Faculty & Staff

Kristen Wallentinsen
Assistant Professor, Music Theory
Degrees & Accomplishments
PhD in Music Theory, University of Western Ontario
MM in Music Theory, University of Massachusetts Amherst
MM in Violin Performance, University of Massachusetts Amherst
BM in Violin Performance, University of Arizona
Topics of Expertise
Music theory
Minimalist music
Music cognition, theory pedagogy, melody and motive
Music and math

Kristen Wallentinsen joined the Rutgers faculty in the Fall of 2019, having previously taught music theory at the University of Northern Colorado. She completed her PhD in music theory at the University of Western Ontario, under the supervision of Catherine Nolan. Her dissertation “Fuzzy Family Ties: Familial Similarity Between Melodic Contours of Different Cardinalities,” focuses on mathematical representations of melodic contour in music and develops a new model for the comparison of familial similarity between groups of related contours. She is currently working to apply her contour methodology toward the study of familial relationships within a wide variety of repertoires and is also conducting cognitive research on contour perception. She has presented her research at numerous conferences throughout North America. She is the inaugural recipient of the Society for Music Theory’s SMT-40 Dissertation Fellowship and has also received Music Theory Midwest’s Arthur J. Komar award and the Rocky Mountain Society for Music Theory Best Student Paper Award. Some of her other research interests include minimalism, the music of Brahms, music cognition, transformational theory, and the analysis of early music.

In addition to her research, Wallentinsen is passionate about teaching music theory. She actively encourages her students to make connections between the theoretical concepts learned in the theory classroom and the music they perform. She has presented her pedagogical research at the second biannual Pedagogy into Practice Conference in Santa Barbara, CA, and has also published a report on the 2013 Workshops in Music Theory Pedagogy in the Journal of Music Theory Pedagogy.