Professor of Music and Director Emeritus
Phone: (212) 998-9412
Dr. Ferrara is an author and a co-author of books and contributions to peer-reviewed journals on music theory and analysis, keyboard harmony and improvisation, philosophy of music, research methodologies, and other areas related to music. For example, regarding Dr. Ferrara's critically acclaimed book, Philosophy and the Analysis of Music: Bridges to Musical Sound, Form and Reference, reviewers have written:
• "He brings to this enterprise an accomplished analytical technique...In a tour de force, Ferrara leads us through Bartok's Improvisation No. 3 Opus 20 in an eclectic analysis par excellence...the writing and presentation are often quite brilliant, i.e., lucidly conceived and written with distinct literary skills...I think this is the great merit of Ferrara's method: he works from within both the musical and philosophical experience and is expert in both." (F. Joseph Smith, founding editor-in-chief of The Journal of Musicological Research);
• "Ferrara's book represents a truly exemplary case, from more than one perspective...The air that one breathes throughout this book is that of a new synthesis that would harmonize sense and technique...here there is a characteristic depth of discussion and thorough attention to the critical traditions that engage each successive issue as it appears. This demonstrates a rarely seen competence on both the musicological and philosophical planes...conclusively confirming the merits of Lawrence Ferrara's text...." (Giovanni Piana, University of Milan, written in Italian in the journal, Axiomathes);
• "One could read the chapters on phenomenology and hermeneutics, nearly a third of the book, and benefit from Ferrara's unusual ability to explain a difficult tradition in modern philosophy...One could read the chapters on referential meaning and the phenomenological analysis of music and gain an excellent sense of the issues and contributions in these areas...for his expositions are invariably clear, comprehensive, and judicious...that Ferrara undertakes all these methodically and in detail testifies to the seriousness of his undertaking and that he does it so well reveals the unusual breadth of his competence." (Arnold Berleant, review in The Canadian Review of Philosophy);
• "Lawrence Ferrara is a consummate philosopher who brings to his philosophizing both the special interpretive skills of the performer and those of the musicologist...The outcome is an excellent study, pioneering in the best sense and rewarding." (Jose Huertas-Jourda, Department of Philosophy, Wilfred Laurier University, review in the journal, Phenomenology and the Human Sciences);
• "Ferrara's book is bold and scholarly...Its range and its quality are impressive...It is rich in its references. It is a very good book." (Thomas F. Cloonan, review in Journal of Phenomenological Psychology)
At NYU, Dr. Ferrara has taught undergraduate and graduate classes in music theory and analysis, music history, research methods in music, keyboard harmony and improvisation, philosophy of music and the arts, music performance practices, and music copyright. Dr. Ferrara was the Director of Music Performance Programs, and from 1986-1995, Director of Doctoral (Ph.D.) Studies in the Department of Music and Performing Arts. From 1995-2011, he was Chair of the Department, in 2006 he was named Director of Steinhardt Music and Performing Arts, and in 2011, he was named Director Emeritus. Dr. Ferrara is currently on the full-time faculty in music theory and music history.
Dr. Ferrara currently sits on the Editorial Board of the journal Music and Moving Image (University of Illinois Press) and on the board of Editorial Consultants for the journal Philosophy of Music Education Review (Indiana University Press). He was Associate Editor of the Journal of Qualitative Evaluation in the Arts, and a member of the editorial board for the New York University Education Quarterly. He was a co-P.I. on federal and foundation grants for research in performing arts medicine and Vice President and co-founder of a non-profit federation of physicians and artists fostering research that bridges the arts to medicine. Dr. Ferrara was a winner of a Presidential Fellowship and the Daniel E. Griffiths Award for research, the latter regarding his writing and research on Schopenhauer's philosophy of music (Cambridge University Press).
Dr. Ferrara is an active music copyright consultant for record, music publishing and motion picture companies, and individuals in the United States and abroad. He has given invited lectures in music copyright at Harvard University Law School (in each of the last six years), and several invited presentations in music copyright at Columbia University Law School. Dr. Ferrara has also given several peer-reviewed presentations regarding music copyright at meetings of the American Musicological Society, and two panel presentations for The Copyright Society of the United States.
As a music copyright consultant, Dr. Ferrara has provided musical analyses on behalf of artists and/or composers in the United States and Europe such as: Paul McCartney, Elton John, Billy Joel, Gloria Estefan, Jimmy Page, Jay Z, Lady Gaga, will.i.am, Kanye West, Eminem, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Katy Perry, Nicki Minaj, Dr. Dre, (the late) Prince, Bruce Springsteen, Madonna, Ed Sheeran, Dr. Luke, Janet Jackson, David Guetta, Sean Combs, Ludacris, Mariah Carey, Britney Spears, (the late) Michael Jackson, Shakira, Trey Songz, Adam Young, Missy Elliott, 50 Cent, Timbaland, Wyclef Jean, (the late) James Brown, Pharrell Williams, Marc Anthony, Hillary Duff, (the late) Notrious B.I.G., DMX, T. I., Alicia Keys, (the late) Luther Vandross, Enrique Iglesias, Tom Petty, (the late) Tupac, Timbaland, Fergie, Brad Paisley, Toby Keith, Mary J. Blige, Taylor Swift, Carly Rae Jepsen, Don Henley, Usher, Drake, The-Dream, Jessie J, Bruno Mars, Justin Bieber, and Chris Brown as well as numerous groups such as Led Zeppelin, U2, The Black Eyed Peas, 3 Doors Down, Nirvana, Beastie Boys, Paramore, The White Stripes, The Black Keys, Nickelback, Daft Punk, Lil' Jon & The East Side Boyz, N'Sync, Filter, LMFAO, Wu Tang Clan, Train, AC/DC, Dropkick Murphys, SWV, C & C Music Factory, Linkin Park, El Gran Combo, Motley Crue, The Ramones, War, and Green Day.