Robert Shay
Professor of Musicology • Co-Chair, Musicology

Robert Shay is Professor of Musicology at the University of Colorado Boulder where he previously served as Dean of the College of Music from 2014 to 2020. His writings on the music of Henry Purcell and 17th-century England are well known—particularly the book “Purcell Manuscripts: The Principal Musical Sources” (Cambridge University Press, co-authored with Robert Thompson), a recipient of the Music Library Association’s Vincent H. Duckles Award given annually to “the best book-length bibliography or other research tool in music.” Shay’s articles and reviews have appeared in Early Music, Journal of Seventeenth-Century Music, Music & Letters and Notes, and he has contributed chapters to the books “Purcell Studies” (Cambridge University Press) and “King Arthur in Music” (D. S. Brewer). His critical edition of Purcell’s opera, “Dido and Aeneas,” appeared in April 2023 (Bärenreiter) and his next editorial project is “King Arthur” by the same composer.

Shay is a founding member of the Society for Seventeenth-Century Music, having served as treasurer, nominating committee chair, program committee chair and conference host (Boulder, 2018). He has presented papers at the national meetings of the American Musicological Society and the Biennial International Conference on Baroque Music, among other organizations, and has been an invited lecturer at Brandeis University, Northwestern University, the Round Top Early Music Festival, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Western Illinois University.

Shay previously served as Professor and Director of the School of Music at the University of Missouri (2008-14), and Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Conservatory at the Longy School of Music in Cambridge, Massachusetts (2000-08). From 1991 to 2000, he was on the faculty at Lyon College in Batesville, Arkansas, where he directed the Concert Choir and taught courses in music history. He was a visiting professor at Duke University in 1999-2000. 

Shay holds the MA and PhD in musicology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the MM in choral conducting from the New England Conservatory of Music and the BM in vocal performance from Wheaton College (Illinois). He studied voice and conducting during two summers at the Aspen Music School and participated in Harvard University’s Institute for Educational Management in 2006.