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Director, Institute for Popular Music; Professor of Music and Chair of the Music Department; Professor of Theory, Eastman School of Music
Arts, Sciences, and Engineering
Department of Music
Areas of expertise: History of Rock and Roll, Analysis of Popular Music, The Beatles, Music Theory
In the News
WXXI PBS News
Connections: What Makes Music Sucessful?
January 14, 2015
The Atlantic Magazine
The King, the Conspiracies, and the American Dream
January 08, 2015
The Elvis of Our Dreams
January 07, 2015
Most hated Christmas songs: Retail workers fess up
December 24, 2014
University of Rochester Creates Institute for Popular Music
December 17, 2012
Rock, Pop Historian John Covach on the Death of Whitney Houston
February 13, 2012
John Covach (Professor of Music, University of Rochester and Eastman School of Music) is the director of the University's Institute for Popular Music and author of the leading textbook history of rock music, What's That Sound? An Introduction to Rock and Its History (Second Edition, WW.Norton & Co., 2009).
He received his Bachelor of Music (1983), Master of Music (1985) and Ph.D. (1990) in music theory from the University of Michigan. He was also a Fulbright student in Vienna, Austria in 1987-88. The recipient of several teaching awards and citations, Professor Covach teaches theory and analysis as well as courses in popular music. Since 1993, he has taught large-lecture courses on rock at University of North Texas, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and University of Rochester and has lectured across North America and Europe. He is co-editor of Understanding Rock (Oxford 1997), American Rock and the Classical Music Tradition (Harwood 2000), and Institutions, Traditions, and American Popular Music (Harwood 2000). His extensive writings on twentieth-century music, popular music, and the philosophy of music have appeared in numerous books and journals. Professor Covach also maintains an active career as a performing and recording musician.