Susan Lewis

Susan Lewis
Professor, School of Music; Associate Vice-President Academic Planning (on secondment, now serving as Acting Vice-Provost)
Area of expertise



PhD (Princeton)
Master of Fine Arts (Princeton)
Master of Music (Tucson, Arizona)
Bachelor of Arts (Queen’s University, Canada)
Bachelor of Music (Queen’s University, Canada)
Junior Year Abroad, University of Glasgow


I began my studies as a performer and continue to bring that sense of exploration and discovery to all that I do. After graduate study and research in the US and Europe, I started my career at the University of Victoria, Canada in 2001 and enjoy the ongoing opportunities for collaboration, research, creativity and learning, whether here in Victoria or around the world.

As a Full Professor in the School of Music, I have extensive experience in teaching and research in arts, culture and technology. I believe that creativity is at the heart of innovation. Having taught and mentored hundreds of students over the past two decades, I see my role as an educational architect, who guides students to new discoveries as we explore ways that music transforms our lives and our planet.

As a scholar of early modern European music, my interests have grown and been shaped by my many collaborations and partnerships with colleagues in Canada and around the world. I am an active researcher and author of four books on music printing, Italian madrigals, the composer Claudio Monteverdi, and Baroque music. Across my research, I am focused on questions of musical and cultural networks, translation and reception, and the broader intellectual and artistic frameworks in which music flourished in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

In my academic leadership roles, I foster relationships and collaborations that support new program development, ensure the quality of academic programs, and cultivate a student experience enriched by research-inspired and experiential learning to best prepare our graduates for success. I have enjoyed sharing my expertise and learning from others through my roles on executive boards for a number of regional, national, and international organizations that support higher education, research and technology and scholarship, including the editorial board of the Journal of American Musicology Society, the Society for Seventeenth Century Music, and the Canadian Association of Fine Arts Deans.

Past positions

  • Associate Vice-President Academic Planning, University of Victoria, Canada, 2019-2025
  • Dean, Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Victoria, Canada, 2016-2019
  • Director, School of Music, University of Victoria, Canada, 2013-2016

Select publications (see CV for full list of publications)

An annotated bibliography that navigates the vast scholarly resources on the composer with the most updated compilation since 1989. Claudio Monteverdi transformed and mastered the principal genres of his day and his works influenced generations of musicians and other artists. He initiated one of the most important aesthetic debates of the era by proposing a new relationship between poetry and harmony. In addition to scholarship by musicologists and music theorists, Monteverdi’s music has attracted attention from literary scholars, theatre historians, cultural historians, and critical theorists. Research into Monteverdi and Renaissance and early baroque studies has expanded greatly, with the field becoming more complex as scholars address such issues as gender theory, feminist criticism, cultural theory, new criticism, new historicism, and artistic and popular cultures. The guide serves both as a foundational starting point and as a gateway for future inquiry in such fields as court culture, opera, patronage, and Italian poetry.

Music in the Baroque World: History, Culture, Performance offers an interdisciplinary study of the music of Europe and the Americas in the seventeenth and first half of the eighteenth centuries. It answers calls for an approach that balances culture, history, and musical analysis, with an emphasis on performance considerations such as notation, instruments, and performance techniques. It situates musical events in their intellectual, social, religious, and political contexts and enables in-depth discussion and critical analysis. The companion web site provide links to scores and audio/visual performances, making this a complete course for the study of Baroque music.

The first comprehensive annotated bibliography of scholarship on virtually all aspects of madrigal composition, production, and consumption. It contains 1,237 entries for items in English, French, German, and Italian. Scholars, students, teachers, librarians, and performers now have access to this rich literature in a single volume.

The first comprehensive study of music editors from 1500-1700. Editors were key professionals in the music industry in the first centuries of music printing in German-speaking lands.

Grants and funding

  • Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, Insight Grant (principal investigator), 2012–2016, $50,288.
  • Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, Standard Research Grant (principal investigator), 2009–2012, $28,797.
  • Research Residency: Fellow at the Helen Riaboff Whiteley Center, WA, 2014, 2013, 2009, 2008, 2006.
  • Research Residency: Herzog August Bibliothek, Germany, Scholarly Fellowships, 2005, 2002. 


Curriculum designer and educator for twenty-one courses for 800+ students that explore the relationships of text, movement, and sound; promote cultural and technological learning outcomes; and mobilize digital media to strengthen Canadian culture and identity.