Dr W van de Leur (b. 1962) has been appointed professor of Jazz and Improvised Music in the Faculty of Humanities at the Universiteit van Amsterdam (UvA). There is a growing public interest in jazz. Due to its distinct and unique character, Dutch jazz is part of the cutting-edge of international artistic developments. In his function as professor, Walter van de Leur will stimulate scholarly reflection on jazz and strengthen the collaboration between academic research and that conducted in the professional music sector. His research will focus primarily on jazz in the Netherlands, with an emphasis on its music-theoretical, historical, and socio-cultural aspects.
Van de Leur has been a research coordinator and teacher at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam at the Amsterdamse Hogeschool voor de Kunsten since 2001. This position will be combined with his professorship at the UvA. Van de Leur is also affiliated with the Dutch Jazz Orchestra as a researcher. His research has produced CDs of supposedly lost music by artists such as Billy Strayhorn and Mary Lou Williams. He is also a member of the editorial board of the refereed journal Jazz Perspectives and of a jazz series from University of Michigan Press. In 2009, Van de Leur’s book The Real Birth of the Cool: Orchestral Jazz in the 1940s will be published by Oxford University Press. His book Something to Live for: The Music of Billy Strayhorn (Oxford University Press) which was published in 2002 received the prestigious Irving Lowens Book Award from the Society of American Music.