A musician and composer, Sean Russell Hallowell received his Ph.D. from Columbia University in 2013, where he wrote a dissertation on the aesthetico-metaphysical valences of compositional tradition in European music from the late-fourteenth to late-sixteenth centuries. He comes to Stanford University having spent the 2016-2017 academic year at the University of California, Berkeley, where, as Lecturer in the History and Literature of Western Music, he taught two courses of his own design - one on historical practices of composition from pre-existing materials, the other on trans-historical theories of the music of the spheres (according to which natural phenomena governed by numerical proportion, such as the orbiting of planets, produce a species of music). His own music, composed in the electro-acoustic tradition, draws upon ideas from the history of musique concrète as well as that of the philosophy of time to explore the phenomenology of time in music and the relationship between time and identity perceived through musical form. An interdisciplinary thinker by training, as an undergraduate at Brown University he concentrated in comparative literature and music, and, as a graduate student at Columbia, he spent five years teaching Music Humanities, the university's core curriculum course in music history and appreciation. As a Fellow in Stanford's Thinking Matters program for the 2017-2018 academic year he will teach THINK 43: What is Love, THINK 59: Worlds of Sound, and THINK 45: Thinking about the Universe.

Academic Appointments

  • Lecturer, Stanford Introductory Studies - Thinking Matters

Professional Education

  • A.B., Brown University (2004)
  • Ph.D., Columbia University (2013)