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Elisse La Barre

Adjunct Professor of Music

Office: Music Building, room 212
Email: [[elabarre]]

  • Ph.D., Cultural Musicology, University of California, Santa Cruz

Musicologist and Conductor Dr. Elisse La Barre specializes in 20th-century American music, specifically massed spectacles, protest and geopolitics. She received her Ph.D. in cultural musicology from the University of California, Santa Cruz in 2019. Her dissertation, Music of American World’s Fairs: Music, Protest and Politics at the 1939 and 1940 Golden Gate International Exposition, is an unprecedented cross-disciplinary investigation into how music reflects the social, political and cultural consciousness of regional and global communities at the beginning of World War II.


Dr. La Barre has been invited to present on her research at national and international conferences, including the American Musicological Society, Society for American Music, Musicological Society of Australia, International Association for the Study of Popular Music, and the Popular Culture Association and American Culture Association. As an in-demand speaker, La Barre has presented lectures on topics ranging from commercial music business to Séga and Music in American Cultures to Soundscapes of California. La Barre has worked in various archival positions, including the Library of Congress Preservation Division and the Grateful Dead Archive (UCSC).


Recipient of the 2021 American Musicological Society and Library of Congress Music Division Lecture, La Barre presented her research findings on the ASCAP Boycott of 1940 as part of the Concerts from the Library of Congress 2021/2022 Season. She has appeared as a guest conductor for several ensembles in California and Florida. In addition to instrumental conducting, La Barre is an oboist and jazz bassist.


La Barre is the co-founder and director of the statewide biannual Eureka! Musical Minds of California conference that aims to create a multi-disciplinary environment to showcase the diverse work created in California musical institutions. The 2019 Eureka! Conference welcomed composer Dr. Gabriela Lea Frank as the keynote speaker.



Courses Taught

Courses offered at William and Mary (as of the 2023 academic year):

Dr. La Barre’s W&M course offerings have included: Music of the Worlds, Introduction to Western Music, Tonal Theory, Musicking With The Dead, and Music Business.