Robert Gjerdingen, professor of music theory and cognition in the Bienen School of Music, appeared in a segment of CBS’s 60 Minutes on Sunday, November 5, 2017, to discuss 12-year-old musical prodigy Alma Deutscher, a British composer, violinist, and pianist.

Alma’s father first wrote to Gjerdingen after reading his book, Music in the Galant Style. Gjerdingen arranged for a teacher in Europe for the young musician, and he has served an educational consultant to Alma for the past several years. Her first opera, a reimagining of Cinderella, premiered in Vienna when Alma was 11 years old – the same age as Mozart when his first opera premiered in Vienna. Alma’s Cinderella will see its American debut at the Opera San Jose in December.

“In a broad sense, Alma's phenomenal success validates historical and practical research done by faculty members of the Bienen School of Music,” Gjerdingen said.

See the full 60 Minutes segment

Robert Gjerdingen is the author of several books, articles, and reviews in the fields of music theory, music perception, and 18th-century musical style. He has served on the editorial boards of Music Theory Spectrum, the Journal of Music Theory, and the Journal of the American Musicological Society, on the executive board of the Society for Music Theory, and as editor of Music Perception. In 2009 his book Music in the Galant Style received the Wallace Berry Award from the Society for Music Theory. His research on the teaching methods of 18th-century conservatories in Italy has garnered six years of support from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

  • music theory and cognition