Andrew A. Cashner

Musician and Musicologist


I am a musician and scholar of music, specializing in religious music and devotional practices with particular focus on early modern Christianity in the Spanish-speaking world and colonial cultures. I am an assistant professor of music at the University of Rochester.

I teach courses in the history, structure, and cultural meanings of music. See the teaching page for course descriptions.

My research examines how people have used music to express and enact their religious beliefs. I am interested in how people across time and in different cultures use music to create relationships with each other and with what Olivier Messiaen called the world beyond, especially the ways that music can delineate and transgress boundaries between sacred and secular domains, and between elite and common social strata. My areas of interest include the history and theology of Christian worship, colonial studies and global music history, ritual studies and hermeneutic theory, musical analysis and interpretation, and music transcription, editing, and digital encoding. I am pursuing a holistic approach to understanding how structures of musical sound are linked to structures of society and belief.

My research has been recognized by the 2015 Alfred Einstein Award from the American Musicological Society, and by fellowships and grants from the American Council of Learned Societies, the Center for European Studies at Columbia University, the Center for Latin American Studies at the University of Chicago, and the US Department of Education.

My first book, Hearing Faith: Music as Theology in the Spanish Empire (Leiden: Brill, 2020) is a study of music about music in villancicos, a genre of vernacular devotional music from seventeenth-century Mexico and Spain. These metamusical villancicos—such as pieces about heavenly and angelic music, the harmony of the spheres, and representations of human singing and dancing—reveal how Hispanic Catholics understood music’s power in the relationship between hearing and faith. The music studied in the book is available in two volumes of scores I edited. Related articles explore villancicos in particular local contexts, particularly with regard to the colonial setting in America.

My current research and writing are focused on the role of singing and listening in the encounters between Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) peoples and Europeans in colonial-era New York; and on the history of music in Christian worship. See the research and villancico pages or contact me for more information on my research.

I perform regularly on piano, organ, and harpsichord. I enjoy collaboration and improvisation across a broad stylistic range. My compositions include choral music, solo songs, congregational worship songs, and solo piano pieces. I lead the worship ministry at New Hope Free Methodist Church in Rochester. See the performance page for recordings and scores.

I received the PhD in the history and theory of music from the University of Chicago in 2015. I received the Master of Sacred Music degree in organ performance from the University of Notre Dame, and a Bachelor of Music in piano performance from Lawrence University. I also studied piano performance at the New England Conservatory of Music.


Andrew A. Cashner

Curriculum vitae

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