hails from upstate New York and lives in Cleveland, Ohio, where he teaches music history and writes for both academic and public outlets. In the 2017-2018 academic year, he served as a lecturer in music history and musicological methodology at Case Western Reserve University. He earned a Ph.D. in musicology at the same institution, where his dissertation work won the Adel Heinrich Award for Excellence in Musicological Research in 2017.
Stevens studies art and popular music since 1920, with emphases in modernism, minimalism, and modes of mediation. In his in-progress monograph on the changing nature and evolving thematic concerns of opera and music theatre in the twenty-first century, he examines recent work by leading composers, including Thomas Adès, Louis Andriessen, George Benjamin, Lisa Bielawa, Gavin Bryars, Chaya Czernowin, Du Yun, Ashley Fure, David Lang, Liza Lim, Olga Neuwirth, Kaija Saariaho, and Mark-Anthony Turnage. Concepts from film and media theory, along with sound and performance studies and the critical and post-critical methodologies of Jane Bennett and Rita Felski, inform this work. Secondary areas of interest include early and late forms of musical Romanticism, from Hector Berlioz to Alban Berg; the music criticism of Theodor Adorno; and the Hollywood career of the composer George Antheil. In popular music studies, his research has reflected a persistent interest in the setting of dense poetry, from wordplay-laden late Tin Pan Alley song to spoken-word precedents of rap. In his research and writing, he eschews conventional discipline and clinical prose in favor of boundlessly curious listening and accessible, evocative language. He was a Graduate Affiliate at the Baker-Nord Center for the Humanities in 2016, and a summer fellow at the Library of Congress in 2015.
He has delivered talks at regional, national, and overseas conferences in music scholarship, and written reviews for German Studies Review and the Journal of the Society for American Music. He is a correspondent and concert reviewer for ClevelandClassical.com, and an album reviewer for I Case if You Listen. He also runs at least one marathon each year, loves food and coffee as much as any good millennial, plays the French horn, and operates a twitter account named for the living singer-songwriter and late poet with whom he shares a last name (@sufjan_wallace).
This website is an informal platform for professional materials; adventures in music history; occasional updates from the opera house, concert hall, or gallery; and accounts of an early-career music academic's experiences as a scholar, critic, and teacher.