Visiting Assistant Professor, Music History, Theory and Ethnomusicology
Keith Johnston principally investigates comedy in Italian operas of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. His research explores the serious side of humor—the way that musical comedy reflects changes in the lives of early modern Europeans. From bitter debates about art and politics to everyday squabbles about paying the bills, comedy documents the profound and intimate details of human experience. Keith’s research situates the musical treatment of these details within a wider community of practice that embraces actors, playwrights, and impresarios of the spoken and improvised theater.
A recent article on the connections between a comic intermezzo, the theatre of Molière, and the philosophy of Descartes appears in Music & Letters. Keith has also written for Intersections and Western News. In 2010 he was a founding member of Operatics, a working group funded by the Jackman Humanities Institute that investigated the workings of opera from an interdisciplinary perspective.
From 2011 to 2013 Keith taught at Western University. This past summer he co-taught Dalhousie University’s Advanced Seminar in Baroque Culture at Český Krumlov Castle in the Czech Republic. He previously taught courses at the University of Waterloo and the University of Toronto, where he received his Ph.D. in 2011. His research has been supported by a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Doctoral Fellowship and a Dünnhaupt Travel Fellowship.