Christoph Wolff

Doctor of Arts

From left, Ron Liebowitz, Christoph Wolff, and Deborah Thomas '75.

Christoph J. Wolff, renowned musicologist, esteemed writer, and foremost authority on two of the greatest composers ever to live.

As a child growing up in Germany, you fell in love with music, learning to play the organ and developing a fascination with that instrument’s sounds, mechanics, and  history. This interest became a lifelong passion, one that would lead you to some of the world’s most prestigious universities—the universities of Berlin, Erlangen, and Freiburg in your native Germany, and Princeton, Columbia, and Harvard here in the States—where you have distinguished yourself as an innovative researcher, a prolific writer, and a beloved teacher.  

With research interests spanning the 15th to early 20th centuries, your knowledge and influence are far-reaching. Yet it is your scholarship regarding the lives of Johann Sebastian Bach and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart that distinguish you today. In 2001, your landmark biography of Bach was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and hailed as one of the greatest books ever written on classical music. More recently, you have turned your attention to the final years of Mozart’s life, offering a reinterpretation of a traditional narrative in a book that is receiving critical acclaim. Your contributions to our understanding of these pivotal figures in the history of music are truly inspiring and worthy of our commendation.

It is therefore my privilege, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Board of Trustees of Middlebury College, to confer upon you the degree of Doctor of Arts, honoris causa, with all the rights, honors, privileges, and responsibilities here and everywhere appertaining to this degree.

May 27, 2012