Carmel Raz is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Society of Fellows at Columbia University. She received her PhD in music theory from Yale in 2015, and holds a Masters degree in composition from the University of Chicago and a Diplom in violin performance from the Hochschule für Musik “Hanns Eisler” in Berlin. Her primary research interests focus on the music and neural science of the early Romantic period, in particular the influence of different theories of cognition on musical works, instrument design, and aesthetics. She is also interested in the influence of Common Sense philosophy on music theory in the Scottish Enlightenment as well as the interaction between philosophical conceptions of volition and musical performance. Her academic work has been recognized and supported by the Theron Rockwell Field Dissertation Prize, a Whiting Dissertation Fellowship, a Mellon Graduate Achievement Award, and the Baden Württemberg Stiftung. She has published articles in 19th-Century Music, Laboratoire italien, Current Musicology, the Zeitschrift der Gesellschaft für Musiktheorie, and the Journal of Neo-Victorian Studies. Her chapters have appeared or are forthcoming in Nineteenth-Century Opera and the Scientific Imagination, The Power of Music: Historical and Scientific Perspectives on Music, Emotions and Wellbeing, and Al-Andalus and its Jewish Diasporas: Musical Exodus. Starting in July 2018, she will be a Research Group Leader at the Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics in Frankfurt, Germany, leading a group entitled “Histories of Music, Mind, and Body.”
Before turning to academia, Carmel spent about a decade as a composer and performer. As a composer, her music was performed by the Arditti, Molinari, Carmel and Pacifica Quartets, the Meitar Ensemble, and the Kammerakademie Potsdam, and she was commissioned by Musica Nova, the Omaha Area Youth Philharmonic, the Millennium Chamber Players and Israel Chamber Music Institute. On violin, she has been featured as a chamber musician at Carnegie Hall, the Concertgebouw, and the Kennedy Center, and regularly performed with the Israel Contemporary Players, the Israel Contemporary String Quartet, the Ensemble Modern Academy, and the Meitar Ensemble at a variety of international music festivals. In her early twenties, she was concertmaster of the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, and was a member of the Lucerne Festival Academy Orchestra and the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester, touring across Europe and Asia under the batons of Boulez, Barenboim and Abbado.
Nowadays, Carmel remains active as an improviser, performing on violin and viola in a variety of genres ranging from Jazz to free improv and world music. She has collaborated with artists including Jason Lindner, Omer Avital, Eran Zur, Tamir Muskat, Victoria Hanna, and Yoyo Ma's Silk Road Project, and played at the Winter Jazz Fest, the Lincoln Center Out of Doors Festival, the Charlie Parker Jazz Festival, BRIC Jazz Festival, and GlobalFest. She also tours with the Jewish music band Tafillalt, with whom she has performed across Europe (notably at the “Sounds of Israel” Festival in Hamburg and the Lviv Klezfest in Ukraine), and can be heard on recordings on Hatav Hashmini, Kameah, Apprise, Aural Terrains, Imaginary Chicago, and Interval labels.