Wesleyan University granted Dr. Sternfeld a B.A. with honors in music, with focuses in music history and choral conducting. She earned her M.A. and Ph.D. in musicology from Princeton University in 2002, where her graduate studies included opera and culture, specialized topics in Western art music, and gender studies across disciplines.
Her book, The Megamusical (2006, Indiana University Press), is the first to explore the phenomenon of the blockbuster musicals of the last thirty years. It discusses both the internal workings and the external cultural features of the "megamusical." She is currently at work on her next book, which explores the new boom in musical theater across different media, especially television; in other words, her work involves making scholarly work out of High School Musical, Glee, and The Glee Project, among other things.
She also contributed a new chapter to the second edition (2008) of the Cambridge Companion to the Musical, on the subject of musical revivals, films, television productions, and recordings. With ethnomusicologist Elizabeth Wollman, she co-wrote the chapter "After the 'Golden Age'" for The Oxford Handbook of American Musical Theatre and Film (2011). She has also authored numerous other chapters and articles (including a piece on Damn Yankees and the culture of the 1950s, and another on the texts and contexts of Rent, as well as twelve new articles for the leading source of American music history, the Grove Dictionary of American Music) and delivered many national conference papers. She is an active member of the Society for American Music, the American Musicological Society, the International Association for the Study of Popular Music, and the College Music Society.
Among her previous posts, Dr. Sternfeld taught academic writing in the Princeton University Writing Program, and continues to work with students on writing, no matter the musical topic. She was a Post-Doctoral Fellow in the Center for the Arts in Society at Carnegie Mellon University, and has also held teaching posts in the music departments at the University of Pittsburgh, Duke University, and California State University, Long Beach. She is a member of the Editorial Board of Studies in Musical Theatre and the American Music Research Center Journal and served as a Guest Editor of a special edition of the journal Studies in Musical Theatre, published in June 2011. Besides her work in musicology and music history, Dr. Sternfeld is a trained classical and theater singer, and enjoys choral singing and conducting as well as musical theater directing and coaching of composers, lyricists, and performers.