Eugene Narmour, PhD ’74, Receives Professional Achievement Award

Eugene Narmour


Alumnus Eugene Narmour, PhD '74, was awarded a Professional Achievement Award from the UChicago Alumni and Friends. Congratulations to Eugene and the other alumni receiving awards this year

Eugene Narmour is one of the world’s leading music theorists, changing the landscape of the discipline significantly over the course of his career. He developed the first rigorous theory of melody, which cognitive psychologists have empirically affirmed through extensive research. Narmour’s publications have been a driving topic for music theory conferences, have been translated into many languages, and have greatly influenced his students and colleagues around the world.

Narmour attended the Eastman School of Music, earning two degrees and a Performer’s Certificate and touring Europe, Russia, and the Middle East as a member of the Eastman Philharmonia. In 1967 he entered the University of Chicago where he worked closely with Leonard Meyer while conducting the University Orchestra. In 1971 he began a long tenure at the University of Pennsylvania, from which he retired in 2007 as Edmund J. Kahn Distinguished Professor Emeritus.

Narmour was twice a visiting fellow at Wolfson College Oxford, a fellow at the Center for Advance Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford, a visiting lecturer at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, and a visiting professor at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing. He was an associate editor of Music Perception, and president of the Society for Music Perception and Cognition. He has lectured widely in both Europe and the Far East. His twenty-four published articles cover a wide range of topics in music theory. Some of this work has been translated into Chinese, Japanese, French, and Spanish.

He is married to his high-school sweetheart and has four children and five grandchildren.