School of Music


Brian Locke

Dr. Brian Locke
Office Location: 203 Sallee Hall
Office Phone: (309) 298-1969
Title: Associate Professor, Music History and Humanities

Dr. Brian Locke, a native of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, earned an Honours Bachelor of Music at Wilfrid Laurier University (Waterloo, Ontario) in 1995 and a Master of Arts in Musicology at the University of Western Ontario (London, Ontario) in 1997. He came to the United States in 1997 to pursue doctoral studies in Musicology at the State University of New York, Stony Brook, with Dr. Joseph Auner and Dr. Jane Sugarman. Since graduating with a Ph.D. degree in 2002, Dr. Locke has taught in a part-time and full-time capacity at Dalhousie University (Halifax, Nova Scotia), Wilfrid Laurier University, and the University of Western Ontario. He joined the faculty of the Western Illinois University School of Music in 2006 as a full-time tenure-track Assistant Professor of Music History.

Dr. Locke’s research interests span a wide range of topics in the Romantic and Early Modernist eras, most specifically in the time period between the death of Richard Wagner and the start of the Second World War. Since beginning his doctorate, his research has focused on the musical community of Prague (Czech Republic) as a nexus of competing ideologies of nationalism, modernism, and the social responsibility of art. His dissertation, “Music and Ideology in Prague, 1900-1938” appeared as a book entitled Opera and Ideology in Prague: Polemics and Practice at the National Theater, 1900-1938 in October 2006 with the University of Rochester Press. The book charts not only the personalities of the Prague musical scene and the rhetoric embodied in their numerous polemical writings, but also an extensive discussion of the operatic literature to which these debates related most directly. Analyses of eight operas, including works by Novák, Ostrčil, Zich, Jeremiáš, Hába, and Křička chart the course of musical taste, as well as the changing priorities of post-Wagnerian inheritance toward either a more avant-garde or explicitly populist compositional approach.

Several independent articles have also come out of Dr. Locke’s monograph, including “The Wozzeck Affair: Modernism and the Crisis of Audience in Prague” (forthcoming in The Journal of Musicological Research), “Novák’s Lucerna and the Historiographical Problem of ‘Czech Modernism’”(forthcoming in Intersections: Journal of Canadian Music), and “‘The Periphery is Singing Hit Songs’: The Globalization of American Jazz and the Interwar Czech Avantgarde” (American Music Research Center Journal, 2002). Several other focal points of this research have also provided material for conference papers at meetings of the American Musicological Society, the Society for American Music, the Canadian Association of Slavists, and others, including conferences in the Czech Republic.

Dr. Locke’s research has afforded him the opportunity for five research trips to the Czech Republic to date. In recent years, this research has also included a new project that focuses on the fusion between Czech folklore and a variety of contemporary popular styles in the present-day Czech Republic. To this end, he has conducted interviews with all the major Czech crossover artists and continues to prepare conference lectures on the topic. Other ongoing research projects include a series of translations of source documents from Czech music history and an edition of Otakar Zich’s quasi-tonal 1923 opera, Vina (Guilt).