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Jürgen May

Stellenbosch University
Associate Professor Extraordinary
Stellenbosch / Garmisch-Partenkirchen
Jürgen May, born in 1957, studied music in Bielefeld and musicology in Bonn. In 1989, he received his Ph.D. with a dissertation on early-seventeenth-century lute music. From 1984 to 1993 May worked on the edition of Beethoven’s letters at the Beethoven-Archiv Bonn. From 1999 to March 2018 he was Research Fellow at the Richard-Strauss-Institut Garmisch-Partenkirchen. He directed the Richard-Strauss-Quellenverzeichnis (Richard Strauss sources catalogue) and the edition of Strauss’s late writings, and is member of the advisory board of the Richard Strauss edition at the Bayerische Akademie der Wissenschaften. Since 2017, May is Associate Professor Extraordinary at Africa Open - Institute of Music, Research and Innovation (AOI), Stellenbosch University.
Jürgen May has conducted research into 19th and early 20th century composers, particularly Ludwig van Beethoven and Richard Strauss. One of his focusses is the interrelationship between creative output, biography, and social and political contexts. His publications include studies on the creative process, music and politics in National Socialist Germany, and biographical mythmaking. As an editor of texts rather than of music, his methodological approach is based on critical studies of sources in which he has considerable expertise. At AOI, May is currently preparing the research database “Genadendal Music Collections Catalogue” (GMCC), which will serve as a pilot project for MUSA, a comprehensive online platform for documentation of, and research into, music of southern Africa.