Siavash Sabetrohani awarded 2023 SMT-40 Dissertation Fellowship

Siavash Sabetrohani headshot


We are happy to announce that PhD student Siavash Sabetrohani has been awarded a 2023 SMT-40 Dissertation Fellowship! This fellowship is intended to recognize and foster excellent research in music theory by helping highly qualified PhD students to complete their dissertations. Fellowships are awarded to research projects that promise to make a significant contribution to the field of music theory.

Read more about Siavash and his dissertation below. For additional details about the SMT-40 Dissertation Fellowship, visit the SMT website

About Siavash Sabetrohani

Siavash Sabetrohani is a PhD candidate in Music Theory and History at the University of Chicago. Before going to the US for his PhD studies, he studied music theory, modern and baroque violin in his home country Iran and in the Netherlands. He has been living in Berlin since 2019, conducting research on his dissertation project. His research interests include the history of music theory, performance practice, partimenti and improvisation, and early recordings.

Dissertation Summary

Music Theory Between the Public Sphere and Nationalism in Eighteenth-century Berlin

Around 1750, various elements came together to turn Berlin from a musical backwater to one of the leading European centers of music in both practice and theory. This dissertation traces the origins of this transformation from around 1750—when the first music theoretical writings in Berlin were published—to the end of the 18th century. The project argues that music theory and its entrance into the public sphere, acted as an instrumental agent in propelling ideas of German cultural nationalism that fully blossomed in the 19th century. Intersecting multiple disciplines such as music history, journalism, social sciences, and nationalism studies, this project challenges narrow perceptions of the position of music theory and places it as a central topic in 18th-century Enlightenment discussions.