Dr. Paula Maust is a performer, scholar, and educator dedicated to fusing research and creative practice to amplify underrepresented voices and advocate for social change. She is the creator of Expanding the Music Theory Canon, an extensive open-source collection of music theory examples by women and composers of color. This is the first open-source collection of this magnitude and scope, and it is aimed at concepts covered in the undergraduate core music theory curriculum. A print anthology based on the project is under contract with SUNY Press and is expected to be released in 2022. She has also given lectures about diversity in music educational resources at Duke University and the Johns Hopkins University. Her recent study on racial and gender representation in the music classroom will be published in the forthcoming issue of the Journal of the International Alliance for Women in Musicand you can read the transcript of a recent interview about Paula's research with Music and Politics in the Moment.  


Paula's other primary research interest is the reception history of early modern women musicians. Her article "Turning the Madwoman Upside Down" is forthcoming in Women and Musicand her "Notorious Strumpets on the English Restoration Stage" was featured on Early Music America's blog. She has given lectures about women performers for the University of Maryland, Baltimore County Medieval and Early Modern Studies program, the Peabody Musicology Colloquium, the Pioneer Valley Symphony, Shenandoah University, and Bard High School Early College Cleveland. 


Paula's current book project, The Ugly Virtuosa, examines the pejorative language used to describe the first generation of professional female musicians in England, Italy, and France. Her work utilizes disability studies, performance studies, and critical race theory to evaluate the reception of Restoration singer-actresses, the enfreakment of the Venetian figlie del coro, the confusion surrounding the gender-bending French opera star La Maupin, and the ‘ugly Italian pigs and elephants’ singing Handel’s London operas. She has presented her research for the American Musicological Society, the Indiana University Historical Performance Institute, the American Handel Society, and the Society for Seventeenth-Century Music


As a harpsichordist and organist, Paula has been praised for combining “great power with masterful subtlety” (DC Metro Theater Arts) and as a “refined and elegant performer” (Boston Musical Intelligencer). In her work as the co-director of Burning River Baroque and Musica Spira, she curates lecture-concerts aimed at connecting baroque music to contemporary social issues. Recent concert programs have centered on climate change, refugees, #MeToo, and mental health. Paula is currently working on recording Elizabeth Turner's 1756 Six Lessons for Harpsichord. She has also performed with the Folger Consort, Third Practice, the BaRock Band, the Washington Bach Consort, Tempesta di Mare, the Virginia Symphony Orchestra, and the Handel Choir of Baltimore. 


Beginning in fall 2021, Paula will be an Assistant Professor of Music Theory at the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University. Prior to her appointment at Peabody, she was a faculty member at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, where she taught music theory, music history, keyboard skills, harpsichord, organ, piano, and coached students in the Collegium Musicum. An advocate for conducting dramatic early modern works from the keyboard, she directed a program of baroque opera scenes in collaboration with UMBC’s Collegium Musicum and Opera Workshop and was the assistant music director for Purcell’s Dido & Aeneas and The Fairy-Queen with the Peabody's historical performance department.  


Paula completed a doctorate degree in harpsichord at Peabody, where she was the recipient of the Dean’s DMA fellowship. She earned Master of Music degrees in harpsichord and organ from Peabody and the Cleveland Institute of Music, respectively, and she completed her Bachelor of Music degree in church music/organ at Valparaiso University. Her teachers have included Adam Pearl, Webb Wiggins, Todd Wilson, and Lorraine Brugh.

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2016 - 2019

Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University

DMA, Harpsichord

2014 - 2016

Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University

MM, Harpsichord and Early Music

2010 - 2012

Cleveland Institute of Music

MM, Organ

Early Music Certificate from CWRU

2005 - 2009

Valparaiso University

BM, Organ and Church Music