Leon Chisholm studied applied music and musicology in Canada and the United States, obtaining a PhD in historical musicology from the University of California, Berkeley in 2015. His dissertation research, funded in part by the Cini Foundation in Venice, concerned the mechanization of polyphonic vocal idioms brought about by the rise of lute and keyboard playing in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Italy. He is currently a postdoctoral scholar at the Humboldt University Berlin and of CRC 980, “Epistemes in Motion,” at the Free University Berlin. Previously, he held postdoctoral fellowships at the Deutsches Museum in Munich and the Italian Academy at Columbia University.
Leon is currently at work on projects concerning the social construction of timbre in organ building and the material origins of musical style and concepts in early modern Europe. His book project Keyboard Playing and the Reconceptualization of Polyphonic Music in Early Modern Italy investigates how seminal changes in the concept and structure of polyphony were rooted in a shift of praxis defined by the increasing role of keyboard instruments in composition, teaching, theory, performance, and rehearsal. At the MPIWG, he is a member of the Epistemes of Modern Acoustics Working Group. In addition to his academic research, Leon is a practicing musician specializing in organs and historical keyboards. He is also co-editor of the blog for the History of Music Theory group of the American Musicological Society and the Society for Music Theory.