Sylvia Kahan teaches courses in music history, music theory, and keyboard musicianship, as well as giving private instruction in piano and chamber music. In her teaching, she foregrounds the interconnections of the historical and cultural forces that shape music composition, music analysis, and performance practice. Many of her courses include the teaching of skills that enable students to write about music more clearly and confidently.  Dr. Kahan has presented her research at numerous international conferences and is a frequent lecturer at New York City Opera.   As a pianist, Sylvia Kahan has performed as concerto soloist, recitalist, and chamber musician in all of New York City’s major concert halls and throughout North America and Europe. Her recitals have been broadcast on WQXR, WNYC, and National Public Radio.


BFA, Oberlin Conservatory

M.M., Michigan State University

DMA, CUNY Graduate Center

Scholarship / Publications

Music’s Modern Muse: A Life of Winnaretta Singer, Princesse de Polignac. Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press, 2003, 2nd printing, 2006, paperback 2009. 576 pp.  To be published in 2nd edition and French translation as Une Muse de la musique modern -  Une vie de Winnaretta Singer, Princesse de Plignac (Dijon: Les Presses de reel, forthcoming 2012).

In Search of New Scales: Prince Edmond de Polignac, Octatonic Explorer. Rocherster, NY: University of Rochester Press, 2009. 389 pp.

Chapters in Books
“Quelque chose de très raffiné et de très musical´: la collaboration entre Nadia Boulander et Marie-Blanche de Polignac,” in Nadia Boulander et Lili Boulanger, témoignages et etudes, ed. Alexandra Laederich (Lyon: Symétrie, 2007), 85-98.

“The Whitney Connection: Varèse and His New York Patrons,” in Edgard Varèse: Composer, Sound Sculptor, Visionary, Felix Meyer and Heidy Zimmerman, eds. (Woodbridge, Suffolk, UK: Boydell & Brewer, 2006), 92-100.  Published in German as “M’Mit freundlicher Unterstützung von Mrs. Gertrude Whtney’: Varèse und seine New Yorker Mäzeninnen,” trans: Felix Meyer, in Edgard Varèse: Komponist, Klangforscher, Visionär, Felix Meyer and Heidy Zimmerman, eds. (Mainz: Schott, 2006), 92-100.

“Faurés Prelude to La Passion (1890): A Re-examination of a Forgotten Score,” in Regarding Fauré,” in Regarding Fauré (Newark, NJ: Gordon and Breach, Newark, 1999), 239-72.