Sunderman Conservatory of Music

William O'Hara

Assistant Professor

Sunderman Conservatory of Music



Campus Box 0403


B.M., Miami University
M.A., University of Wisconsin-Madison
Ph.D., Harvard University

Dr. William O’Hara is a music theorist and musicologist with active research interests in tonal analysis, chromatic harmony, the history of music theory, public music theory, and music in contemporary media. Currently, he is at work on a monograph entitled Recomposing Music Theory, along with studies on the music Amy Beach, and popular music and music theory in digital media. O’Hara earned his PhD at Harvard University, where he was also a fellow at Harvard’s Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning. He previously taught courses in music theory at Tufts University, and led workshops on filmmaking, editing, and podcasting at the Bok Center.

O’Hara has presented papers at meetings of the Society for Music Theory, the American Musicological Society, the North American Conference on Video Game Music, the International Association for the Study of Popular Music, and various regional conferences. Internationally, he has delivered talks or panels at the University of Liverpool, Royal Holloway University of London, and the Internationale Stiftung Mozarteum in Salzburg.

In 2020, O’Hara’s article on the cultural politics of online music analysis received the Adam Krims Award (for outstanding article by a junior scholar) from the Society for Music Theory’s Popular Music Interest Group. His writings have appeared in journals such as Music Analysis, Music Theory & Analysis, The Journal of Music Theory Pedagogy, and the Journal of Sound and Music in Games, along with collections such as The Routledge Companion to Music Theory Pedagogy and The Oxford Handbook of Public Music Theory. Forthcoming studies will appear in Music Theory Online (2022), Engaging Students (2022), and The Oxford Handbook of Sound and Music in Games (2023).

O’Hara is the web editor for the online scholarly video journal SMT-V, and a member of the editorial boards of the music theory journals IntégralGAMUT and SMT-Pod. He has previously worked as an editorial assistant for the Journal of the American Musicological Society, and has served terms on the SMT’s IT/Networking Committee, the executive board of the Music Theory Society of the Mid-Atlantic, and as vice-chair of SMT’s Film & Multimedia Interest Group.


William O'hare