Maeve Sterbenz specializes in music theory. Maeve's research focuses on relationships between human movement and music in concert dance, music videos and dance films, and she has developed an interdisciplinary approach to her work that bridges music and dance studies. Her current project, “Listening to Ballet,” builds on research she completed as scholar in residence at the San Francisco Ballet. The project’s central aim is to examine how ballet actively shapes musical experience, often in ways that diverge from score-based analysis. Sterbenz has also written about gender and sexuality in hip hop and R&B music videos. Her article on Tyler, the Creator in Music Theory Online (23.2) won the 2018 Adam Krims award from the Society for Music Theory’s Popular Music Interest Group.
Sterbenz comes to Smith from a Mellon postdoctoral position at Wellesley College. Before that, she served as lecturer in music theory at Columbia University, where she also completed her doctorate in 2017, as well as a letter of graduate certification in feminist scholarship from the Institute for Research on Women, Gender, and Sexuality. Outside of her academic work, she has collaborated with dancers as a composer. She loves to teach music analysis courses and interdisciplinary courses.