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Jeremy Zima

Jeremy Zima image

Assistant Professor of Music



  • Education

    B.A. (Music), Wisconsin Lutheran College, 2007
    M.M. (Jazz Performance and Musicology), Western Illinois University, 2009
    Ph.D. (Historical Musicology), University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2016


    My journey in music began in earnest when I received a beat-up guitar from my grandpa at the age of 12. I was hooked immediately and spent all of my time learning the instrument and studying my favorite rock and jazz guitar players. I began playing professionally in rock bands at the age of 15 and was active in my high school choir and band, where I learned to read music and play the clarinet. In college I learned music theory and became especially interested in the study of music history. I spent two years at Western Illinois University sharpening my jazz guitar skills while soaking up as much music history as I could, culminating in a thesis concerning the history of jazz guitar before 1942. I then pursued a Ph.D. in historical musicology at the University of Wisconsin, focusing on the music of the late-19th and early 20th centuries, especially opera. I taught as an adjunct lecturer at the University of Wisconsin and at Wisconsin Lutheran College before receiving a full-time call in Fall 2017. I love teaching all facets of music history, theory, and performance to undergraduates. My wife Janel, my son Harvey, and I live in Jackson, Wisconsin, and attend Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church in Pewaukee, where I lead worship on Wednesday evenings.


    • MUS 063/64, Class Guitar 1-2
    • MUS 100, Music Appreciation
    • MUS 105, History of American Popular Music
    • MUS 163/263, Guitar Lessons
    • MUS 440, Music Composition

    Research Interests

    My research interests are rather diverse. My doctoral work focused especially on the economics and aesthetics of the early twentieth century German Künstleroper, or "Artist-Opera." In my dissertation I sought to understand and explain why there was a small explosion of these idiosyncratic operas that used the creation of a musical composition or artwork as the focus of the plot. Over the course of this work I examined operas by Richard Strauss, Franz Schreker, Hans Pfitzner, and Ernst Krenek. My master's thesis centered on race, class, and trans-Atlantic identity in jazz guitar before 1942 and allowed me to interact with a number of notable guitarists, including Django Reinhardt and Charlie Christian. I continue to be interested in canon formation and historiography in jazz and representations of "whiteness" within the genre. Additionally, I'm very interested in issues surrounding race and authenticity in country music and am increasingly fascinated by research concerning music history pedagogy, that is, how and why we teach music history.

    Selected Publications or Scholarly Works

    The Economic and Aesthetics of the Early Twentieth-Century German Artist Opera, Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Wisconsin, 2016

    Richard Strauss's "Intermezzo": A New Look at the German Artist-Opera. Presentation given at the Midwest Chapter of the American Musicological Society, 2013

    "Instant Classics":  Visualizing and Sounding Authenticity in the "Relic" Guitar. Presentation given at the Mid-America American Studies Association, 2011

    "Le Roi Invisible":  Oscar Alemán in Paris, 1933-1940.

    Presentation given at the Midwest Chapter of the American Musicological Society, 2010

    Race, Class, and Trans-Atlantic Identity in Jazz Guitar Before 1942, M.M. Thesis, Western Illinois University, 2009


    Professional Memberships

    • American Musicological Society
    • AMS-Midwest
    • College Music Society
    • Music Teachers' National Association


    • Coordinator of the WLC Jazz Festival
    • Worship leader at Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church, Pewaukee