Allison Adrian

Associate Professor, Music


Allison Adrian specializes in ethnomusicology and musicology. She studied economics, music, and Spanish during her undergraduate years. Before pursuing a graduate degree, she worked as a technology consultant, an AmeriCorps volunteer, and a group leader for high school students studying abroad.

She obtained her master’s degree at UCLA in ethnomusicology, focusing on Basque American vocal music. She moved to the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities to pursue her doctoral research with Mirjana Lausevic (1966–2007).

Her dissertation examined music in 20 different Lutheran congregations in the Twin Cities made up of recent immigrants and refugees from Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Allison joined the Department of Music and Theater at St. Kate’s in 2008. She also teaches coursework in Women's Studies and Critical Studies in Race and Ethnicity. Her scholarship since joining St. Kate's includes working with indigenous Ecuadorian musicians as a Fulbright Scholar, and co-editing an anthology titled Voicing Girlhood in Popular Music. She also likes to share her research with scholarly journals as well as popular media like National Public Radio and The Star Tribune.

Ph.D., Musicology/Ethnomusicology
University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, Minnesota, 2008

Master of Arts, Ethnomusicology
UCLA, Los Angeles, California, 2003

Bachelor of Arts, Economics
Gustavus, St. Peter, Minnesota, Summa Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa, 1999

Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program Award. (2016). Host: Museo Pumapungo, Cuenca, Ecuador.

Collaborative Undergraduate Research Program Award. (2015). St. Catherine University.

Finalist for Myser Family Excellence in Mentorship Award. (2015).

Research and Scholarly Work Award. (2015). APDC St. Catherine University.

Excellence in Teaching and Advising Award. (2012–2013). St. Catherine University.

Summer Scholars Collaborative Undergraduate Research Program. (2011). St. Catherine University.

Research and Scholarly Activities Award. (2010). St. Catherine University.

Curriculum Development Award. (2009). St. Catherine University.

Dr. Adrian’s research has been funded by UCLA, the University of Minnesota, St. Catherine University, and the Fulbright Scholar Program. Her interests include music, gender, immigration, and the Americas.

  • World Music
  • Women and Music Music in the Twin Cities
  • Music and Healing
  • Sound and Vision: Music, the Visual Arts, and Politics
  • History of Rock
  • The Reflective Woman
  • History of Western Music
  • Protest Music and Social Change
  • The Image and Music Monster: Lady Gaga in Context
  • Music, Stories, Identity: Crossing Borders, Blending Traditions

Music Curator, The University Avenue Project: A Six-Mile, Photographic Inquiry by Wing Young Huie, 2009–2010

Consultant, The Musical Instrument Museum, 2006–2008

Interim Music Director & Community Outreach Specialist, CitySongs: A Youth and Community Development Program in Music, University of Minnesota, School of Social Work, 2004–2005

Piano Instructor, Washington Preparatory School, Crenshaw, California, 2001–2003

Group Leader, World Learning, Leader of language and culture high school immersion programs abroad, 2000–2001

Systems Integration and Technology Consultant, CSC, 1999

Adrian, Allison and Jacqueline Warwick, eds. (forthcoming, 2016). Voicing Girlhood in Popular Culture: Music, Authority, Authenticity. New York: Routledge.

Adrian, Allison. (2015). “Girls in Their Bedrooms: Creativity in Intimate Spaces.” Aster(ix): A Journal of Art, Literature & Criticism.

Adrian, Allison. (2013). “An Exploration of Lutheran Music-Making among US Immigrant and Refugee Populations.” Journal of Occupational Science.

Adrian, Allison. (2011). ““Driving the Spirit” from Africa to Minnesota: Lutheran Music in the African Diaspora.” In African Christian Presence in the West: New Immigrant Congregations and Transnational Networks in North America and Europe, eds. Frieder Ludwig & J. Kwabena Asamoah-Gyadu. Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press.

Adrian, A. (2010). “East Meets Midwest.” METRO Magazine, Twin Cities.

Adrian, A. (2009). “A Question of Purpose: Increasing Ethnic Representation in Lutheran Hymnals.” Cross Accent.

Adrian, A. & Judy Blankenship. (2016). “Documentando la música, los raymis, y la vida cotidiana de la comunidad Cañari/Documenting music, raymis, and everyday life in Cañar.” Fulbright Commission Office. Quito, Ecuador.

Adrian, A. (2015). "A Liberal Arts State of Mind: The Joy of an Unlikely Synthesis." Keynote at Phi Beta Kappa Initiation of Gamma of MN Chapter.

Adrian, A. (2014). "Music, Dance, Theater, Water: Environmental Justice and Ananya Dance Theatre." International Association for the Study of Popular Music U.S. Conference.

Adrian, A. (2013). "Glitz, Glamour, Gender: Is Lady Gaga Performing Glam Rock?" International Association for the Study of Popular Music U.S. conference, and St. Catherine Scholars' Circle.

Adrian, A. (2012). ""Let Loose and Praise God": Gender and the Performance of Reverence in an Intercultural Context." Society for Ethnomusicology National Conference.

“Global Voices.” (2010). OpenField at Walker Art Center, in collaboration with artists in residence, FutureFarmers: A People Without a Voice Cannot Be Heard.

Touring Exhibit: “A Mighty Fortress.” (2007). Far from Lake Wobegon, a collaboration with artist Wing Young Huie.

“You Know You’re A Lutheran If…”: Hymnody and Immigration in the 21st Century Church. (2005). Society for Ethnomusicology National Conference.

“Why Not?”: Negotiating Old and New World Culture through Basque American Song. (2004). Society for Ethnomusicology National Conference.

Shy Girl, Showy Music: Gender and Rebellion in Piano Performance. (2003). Thinking Gender Conference. UCLA.