Peter Mercer-Taylor, Professor of Musicology, earned his B.A. from Amherst College and his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley. He previously taught humanities and popular culture in the interdisciplinary honors college of Valparaiso University, joining the University of Minnesota faculty in 2001.
Mercer-Taylor's scholarship has been divided between 19th-century American hymnody, the 19th-century German classical tradition (Felix Mendelssohn in particular), and contemporary popular music, including the work of the Bangles, Manfred Mann's Earth Band, Elvis Costello, Bill Staines, and R.E.M. He has spoken at numerous conferences and symposia, and been interviewed on NPR, BBC Radio 2, and Minnesota Public Radio. Mercer-Taylor’s articles have appeared in a range of journals, including 19th-Century Music, Popular Music, Journal of the Society for American Music, Musical Quarterly, Music & Letters, and Journal of Musicology. He is the author of Gems of Exquisite Beauty: How Hymnody Carried Classical Music to America (Oxford University Press, 2020) and The Life of Mendelssohn (Cambridge University Press, 2000), and the editor of The Cambridge Companion to Mendelssohn (2004).
Mercer-Taylor's work on 19th-century US hymnody also encompasses the website AmericanClassicalHymns.com, an anthology of scores and piano recordings of 278 pre-Civil War hymn tunes based on classical music, together with a growing showcase of choral recordings of them. This project was supported by a 2020 NEH-Mellon Fellowship for Digital Publication.