Peter Bloom

Grace Jarcho Ross 1933 Professor Emeritus of Humanities and Professor Emeritus of Music

Peter Bloom


Ph.D., M.A., University of Pennsylvania

B.A., Swarthmore College


Peter Bloom took his B.A. at Swarthmore College, studied the oboe under John de Lancie at the Curtis Institute of Music, and took his M.A. and Ph.D. at the University of Pennsylvania. He came to Smith College in 1970, moved through the ranks, and in 2000 was named to the chair of professor of humanities endowed by Grace Jarcho Ross, class of 1933. His teaching over the years concentrated on the music of the 18th and 19th centuries, with particular attention to Mozart, Beethoven, Wagner and music in France from the Great Revolution to the First World War.

Bloom has published on Robert Schumann, Richard Wagner and Claude Debussy (his edition of Debussy's Quatuor á cordes appeared in the Œuvres Complètes de Claude Debussy in 2015), but he is best known for his books, editions and essays on the life and work of Hector Berlioz. He is author of The Life of Berlioz (Cambridge University Press) and editor of five collections of essays on Berlioz and his era, of which the most recent is Berlioz: Scenes from the Life and Work (University of Rochester Press). He is editor of two volumes of the New Berlioz Edition (Bärenreiter), co-editor of the Dictionnaire Berlioz (Fayard), and member of the editorial boards of the Critique musicale d'Hector Berlioz (Buchet/Chastel) and of the Revue de musicologie (Société française de musicologie). He completed a supplementary volume of the Correspondance générale Hector Berlioz, which appeared from Actes Sud/Palazzetto Bru Zane, in 2016, as Lettres de Berlioz, de sa famille, de ses contemporains.

His new critical edition, the Mémoires d'Hector Berlioz, will appear from the Librairie Philosophique J. Vrin, in Paris, in 2019.

For his work on the famous French composer, Bloom was awarded the medal of the Berlioz Society, London, in 2016.