Stephen Rumph teaches courses on eighteenth-century topics, opera, Bach, Wagner, and film music. After studying voice at Oberlin Conservatory, he earned a Ph.D. at the University of California, Berkeley, writing a Beethoven dissertation with Joseph Kerman. He joined the UW School of Music faculty in 2002.
Rumph's book Beethoven After Napoleon: Political Romanticism in the Late Works (University of California Press, 2004) offers a political interpretation of late Beethoven illuminated by the writings of the German Romantics. His second book, Mozart and Enlightenment Semiotics (University of California Press, 2011), pioneers a "historically-informed" semiotics of music, based upon eighteenth-century sign and language theory. He has two other books in production, The Fauré Song Cycles (University of California Press) and Fauré Studies, co-edited with Carlo Caballero (Cambridge University Press).
Rumph has published articles in the Journal of the American Musicological Society, Journal of the Royal Music Association, Music and Letters, Musical Quarterly, Beethoven Forum, 19th-Century Music, Eighteenth-Century Music, and Journal of Musicology, and has essays in the Oxford Handbook of Topic Theory, Cambridge Mozart Studies, and other collections. He served as Reviews Editor for Beethoven Forum, 2005-2008.
Rumph also sings professionally as a lyric tenor and has performed widely in opera, concert, and oratorio.