Distinguished Professor of Music
Ph.D., Princeton University
Reynolds received his B.A. in music from UC Riverside and an M.A. and Ph.D. from Princeton University. He began his career as a lecturer and choral director at the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, and then taught and conducted at McGill University. Since 1985 he has been at UC Davis. Beginning in 1997 he has spent several years as Director of Music at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church.
Reynolds was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2016 and an Honorary Member of the American Musicological Society (AMS) in 2017. He had previously served as President of the AMS for the years 2013 and 2014. As a teacher he received UC Davis Prize for Undergraduate Teaching and Research (2013), and also the Academic Senate Distinguished Teaching Award (2000–01).
Reynolds is the author of three books, one on Renaissance music in fifteenth-century Rome, and another on how composers in the nineteenth century influenced each other, Motives for Allusion: Context and Content in Nineteenth-Century Music (Harvard, 2003). His latest book is Wagner, Schumann and the Lessons of Beethoven’s Ninth (UC Press, 2015). His research has been supported by fellowships from the ACLS, the NEH (twice), the Humboldt Foundation, and two residencies at the Villa I Tatti in Florence. He was a founding editor of Beethoven Forum and also served a term as editor of the AMS Studies in Music monograph series published with Oxford University Press.
Motives for Allusion was a finalist for the Otto Kinkeldey Award by the AMS. His article, “Porgy and Bess: An ‘American Wozzeck’” (2007), won the H. Colin Slim Award from the AMS, and also the Kurt Weill Prize from the Kurt Weill Foundation. Reynolds received the 2014 Richard S. Hill Award from the Music Library Association for his article, “Documenting the Zenith of Women Song Composers: A Database of Songs Published in the United States and the British Commonwealth, ca. 1890–1930”. He is donating his collection of more than 6500 songs composed by women to the university library, where much of it is housed in special collections as the Christopher A. Reynolds Collection of Women’s Song, 1800–1950.
He has held visiting professorships at Yale, Stanford, and UC Berkeley, in Germany at the University of Heidelberg and the University of Goettingen, and in Florence at the Villa I Tatti, the Harvard University Center for Renaissance Studies. As an administrator, Reynolds was twice chair of the Music Department and for a year was chair of the faculty of the College of Letters and Science. From 2002–04 he directed the UC Study Center in Germany.