Jonathan Bernard earned Ph.D., M.Phil., and M.A. degrees at Yale University and an A.B. degree at Harvard College. He taught at Amherst College and Yale University before joining the University of Washington School of Music faculty in 1987. He has held the rank of Professor of Music (Theory) since 1993, and was a Ruth Sutton Waters Endowed Professor from 2002 to 2005.
Bernard's research interests center on the theory and analysis of music of the past 100 years, particularly since 1945 and including popular music, and on the history of theory from the 18th century to the present. He is the author of The Music of Edgard Varèse (Yale University Press); the editor of Elliott Carter: Collected Essays and Lectures, 1937-1995 (University of Rochester Press); and a contributing editor to Music Theory in Concept and Practice (University of Rochester Press). More recently, he edited and contributed to Joël-François Durand in the Mirror Land, a book of essays and music by and about Professor Durand, his colleague in Composition, which was published in 2005 by the University of Washington Press. Books currently in preparation include a collection of interconnected essays on the music of Elliott Carter and a similar collection on the music of Gyorgy Ligeti.
Bernard’s articles on such topics as 18th-century French and German music theory, the music of Varèse, Bartók, Stravinsky, Carter, Messiaen, Ligeti, Feldman, and Zappa, minimalist aesthetics and analysis, pitch-spatial theory and analysis, recent American tonal music, the history of 20th-century compositional practice, and rock & roll of the 1960s have appeared in the Journal of Music Theory, Music Theory Spectrum, Music Analysis, Music Perception, Perspectives of New Music, American Music, Musical Quarterly, Contemporary Music Review, Twentieth-Century Music, and the Journal of the Society for American Music, among others, as well as in edited collections from Faber & Faber, University of Rochester Press, Cambridge University Press, Schott, Routledge, Greenwood Press, Garland Publishing, Boydell Press, Ashgate Publishing, and Boosey & Hawkes, among others. Recent and imminent publications include: “Le Sacre, Analyzed,” in Avatar of Modernity: The Rite of Spring Reconsidered (Boosey & Hawkes, 2013); “Minimalism and Pop: Influence, Reaction, Consequences,” in The Ashgate Research Companion to Minimalist and Post-Minimalist Music (Ashgate Publishing, 2013); “Bartók and Traditional Form Description: Some Issues Arising from the Middle and Late String Quartets,” in The String Quartets of Béla Bartók: Tradition and Legacy in Analytical Perspective (Oxford University Press, 2014); "'Octatonicism,' the Octatonic Scale, and Large-Scale Structure in Joan Tower's Silver Ladders," in a collection of analytical essays on music by 20th-century women composers, due from Oxford University Press in 2015.
Bernard has served terms as Editor of Music Theory Spectrum and as Chair of the Publications Committee of the Society for Music Theory. He is currently a member of the editorial board of Perspectives of New Music, and has recently completed a term on the Steering Committee of the Society for Minimalist Music, of which he is also a founding member. He has received research support from the American Council of Learned Societies, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Amphion Foundation, the Paul Sacher Stiftung, and the Graduate School Fund and Royalty Research Fund at the University of Washington.