Laura E. Kennedy is a musicologist who specializes in twentieth-century music and Russian studies. Born in Michigan, Kennedy moved to the island of Guernsey (Great Britain) as a teenager, where she thrived on the unique opportunities afforded by the island's vibrant music scene playing under professional conductors, taking lessons with faculty from the Royal College of Music in London, and attending music courses at Oxford University. After graduating summa cum laude (B.M.) from Wheaton College, Kennedy matriculated at the University of Michigan for a Ph.D. in historical musicology. Her research on Dmitri Shostakovich took her to Russia, where she lived for eighteen months, becoming fluent in the language and gaining access to private archives and manuscripts in St. Petersburg and Moscow.

Kennedy's research has been supported by numerous grants and fellowships, including a Fulbright Fellowship to Russia and Rackham Humanities Research and Dissertation Fellowships. Her dissertation on Shostakovich's sketch materials was nominated for a Distinguished Dissertation Award (2009) from the University of Michigan. Kennedy has presented her findings at national and international conferences and is actively publishing her work. She joins the Furman faculty after holding positions at the University of North Texas and Bowling Green State University. A committed and passionate teacher, she is devoted to cultivating her students' growth in knowledge and wisdom.

Name Title Description


Humanities Capstone Symposium

First semester of a year-long capstone experience for the Humanities Interdisciplinary Minor, meeting weekly. Rocus on advanced research methodologies and disciplinary practices in the Humanities, with presentations and readings that represent all Humanities departments.


Russian Religion, Music & Art

A study of music, religion, and the arts in Russia through the lens of musical works, Orthodox icons, and church architecture. The course explores connections between religious and cultural identities and their modes of aesthetic expression.


Introductory Music Literature

Exploration of important composers and works, topics will include: recurring cycles of classicism and romanticism, performance practice, sacredness in music, the nature of creativity, translations of vocal music and the changing roles of the composer, performer and audience in society.


Music History I

The development of musical style, covering the period from Antiquity to c. 1650. Representative examples of music are discussed, with an emphasis on social-historical context and the philosophical origins of Western music.


Music History II

The stylistic development of Western European art music within the broader context of European history. It will also explore the relationship of music history to other forms of historical inquiry.


Music History III

A survey of the development of musical style from ca. 1890 to the present. Representative musical examples are heard, studied and discussed, with an emphasis on social-historical context.


Music Hstry & Lit Topics

An intensive study of a narrow area of music history and literature, focusing on a region, genre, style, composer or other theme. The topic for each course offering will vary and will be published beforehand. May be repeated for credit with change of topic.


Furman Advantage Adv & Mntr

I seek to challenge my students to a depth and breadth of knowledge that demands critical thinking, effective communication, and active engagement with the musical material. My goal is to foster engaged students, who integrate knowledge about music history with good listening and writing skills and with an awareness of music history's relevance to their other studies. I am, therefore, deeply committed to mentorship and believe that my role as an educator is to teach life and academic skills through the subject matter of music. Whatever profession or field of study my students enter, the skills that they exercise in my classes will be fundamental to their development as musicians, teachers, performers, composers, and people.

  • Nomination: Distinguished Dissertation Award (University of Michigan) (2009)
  • Rackham Humanities Research Dissertation Fellowship (2007-8)
  • J. William Fulbright Fellowship to Russia (2006-7)
  • Summer FLAS (Foreign Language and Area Studies) Fellowship (Russian) (2005)
  • Glenn McGeoch Memorial Scholarship for outstanding teaching (2005)
  • Center for Russian & East European Studies Research, Internship and Fellowship (CRIF) award (2004)
  • Regents Fellowship, University of Michigan (2002-3)
  • Presser Scholarship (2001)
  • Presidential Honor Award in Music (1998)
University of Michigan
Wheaton College
Training Under
Louis Nagel
University of Michigan
Daniel Paul Horn
Wheaton College
Neil Immelman
Royal College of Music, London

Connect with Admission

Furman is one of the nation's premier liberal arts and sciences universities. We offer our students The Furman Advantage—an over-arching approach to education that promises every student a four-year personalized pathway, a team of advisors and mentors, and the opportunity for an engaged learning experience that is tracked and integrated with the students' academic and professional goals.

Want more information about the admission process at Furman?

Contact us

Once you see our campus, making the right college decision will be so much easier.

Plan a visit

Undergraduate Evening Studies provides adults the opportunity to receive an education from one of the premier liberal arts universities in the nation.

Whether you are starting or continuing your education, or have been away from the classroom for a few months or several years, our program provides many services to assist you with accomplishing your educational and professional goals.

Apply now

Our graduate studies program is designed for the professional educator.

We know the challenges teachers and administrators face every day, and we are committed to helping you become a leader within your school system or district.

Apply now
  • Furman University