Marian Wilson Kimber

Associate Director of Faculty Development; Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, & Belonging

Marian Wilson Kimber is a scholar of music in the long nineteenth century. Her research explores issues surrounding biography, gender, compositional process, musical reception, and relationships between music and the spoken word. Her publications have centered on Felix Mendelssohn, Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel, elocution with musical accompaniment, and the role of spoken word performance in concert life.

Wilson Kimber’s book The Elocutionists: Women, Music, and the Spoken Word (University of Illinois Press, 2017), was the recipient of the Society for American Music’s H. Earle Johnson Publication Subvention, as well as a subvention from the American Musicological Society’s 75 PAYS Endowment, funded in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Mellon Foundation. The book explores the leading role American women played in performances of accompanied recitation, concert readings, Delsarte posing, and choral speaking and the development of melodramatic compositions by women composers for female audiences.

Wilson Kimber received her PhD from Florida State University with a dissertation on the autograph sources of Felix Mendelssohn’s works for solo piano and orchestra. Her publications include research into anti-Semitism in Mendelssohn reception, appearing in The Mendelssohns: Their Music in History and Mendelssohn Perspectives. Her article, “The Suppression of Fanny Mendelssohn: Rethinking Feminist Biography,” was published in 19th-Century Music, and her study of Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel’s piano cycle, Das Jahr, appeared in The Journal of Musicological Research. As part of the 2009 celebrations surrounding the two-hundredth anniversary of Felix Mendelssohn’s birth, Wilson Kimber made numerous appearances, including as a keynote speaker for a conference held at Seoul University under the auspices of four Korean universities and at Ewha Womans University. She has presented multiple papers at meetings of the American Musicological Society and the Society for American Music.

Wilson Kimber was selected to give the Master Teacher Lecture at the meeting of the American Musicological Society in 2011. She has served on the national council of the AMS and as an officer for two of its chapters. Wilson Kimber was the book review editor of The Journal of Musicological Research for twelve years. Past president of the University of Iowa Chapter of the American Association of University Professors, she is currently a member of its Executive Committee and Committee A.


Research areas
  • Musicology
Portrait of Marian Wilson Kimber
PhD, Florida State University
Contact Information

University of Iowa
5466 Voxman Music Building (VOX)
93 E. Burlington Street
Iowa City, IA 52242
United States