Alejandro L. Madrid is a cultural theorist who specializes in music and expressive culture from Latin America and Latinxs in the United States. Working at the intersection of musicology, ethnomusicology, and performance studies, Madrid’s scholarship interrogates neoliberalism, globalization, and postmodernity while exploring questions of embodiment, affectivity, and politics in transnational settings. His current projects touch on issues of homophobia and masculinity as well as historiography, biographical narrative, and alternative ways of knowledge production and circulation through art and popular music as well as sound art from the long twentieth century.
In 2017, Madrid received the Dent Medal, one of the most important recognitions in the field of music scholarship, given by the Royal Musical Association and the International Musicological Society for “outstanding contributions to musicology.” He is the only Ibero-American scholar who has received this prestigious honor since its inception in 1961. His work has also received the Philip Brett (2018), Robert M. Stevenson (2016 and 2014), and Ruth A. Solie (2012) awards from the American Musicological Society (AMS); the Mexico Humanities Book Award from the Latin American Studies Association (2016); the Béla Bartók Award from the ASCAP Foundation (2014); the Woody Guthrie Award from the International Association for the Study of Popular Music-U.S. Branch (2009); the Casa de las Américas Musicology Award (2005); and the Samuel Claro Valdés Musicology Award (2002), among other important recognitions.
His research has been funded by the American Council of Learned Societies, the Fulbright Commission, the Ford Foundation, and the Genaro Estrada Fellowship for Mexicanists from Mexico’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. His articles and reviews have been published in Boletín Música, Ethnomusicology, GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies, Heterofonía, Hispanic American Historical Review, Journal of the American Musicological Society, Latin American Music Review, Popular Music, Popular Music and Society, Resonancias, Revista Argentina de Musicología, Sound Studies, and Trans. Revista Transcultural de Música. He was Senior Editor of Latino/a and Latin American entries for The Grove Dictionary of American Music (2nd edition) and currently serves as Editor of Oxford University Press’s award-winning series Currents in Latin American and Iberian Music and as co-editor of Cambridge University Press’s journal Twentieth-Century Music.
Madrid has published more than half a dozen books, including In Search of Julián Carrillo and Sonido 13 (Oxford University Press); Danzón. Circum-Caribbean Dialogues in Music and Dance (co-authored with Robin Moore, Oxford University Press); Nor-tec Rifa! Electronic Dance Music from Tijuana to the World (Oxford University Press); Los sonidos de la nación moderna. Música, cultura e ideas en el México post-revolucionario, 1920-1930 (Casa de las Américas); Sounds of the Modern Nation. Music, Culture and Ideas in Postrevolutionary Mexico (Temple University Press); and the textbook Music in Mexico. Experiencing Music, Expressing Culture (Oxford University Press). He is editor of Transnational Encounters. Music and Performance at the U.S.-Mexico Border (Oxford University Press) and co-editor of Experimentalisms in Practice. Music Perspectives from Latin America (with Ana Alonso-Minutti and Eduardo Herrera, Oxford University Press) and Postnational Musical Identities. Cultural Production, Distribution and Consumption in a Globalized Scenario (with Ignacio Corona, Lexington Books). His most recent book, Tania Léon's Stride. A Polyrhythmic Life (University of Illinois Press) will be published in the Fall 2021. He is currently working on a book about homophobia, masculinities, and music in Mexican and Mexican-American popular culture; a book about race, sound and performance among Afro-Latinx communities; and a book about sound archives and the Latin American Lettered City. He is also collaborating with the Momenta Quartet on the recording and edition of Julián Carrillo’s complete works for string quartet.
After receiving his Ph.D. in Musicology and Comparative Cultural Studies from the Ohio State University, Madrid has been a visiting researcher at El Colegio de la Frontera Norte-Tijuana and the Teresa Lozano Long Institute for Latin American Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. He has taught seminars as invited professor at Harvard University, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México; Centro de Investigación y Difusión de la Música Cubana; Universidad de la República in Uruguay; Universidad Nacional de Córdoba and Universidad Nacional de San Martín in Argentina; and the Newberry Library in Chicago. He has given the Bruno and Wanda Nettl Distinguished Ethnomusicology Lectureship at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the Gilbert Chase Memorial Music Lectureship at Tulane University. He has also presented numerous invited lectures; among others, at Brown University, Harvard University, Princeton University, Stanford University, UCLA, Universidad Alberto Hurtado, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, University of Chicago, University of Texas at Austin, and the University of Pennsylvania.
Since 2013, Alejandro L. Madrid is professor of musicology and ethnomusicology at Cornell University’s Department of Music. Before that, he was on the faculty of the Latino and Latin American Studies program of the University of Illinois at Chicago, and was a visiting professor at Northwestern University and at Texas A&M University. He is frequently invited as an expert commentator by national and international media outlets, including The Washington Post, Agence France-Presse, Public Radio International, and Radio Uruguay (SODRE). Recently, he acted as music advisor to acclaimed filmmaker Peter Greenaway, whose film, Eisenstein in Guanajuato, is set in early 1930s Mexico.