Fotograaf: Eduard Lampe

dhr. prof. dr. W. (Walter) van de Leur

Jazz en improvisatiemuziek (leerstoel in samenwerking met de Amsterdamse Hogeschool voor de Kunsten / Conservatorium van Amsterdam)
  • Faculteit der Geesteswetenschappen
    Capaciteitsgroep Muziekwetenschap
  • Bezoekadres
    Nieuwe Doelenstraat 16-18  Amsterdam
  • Postadres:
    Nieuwe Doelenstraat  16-18
    1012 CP  Amsterdam
    T: 0205254667

Professor of Jazz and Improvised Music

Dr. Van de Leur is the first Professor of Jazz and Improvised Music in the Netherlands. Because of his dual position at the University of Amsterdam and Conservatory of Amsterdam, he is deeply involved with interdisciplinary and practice-based research. Van de Leur's research partly focuses on the critical reading of archival jazz sources. He is an internationally recognized expert on the music of Duke Ellington and his collaborator Billy Strayhorn. His publications (Oxford UP 2002, Cambridge UP [forthcoming], Princeton UP [forthcoming]) address among others questions of representation, and in general seek to challenge perceived jazz myths. He was guest-editor of the Duke Ellington Special Edition of the peer-reviewed Jazz Perspectives (March 2012).

Van de Leur also specializes in jazz in the Netherlands, and here his research deals with jazz criticism (Amsterdam UP 2009, Jazz Bulletin 2012 and 2013, Current Research in Jazz, 2012), representation and identity (ARCC paper 2011). While he works in international academic circles (e.g., as editor for the Jazz Series at University of Michigan Press, for the peer-reviewed journals Jazz Perspectives , and Music and Practice ), his work branches out to cultural practitioners as well. He was the initiator and sole researcher for six groundbreaking recording projects that evolved around newly discovered jazz works of Strayhorn, Mary Lou Williams, Gil Evans and others ( ), and is the initiator and editor in chief for the NL Real Book , an ongoing publication series of jazz compositions from the Netherlands (

He is regularly invited to speak about jazz and jazz research, for a wide variety of audiences, from students at the University of Ghent, Belgium (Februari 2015) to concertgoers at the Bishkek Jazz Festival and Conference, Kirgizstan   (April 2015), and from music industry professionals at the Dutch Jazz and World Meeting (December 2010) to jazz musicians at the Jazzdag (June 2011).

Van de Leur served as Principal Investigator and Senior Researcher for  Rhythm Changes (2010-2013). In that capacity, he directed the  Jazz and National Identities Conference in 2011, and the  Jazz Beyond Borders Conference in 2014, both hosted by the Conservatorium van Amsterdam. As of September 2015, he is Principal Investigator and Senior Researcher for CHIME (Cultural Heritage and Improvised Music in European Festivals), funded under the JPI Cultural Heritage program by the European Community.

Van de Leur is on the editorial board of  Jazz Perspectives, a peer-reviewed journal published by Routledge, for which he guest-edited the Special Issue on Ellington (6:1-2, 2012). He is also on the boards of  Music and Research (University of Oslo), the Journal of the  Royal Society for Music History in the Netherlands(Utrecht University) and the University of Michigan Press’  Jazz Series. He has published articles in a variety of peer-reviewed academic journals and has chapters forthcoming in a number of edited volumes. Two book manuscripts are currently in process, one on the reception of jazz in Europe, and one on jazz and death.



  • Down with Jazz!: The Reception of Hot Music in Interbellum Europe (1918-1940). Edited volume (in process).
  • Bird Lives!: Jazz and Narratives of Death. Book manuscript (in process).
  • NL Real Book , Vol. 2. Editor in Chief. Amsterdam: MCN (in process).
  • NL Real Book , Vol. 1. Editor in Chief. Amsterdam: MCN 2011.
  • Jazz behind the dikes: Vijfentachtig jaar schrijven over jazz in Nederland . Oratiereeks Amsterdam University Press, 2009.
  • Something to Live For: The Music of Billy Strayhorn . New York: Oxford University Press, 2002. Winner of the  2003 Irving Lowens Book Award (Society of American Music) and the  2003 Award for Best Research in Recorded Jazz Music (Association of Recorded Sound Collections).

Chapters in Books

  • “Swan Songs: Final Concerts and Last Recordings.” Book chapter. In: Tony Whyton, Nick Gebhardt, Nicole Rustin (eds.): The Routledge Companion to New Jazz Studies. London: Routledge. (in process).
  • “The Reception and Development of Jazz in the Netherlands (1945-1970).” Book chapter. In: Hans Bak, Frank Mehring, Mathilde Roza (eds.): Transnational America—Transnational Europe?: Intercultural Perspectives on Media, Memory, and the Projections of Democracy. Leiden: Brill (under review).
  • “‘Moved to the Point Where She Could no Longer Contain Herself’: Ellington and Audience Interaction at the Newport Jazz Festival.” Postscript. In: Musicians and Audiences. Ioannis Tsioulakis and Elina Hytönen-Ng, (eds). Ashgate Press (under review).
  • “When I Die, You Better Second-Line.” Book chapter. In: Helen Dell, Helen Hickey (eds.). Singing Death. Burlington VT: Ashgate Press (under review).
  • "'People Wrap Their Lunches in Them': Duke Ellington and His Written Music Manuscripts". In: John Howland, ed.  Duke Ellington Studies Anthology . New York: Cambridge University Press (forthcoming).
  • Take the ‘A’ Train: Setting the Score Straight” and 40 vignettes on Billy Strayhorn compositions. In: Billy Strayhorn: An Illustrated History. Chicago: Agate Publishing (in press, 2015)
  • "‘Seldom Seen, But Always Heard’: Billy Strayhorn and Duke Ellington." In: Ed Green, ed. The Cambridge Companion to Duke Ellington . New York: Cambridge University Press, 2014..
  • Entries for Gil Evans, Boyd Raeburn, Billy Strayhorn, and Claude Thornhill in: Charles Hiroshi Garrett (ed.). The Grove Dictionary of American Music, 2nd Edition. New York: Oxford University Press, 2013.
  • "Scores of Scores: Einige Anmerkungen zu Manuskripten der Billy Strayhorn und Duke Ellington Sammlungen in den USA."In: Duke Ellington und die Folgen . Darmstadt: Jazz-Institut Darmstadt and Wolke Verlag, 2000.
  • "Billy Strayhorn." In: The International Dictionary of Black Composers , Vol. 2. Chicago: Columbia College of Chicago Press, 1999.


  •  “Your Music Has Flung the Story of ‘Hot Harlem’ to the Four Corners of the Earth!: Race and Narrative in Black, Brown and Beige.” (With Prof. Lisa Barg, McGill University). Musical Quarterly. (Fall-Winter 2013) 96 (3-4): 426-458.
  • “Jazzophielen versus Muziekkwakzalvers: De Jazzwereld 1931-1940.” Jazz Bulletin 89 (Dec. 2013): 44-51. (Revised reprint from Liber Plurium Vocum voor Rokus de Groot, 2012. In Dutch).
  •  "Clichémachines versus Improvisatoren: Jazzwereld 1967-1973." Jazz Bulletin 82 ( March 2012; article is in Dutch).
  •  “‘Zuivere Jazz’ and ‘Muziekkwakzalvers’: De Jazzwereld 1931-1940.” Liber Plurium Vocum voor Rokus de Groot. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 128-38. (In Dutch.) Originally appeared as “‘Pure Jazz’ and ‘Charlatanry’: A History of De Jazzwereld Magazine, 1931-1940.” Dan Morgenstern Festschrift, 2012. (article is in Dutch).
  •  "'Pure Jazz' and 'Charlatanry': A History of De Jazzwereld Magazine, 1931-1940." Dan Morgenstern Commemorative Festschrift. Current Research in Jazz (, Vol. 4. (2012).
  • Introduction as Guest Editor to Jazz Perspectives Thematic Issue on Duke Ellington. Jazz Perspectives 6:1-2, 1-3 (2012).
  • "Duke Ellington, Mary Lou Williams, The River and Chief Natoma." DEMS Bulletin, Vol. 32 (August-November 2010)
  • "A Jungle at Duke's Place? Titles, Credits, and the Secondary Literature." Blue Light (Winter 2003): 14-15.
  •  "The 'American Impressionists' and the 'Birth of the Cool'." Tijdschrift voor Muziektheorie (February 2001): 18-26.
  • " A Warehouse Full of Paper: The Duke Ellington Collection." Jazz-Nu (March 1995): 14-15.

Invited reviews

  •  "Swingende geschiedschrijving: Mythen van de jazzgeschiedenis ontzenuwd." Academische Boekengids (Amsterdam University Press, May 2010): 21-23.
  •  "The Oxford Companion to Jaz z." Tijdschrift voor Muziektheorie (February 2003): 83-85.
  • "Annual Review of Jazz Studies." Jazz Research News (February 2001): 56-57.


  • van de Leur, W. (2015). 'People Wrap Their Lunches in Them': Duke Ellington and His Written Music Manuscripts. In J. Howland, & E. Green (Eds.), Duke Ellington Studies Anthology. New York: Cambridge University Press. [details]
  • van de Leur, W. (2015). Swan Songs: Jazz, Death and Famous Last Concerts. In H. Yu (Ed.), The Eight International Conference of the Society for Oriental Music & International Symposium on Jazz Cosmopolitanism from East to West. (pp. 97-103). Ningbo, China: College of Arts, Ningbo University. [details]


  • van de Leur, W. (2014). "Seldom Seen, But Always Heard": Billy Strayhorn and Duke Ellington. In E. Green (Ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Duke Ellington. (pp. 186-196). New York: Cambridge University Press. [details]


  • Barg, L., & van de Leur, W. (2013). "Your Music Has Flung the Story of ‘Hot Harlem’ to the Four Corners of the Earth!": Race and Narrative in Black, Brown and Beige. The Musical Quarterly, 96(3-4), 426-458. DOI: 10.1093/musqtl/gdt009 [details] [PDF]


  • van de Leur, W. (2012). Jazz Perspectives Ellington Special Issue: Introduction. Jazz Perspectives (online), 6(1-2), 1-3. DOI: 10.1080/17494060.2012.749581 [details]
  • van de Leur, W. (2012). ’Pure jazz’ and ‘charlatanry’: a history of De Jazzwereld Magazine, 1931-1940. Current Research in Jazz, 4[details] [PDF]


  • van de Leur, W. (2010). Duke Ellington, Mary Lou Williams, 'The river' and 'Chief Natoma'. The international DEMS Bulletin, 10(2), 5. [details]


  • van de Leur, W. (2012). Zuivere jazz en muziekkwakzalvers: "De Jazzwereld" 1931-1940. In S. van Maas, C. Hulshof, & P. Oldenhave (Eds.), Liber plurium vocum voor Rokus de Groot: ter gelegenheid van zijn afscheid als hoogleraar in de Muziekwetenschap aan de Universiteit van Amsterdam, 1 juli 2012. (pp. 128-138). Amsterdam: Universiteit van Amsterdam. [details]


  • van de Leur, W. (2009). Jazz behind the dikes: vijfentachtig jaar schrijven over jazz in Nederland. (Oratiereeks / Faculteit der Geesteswetenschappen). Amsterdam: Vossiuspers UvA. [details] [PDF]
This list of publications is extracted from the UvA-Current Research Information System. Questions? Ask the library or the Pure staff of your faculty / institute. Log in to Pure to edit your publications.
  • Conservatorium van Amsterdam

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