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  • Fund for Faculty Excellence, 2017-18
  • Wallace Berry Award, Society for Music Theory, for an outstanding book, given in November 2015 for Schoenberg’s Twelve-Tone Music

Jack Boss is professor of music theory and composition at the University of Oregon. He received B.Mus. and M.Mus. degrees in composition from Ohio State University in 1979 and 1981, and the Ph.D. in music theory from Yale University in 1991. At Yale, his teachers included Allen Forte, David Lewin, and Claude Palisca. His doctoral dissertation, advised by Allen Forte, was titled "An Analogue to Developing Variation in a Late Atonal Song of Arnold Schoenberg."

Boss’s 437-page monograph, Schoenberg’s Twelve-Tone Music: Symmetry and the Musical Idea, was published by Cambridge University Press as part of their “Music Since 1900” series in November 2014. In November 2015, Schoenberg’s Twelve-Tone Music received the Wallace Berry Award “for a distinguished book by an author of any age or career stage” from the Society for Music Theory. In August 2019, he published his second book, Schoenberg’s Atonal Music: Musical Idea, Basic Image, and Specters of Tonal Function. This 384-page “prequel” is also part of the Cambridge Press “Music Since 1900” series. He is presently working on Schoenberg’s Tonal Music: Depictive Text-Painting and the Birth of the Musical Idea, which is under contract with Cambridge University Press.  Boss's articles, book chapters and reviews may be found in the Journal of Music Theory, Music Theory Spectrum, Perspectives of New Music, Music Analysis, Music Theory Online, Intégral, Gamut, Konturen, Notes, The Cambridge Companion to Serialism, Schoenberg in Context, The Oxford Handbook of Variation Forms and Techniques, Musical Currents from the Left Coast, Analyzing the Music of Living Composers (and Others), and Form and Process in Music, 1300-2014. 

Boss has co-edited four collections of analytical essays originating as West Coast Conference of Music Theory and Analysis papers: Musical Currents from the Left Coast (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2008), with Bruce Quaglia, Analyzing the Music of Living Composers (and Others) (Cambridge Scholars, 2013), with Brad Osborn, Tim Pack and Stephen Rodgers; Form and Process in Music, 1300-2014: An Analytic Sampler (Cambridge Scholars, 2016), with Heather Holmquest, Russell Knight, Inés Thiebaut, and Brent Yorgason; and Making Waves: West Coast Perspectives of Pitch, Narrative and Form (Cambridge Scholars, 2020), with Andrew Aziz.

Like his dissertation, many of Boss’s publications deal with motivic structure and large-scale coherence in Schoenberg's music. Other articles consider motivic processes in Beethoven's piano sonatas, large-scale coherence in Mahler’s symphonies, ways to project musical form in George Walker’s atonal and serial piano music, and parallels between text and musical structure in the music of Bernard Rands and Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody. Boss has also given a large number of scholarly presentations throughout the U.S., England, Ireland, Belgium, Brazil, and South Korea on different aspects of Schoenberg's music and theory.  In April of 2020, he was honored to give the first-ever virtual lecture at the Oxford University Seminar in Music Theory and Analysis, and in October 2021 he gave an invited lecture to the Brazilian Music and Mathematics Society (MusMat).

Before coming to the University of Oregon, Boss taught at Brigham Young University for three years (1992-95), Ball State University for one year (1991-92), and Yale University for one year (1990-91). He served as undergraduate theory coordinator at BYU and also coordinated the freshman theory and aural skills program at Yale. His courses at the University of Oregon have included undergraduate form and analysis, 20th-century counterpoint, Schenkerian analysis, post-tonal analysis, motivic analysis, advanced aural skills, music theory pedagogy, the history of music theory (non-Western and Western), and graduate seminars on topics including film and video game music, current trends in music theory, neo-Riemannian analysis, Schoenberg's vocal music, Schoenberg’s atonal music, and Schoenberg’s twelve-tone music.

Boss is involved in professional service at the national and regional levels. He served as Chair of the Society for Music Theory Publications Committee from 2019-22, and was reviews editor for Music Theory Online, the SMT's electronic journal, from 2001-2006. He was reviews editor, associate editor, and editor-in-chief of the Journal of Music Theory from 1989 to 1991, and served on the editorial board for the Journal of Music Theory Pedagogy from 2005-2010. He frequently serves as a peer reviewer for book publishers as well as journals. He was president of the West Coast Conference of Music Theory and Analysis from 2003-2018, and helped determine their programs for numerous meetings. He was also a founding member of the Rocky Mountain Society for Music Theory.