William V. Porter, professor emeritus of musicology, died Tuesday, August 18, at age 87.

Born on September 8, 1932, in Raleigh, North Carolina, Porter received a bachelor's degree in music in 1954 from Davidson College, a master's in music history in 1956 from Oberlin College, and a PhD in music history from Yale University in 1962. Elected to Pi Kappa Lambda at Oberlin, he also received fellowships from Yale and a grant for four weeks of study at the Vatican in 1986.

Porter came to Northwestern in 1961 as an instructor of music history and literature. He retired in 1999 as professor, having served as acting chair of music history and literature. He remained active with projects relating to his specialization, late 16th- and 17th-century Italian music.

A member of the American Musicological Society, American Music Library Association, and International Musicological Society, Porter was the author of numerous articles and papers. He was a contributor to the Encyclopedia BritannicaNew Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, Sohlmans Musiklexikon, Studi Musicali, Con che soavitaEssays in Honor of John F. Ohl, and Journal of the American Musicological Society, for which he served on the editorial board.


  • emeriti
  • musicology