Assistant Professor/ICS Coord.
School of Music

Katherine M. Leo (Ph.D., 2016, Musicology, The Ohio State University; J.D., 2015, The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law) joined Millikin University in 2017 as assistant professor of music. In this role, Dr. Leo serves as coordinator of musicology and chair of academic music studies in the School of Music, where she teaches a variety of traditional, hybrid, online, and travel courses in western music history and ethnomusicology. Dr. Leo is a research advisor for the James Millikin Scholar (JMS) honors program and was recipient of the 2021 JMS Educator of the Year award. She further serves the Millikin community as University International Cultures and Structures (ICS) Coordinator, as a member of the International Programs and Policy Committee, and contributes to the Millikin-Decatur Symphony Orchestra (MDSO) as author, speaker, and cellist.

Dr. Leo’s research investigates the intersection of music and legal histories in the US, with emphases on matters of authorship, originality, evidence, and musical similarity in federal copyright litigation. Her recent monograph on this history of musical expert testimony, Forensic Musicology and the Blurred Lines of Federal Copyright History (Lexington | Amazon), has been praised for being “meticulously researched, and sparely and clearly written.” Dr. Leo’s research has been featured in the peer-reviewed journals Jazz Perspectives, Blue Light, Music and Politics, and the Journal of Music History Pedagogy, and she has a forthcoming chapter on Forensic Musicology in the Oxford Handbook of Public Music Theory (Oxford University Press, 2022).

As an active academic and forensic musicologist, Dr. Leo has notably presented at annual national meetings of the American Musicological Society, the College Music Society, the Society for American Music, and the Society for Music Theory, as well as at international jazz conferences hosted in Austria, England, and Germany. She has signed amicus curiae briefs in multiple high-profile federal music copyright lawsuits and serves as a contributor to the acclaimed Music Copyright Infringement Resource (MCIR) blog.