Robert Fink is a past chair of the UCLA Musicology department, and currently Chair of the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music’s Minor in the Music Industry. He also currently serves as President of the US Branch of the International Association for the Study of Popular Music (IASPM-US). His research focus is on music and culture after 1950, with special interests in the history and analysis of African-American popular music and the politics of contemporary art music.
His book, Repeating Ourselves, a study of American minimal music as a cultural practice, appeared in 2005 from the University of California. More recent published work appears in the Journal of the American Musicological Society (an essay on analyzing Motown’s rhythms, which was honored by the Popular Music Interest Group of the Society for Music Theory), The Oxford Handbook of Opera, and the Cambridge Opera Journal. Before coming to UCLA, Fink taught at the Eastman School of Music (1992-1997), and has been a visiting professor at Yale University (2006) and a Fellow at the Stanford Humanities Center (1998-99).
His ongoing projects include Declassified, a study of art music, urban space, and politics; and The Relentless Pursuit of Tone, an edited collection of essays on “sound” in popular music. Fink’s UCLA lecture course on “The History and Practice of Electronic Dance Music” was the first of its kind at a major university; it was named the “Best College Pop Music Class” of 2002 by Spin Magazine.
He also teaches on Motown and Soul, the History of Rock ‘n’ Roll, and on pop music and politics in UCLA’s long-running interdisciplinary Freshman Cluster on America in the 1960s. His dissertation advisees have won tenure-track positions at the University of Texas at Austin, UC Irvine, University of Richmond, and the Southern Methodist University, among others. Fink has been a frequent public speaker on contemporary art music in Los Angeles, presenting lectures at Disney Hall, the Getty Center, and the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art.
He has presented numerous “On the Road” programs for Bruin alumni, and has been a featured speaker on popular music during UCLA’s on-campus Parent’s Weekend. He comments on contemporary trends at the American Musicological Society’s Musicology Now blog. Fink also has professional experience as a consulting musicological expert in copyright litigation, including informal consultation, formal reports and legal depositions.