Gretchen Carlson

Program: CCS (Critical & Comparative Studies)

Term Graduated: Spring 2016

Dissertation: "Jazz Goes to the Movies: Contemporary Jazz Musicians' Work at the Intersections of the Jazz and Film Art Worlds"

Bio Information:

Gretchen, a native Mid-Westerner from Springfield, IL, graduated from the Critical and Comparative Studies Ph.D. program in Spring 2016. She earned her B.A. in music and psychology from Gettysburg College in 2009, and graduated with an M.A. in jazz history and research from Rutgers University. At Rutgers, she developed a Master’s thesis focusing on the hierarchical tensions between art and entertainment in jazz through the lens of Harry Connick, Jr.’s music. She was a recipient of the Morroe Berger-Benny Carter Jazz Research Fund and the Milt Gabler Scholarship for Academic Excellence.

Gretchen's primary research interests include jazz and its representations in popular culture. Her dissertation focuses on current relationships between jazz musicians and the Hollywood film industry—particularly how jazz composers who create film soundtracks negotiate the business aspects and social hierarchies within the industry, as well as their own artistic desires and respectability within jazz circles. Gretchen is also interested in American popular music, Latin-American music, folk music, and the connections between music and psychology. As a pianist, vocalist, and saxophonist, she enjoys playing a variety of styles, and greatly enjoys collaborative performances. Since her arrival in Charlottesville, she has performed with the U.Va. Jazz Ensemble and jazz combos. She also co-chaired the U.Va. Music Arts Board, which organized a three-day residency featuring composer Philip Glass in Spring 2014. In her spare time, Gretchen enjoys swimming, biking, dancing, dining at delicious restaurants, traveling, and teaching.


McIntire Department of Music
112 Old Cabell Hall
P.O. Box 400176 Charlottesville, VA 22904-4176