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date: 26 January 2020

Block, Adrienne Friedlocked

  • Judith Tick


(b New York, March 11, 1921; d New York City, April 5, 2009). American musicologist. She received the PhD from CUNY (1978). Block was a leading scholar in American music studies and a pioneering contributor to feminist studies in music. Her biography of the pianist and composer Amy Beach helped secure a foundation for the revival of interest in a major American composer whom few took seriously and whose music was not well known. The biography won numerous awards—among them the Irving Lowens Award (Society for American Music [SAM], 1998)—and widespread recognition for its significance, originality, methodological richness, and literary quality.

Block began her career as a choral director in New York (1964–9) and turned to musicological studies in 1969. After writing a dissertation on French medieval music, Block invested herself in the burgeoning field of American music studies. There she found ways to link her passion for social justice with the women’s history movement, especially in relation to American musical life. With her coeditor Carol Neuls-Bates, she published a major bibliography on women in American music; support by an unprecedented grant from the NEH helped this newly-emerging field. In the 1970s and 1980s Block also published important sociological profiles of the status of academic women in music....

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