary (B.A. in philosophy) and the University of Michigan (M.A., Ph.D. in musicology). Before joining the faculty at UNC, he taught at the Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins University (1999–2006). His scholarship focuses on music and technology, hip hop, cultural diplomacy, music and incarceration, and the violin. He has written five books, Capturing Sound: How Technology has Changed Music (2004, rev. ed. 2010), The Violin: A Research and Information Guide (2006), Groove Music: The Art and Culture of the Hip-Hop DJ (2012), Build: The Power of Hip Hop Diplomacy in a Divided World (2019), and Music and Technology: A Very Short Introduction (2022). He is currently at work on Rap and Redemption on Death Row, a co-authored book with incarcerated musician Alim Braxton. He co-edited (with Timothy Taylor and Tony Grajeda) the collection Music, Sound, and Technology in America (2012). He is former editor of the Journal of the Society for American Music and served for many years on the National Recording Preservation Board. Katz has served on the Boards of Directors of the American Musicological Society and the Society for American Music. He is a former chair of the Department of Music and former Director of UNC’s Institute for the Arts and Humanities.

Professor Katz teaches courses on music and technology, popular music, music and incarceration, and cultural diplomacy. In 2011 he received an Innovation Grant from UNC’s Institute for the Arts and Humanities to expand the scope and reach of university-level music pedagogy. One result of this grant was the creation of several new courses, including The Art and Culture of the DJ, Beat Making Lab, Rap Lab, and Rock Lab. Aimed at students without formal musical training, these courses introduce students to composition, performance, music history, entrepreneurship, and community engagement. Katz launched the Carolina Hip Hop Institute, an intensive hands-on summer workshop that brings experienced artist-educators to teach rap, beatmaking and production, and hip hop dance.

In 2013, Katz became the founding Director of Next Level, a U.S. Department of State–funded program that sends U.S. hip hop artists abroad to foster cultural exchange, conflict transformation, and entrepreneurship. He continues to work in an advisory role with Next Level and lectures on hip hop diplomacy around the world. Until 2019, when Katz stepped down as Director, the program conducted workshops in 30 countries on six continents, and generated more than $5 million in grants. His work in promoting the arts and music education in underserved communities has been recognized through awards from the Freedoms Foundation, the Hip-Hop Education Center, and Indy Weekly.

In 2016, Katz was awarded Royal Musical Association’s Dent Medal, which credited him with taking “musicology and hip-hop studies in bold new directions, creating a model of exemplary and ethical scholarship that internationalizes the discipline in productive ways.” In 2017, Katz was awarded UNC’s University Diversity Award for Faculty, recognizing his significant contributions to diversity, equity, and inclusion on campus and in the community. As Director of the Institute for Arts and Humanities he helped launch UNC’s Faculty of Color and Indigenous Faculty Group and raised $100,000 in support of it.

Professor Katz speaks frequently to academic and non-academic audiences. He has presented his work in 20 countries, including invited talks and keynote lectures at the British Library, Cambridge University, Fondazione Giorgio Cini, Harvard University, KTH Royal Institute of Technology Stockholm, Leiden University, NOVA University Lisbon, Oxford University, Stanford University, University of California Santa Cruz, University of Jordan, University of Turku, University of Zurich, the U.S. Department of Energy, and the U.S. Department of State. He enjoys engaging with general audiences and as has spoken at elementary schools, museums, music festivals, public libraries, retirement communities, and on podcasts and radio and television programs.

Learn more about Professor Katz’s work from these interviews and articles:


Music and Technology: A Very Short Introduction. New York: Oxford University Press, 2022.

Build: The Power of Hip-Hop Diplomacy in a Divided World. New York: Oxford University Press, 2019.

Groove Music: The Art and Culture of the Hip-Hop DJ. New York: Oxford University Press, 2012.

Music, Sound, and Technology in America. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2012. (Co-edited with Timothy Taylor and Tony Grajeda).

The Violin: A Research and Information Guide. New York and London: Routledge, 2006.

Capturing Sound: How Technology has Changed Music. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2004. Revised edition published in 2010. Winner of the 2007 Hacker Prize from the Society for the History of Technology.

Articles And Book Chapters

“Connecting Students and Artistic Communities: Understanding Agency, Fostering Empathy, and Expanding Representation in the Classroom.” In Sound Pedagogy: Radical Care as Social Justice in Post-Secondary Music, ed. Colleen Renihan, John Spilker, and Trudi Wright. Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, forthcoming in 2023.

Response to H-Diplo Roundtable XXII-5 on Build: The Power of Hip Hop Diplomacy in a Divided World, H-Diplo, September 28, 2020.

“Listening to Recorded Sound.” In The Bloomsbury Handbook of Music Production, ed. Simon Zagorski-Thomas and Andrew Bourbon, 383–91. London: Bloomsbury, 2020.

“Authorship in the Age of Configurable Music.” In Rethinking American Music, ed. Tara Browner and Thomas Riis, 312–23. Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2019. [Revised and updated version of “Autorschaft im Zeitalter konfigurierbarer Musik.”]

“Music Technology.” In Oxford Bibliographies in Music. Ed. Bruce Gustafson. New York: Oxford University Press, 2013, rev. 2018. (Co-authored with Brian Jones.)

“Autorschaft im Zeitalter konfigurierbarer Musik.” Trans. Friedrich Sprondel. In Wessen Klänge: Über Autorschaft in Neuer Musik, ed. Hermann Danuser and Matthias Kassel, 123–33. Mainz: Schott, 2017.

“The Case for Hip-Hop Diplomacy.” American Music Review 47 (Spring 2017): 1–4.

Preserving Heritage, Fostering Change: Accidental Archives in Country Music and Hip-Hop.” (Co-authored with David VanderHamm.) Public Historian 37 (November 2015): 32–46.

“The Persistence of Analogue.” In Musical Listening in the Age of Technological Reproduction, ed. Gianmario Borio, 275–87. Surrey, England: Ashgate, 2015.

“What Does it Mean to Study Popular Music? A Musicologist’s Perspective.” Journal of Popular Music Studies 26, no. 1 (2014): 22–27.

“Songwriting as Musicological Inquiry: Examples from the Popular Music Classroom.” Journal of Music History Pedagogy 2 (March 2012): 133–52. (Co-authored with Travis Stimeling.)

“Amateurism in the Age of Mechanical Music.” In The Oxford Handbook of Sound Studies, ed. Trevor Pinch and Karin Bijsterveld. New York: Oxford University Press, 2011.

“Beware of Gramomania: The Pleasures and Pathologies of Record Collecting.” In The Record, ed. Trevor Schoonmaker. Durham: Duke University Press, 2010.

“Men, Women, and Turntables: Gender and the DJ Battle.” Musical Quarterly 89 (Summer 2006): 580–99. [Publication date April 2008.]

“Portamento and the Phonograph Effect.” Journal of Musicological Research 25 (2006): 211–32.

“Beethoven in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction: The Violin Concerto on Record.” Beethoven Forum 10 (Spring 2003): 38–55.

“Hindemith, Toch, and Grammophonmusik.” Journal of Musicological Research 20 (2001): 161–80.

“Aesthetics out of Exigency: Violin Vibrato and the Phonograph.” In I Sing the Body Electric: Music and Technology in the Twentieth Century, ed. Hans-Joachim Braun, 186–97. Hofheim: Wolke, 2000. Also published as Music and Technology in the Twentieth Century. Baltimore and London: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2002.

“Making America More Musical Through the Phonograph, 1900–1930.” American Music 16 (Winter 1998): 448–75.

• American Music Diplomacy (graduate)
• The Art and Culture of the DJ (undergraduate)
• Arts Entrepreneurship (undergraduate, with Ken Weiss)
• Beat Making Lab (undergraduate, with Stephen Levitin)
• Capturing Sound: How Technology has Changed Music (undergraduate)
• Hip Hop Diplomacy (graduate and undergraduate)
• Introduction to Rock (undergraduate)
• Making and Marketing Music in the Digital Age (undergraduate)
• Music and Incarceration (graduate)
• Music in the Community (undergraduate)
• Music, Technology, and Culture (graduate and undergraduate)
• Musicology Colloquium (graduate)
• Resources and Methods in Musicology (graduate)
• Under the Covers—Identity and Interpretation in Popular Music (graduate, with Jocelyn Neal)
• Virtuosity (undergraduate)
• World Musics in Theory and Practice (undergraduate)