In brief

Kendra Preston Leonard is a musicologist and music theorist whose work focuses on women and music in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries; and music and screen history, particularly music and adaptations of Shakespeare; and a librettist and poet.

Recent and Upcoming Scholarly Publications, Presentations, and Projects


“Nostalgia and Cultural Memory in Music for The General (1927),” Historical Fictions Research Network conference, February 2021.

“White Supremacy in Music for the Silent Cinema,” Society for American Music annual meeting, March 2021.

“Singing Together and Apart: the Performance of Jewishness in The Merchant of Venice (2001),” Shakespeare and Music Conference, December 2020.

Music for the Kingdom of Shadows: Cinema Accompaniment in the Age of Spiritualism, Humanities Commons ebook (2019). (PDF)

Women at the Pedals: Female Cinema Musicians During the Great War,” Over Here, Over There: Transatlantic Conversations on the Music of World War I, ed. William Brooks, Christina Bashford, and Gayle Magee, University of Illinois Press (2019).

Recent and Forthcoming Creative Works

“Hecate of the Wild,” The Dillydoun Review, 2020.

She Calls it a Fairy Tree, music by Elaine Fine, 2020.

“Carapace,” The Ofi Press Magazine, 2020.

Par for the Course, a micro-opera with music by Lisa Neher for Rhymes with Opera, July 2020.

Rewriting King Lear in a Time of Pandemic,” Tejascovido, 2020.

“Spirochete,” Yersinia pestis, 2020.

Making Mythology (chapbook), Louisiana Literature Press, 2020.

“Frost Ascending,” Climbing Lightly Through Forests, ed. Rose Lemberg, Aqueduct Press, 2020. Volume in memory and honor of Ursula K. LeGuin.

Sense of Self, a chamber opera with music by composer Lisa Neher.
Composed for two high voices, Sense of Self explores an athlete’s relationship with her body, her ambitions, and her plans after receiving a diagnosis of breast cancer. To be premiered in the fall of 2020 by Opera Elect.

Protectress (novella in verse), Unsolicited Press, forthcoming January 2022.
From the publisher:
Protectress is a hybrid poetry-prose novella offering a risky take on the legend of Medusa. With stunning economy of words and a delicate hand, Protectress provokes us to think about the feminist identity and the power of compassions. Readers who fell deeply for Emily Wilson’s translation of The Odyssey, Margaret Atwood’s The Penelopiad, Madeleine Miller’s Circe, Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven, Seamus Haney’s or Maria Dahvana Headley’s translations of Beowulf, and Toby Barlow’s Sharp Teeth will find themselves enamored with Protectress.

Works in Progress

Projection, Erasure, and Recovery: Women in Silent Film Music (digital history project)

“Nostalgia and Cultural Memory in Scoring for The General (1927)” 

“Jewishness between Performance and Appropriation: Music for The Merchant of Venice on Film”

Leonard’s ORCID is 0000-0003-3005-4344, and you can also follow and engage with her work at Humanities Commons CORE. 

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