Mikkel K Vad

My research revolves around the themes of history (especially reception history and historiography), space and place (especially cultural geography and transnational music), and technology and media (especially theory and analysis of the recording). I think about these topics in terms of aesthetics, politics, and history. My main research project focuses on intersections of European jazz and American culture. It asks the basic question, specifically about the dissemination and reception of European jazz in America: what happens when jazz returns "home"? I am also a specialist on the jazz history of my native Denmark; and more broadly on Nordic music, especially on 20th century popular music and postwar modernism. My secondary research includes projects on the analysis and theory of space in recorded music and its connection to visual culture and cultural geography; and on sites of memory in jazz and popular music culture. Before beginning my Ph.D. I taught the Sociology of Music and Cultural Studies at the Rhythmic Music Conservatory in Copenhagen and was a radio presenter of jazz and classical music at the Danish Broadcasting Corporation. I also played, conducted, and wrote a lot of music.

Educational Background & Specialties

Educational Background

  • M.A.: Musicology, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, 2012.
  • B.A.: Musicology, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, 2009.


  • Musicology, jazz studies, popular music studies, analysis of recorded music and media, music iconography and audiovisuality, music sociology, Nordic music after 1750, transnational music, historiography and memory studies, music and cultural theory
Research & Professional Activities

Professional Activities

  • Music & Sound Studies Interdisciplinary Research Group: Exec. committee member , 2017–
  • Music & Sound Studies conference: "Techniques of Listening": Organizing committee , Fall 2017
  • CSCL graduate student conference: "New Universalisms": Organizing committee , Fall 2016
  • CSCL colloquium series: Co-organizer , 2015–16, fall 2017
  • IASPM-Norden: Board member , 2013–
  • Vad, Mikkel Kaas (2016–2017). "Jazzhus Montmartre: Historieskrivning og kulturel erindring" [Jazz House Montmartre: Historiography and Cultural Memory]. Danish Musicology Online, 8, 5–21. Link
  • Vad, Mikkel Kaas (2017). "Perspectives from the spatial turn on the analysis of space in recorded music". Journal on the Art of Record Production, 11, Link
  • Vad, Mikkel Kaas (2016). "Sounds and Voices From the Past: Using Archive Material in Radio Music Shows". Danish Yearbook of Musicology, 40, 87–95. Link
  • Vad, Mikkel Kaas (2012). "Signifyin(g) Carl: Nielsen's Music in the Jazz Repertoire". Carl Nielsen Studies, 5, 347–365. Link
  • Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship, University of Minnesota., 2019 - 2020
  • Center for Austrian Studies Summer Research Grant, University of Minnesota., 2019
  • Hella Mears Fellowship in European Studies, Center for German & European Studies, University of Minnesota, 2018
  • Lloyd Old and Constance Old Lecture Award in Music, Dance & Theatre in Visual Culture by Early Career Scholars for “Landscape Iconography in Nordic Jazz and Popular Music,” Association Réper-toire International d’Iconographie Musicale., 2017
  • Social Science Research Council Dissertation Proposal Development Fellowship, 2017
  • Graduate Research Partnership Program (GRPP) Fellowship, College of Liberal Arts, University of Minnesota, 2015