Jen Gunderman

musician | assistant professor of musicology


Nashville musician and educator Jen Gunderman divides her time between teaching, performing, and recording.  

She has been at the Blair School of Music at Vanderbilt University since 2004, specializing in American popular music history courses, but she is also an active studio session musician and producer, and she plays keyboards and sings regularly with several groups based in Nashville, most often with Sheryl Crow.

In February 2016 she launched the Coursera MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) “Understanding the Music Business: What Is Music Worth?”, which is the Blair School’s first Coursera offering, and Vanderbilt’s first Coursera course produced entirely in their Always Available format. She is also the host and director of the interview series Conversations at Blair, whose guests have included Peter Frampton and Sheryl Crow.

As a classical piano major at Vassar College, she studied at the Heidelberg-Mannheim Hochschule fur Musik and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. After graduating, she spent two years working for the Artists & Repertoire Department at Columbia Records in NYC before moving to Seattle to earn an M.A. in ethnomusicology from the University of Washington.  

For the next eight years she spent most of her time touring as a keyboardist/singer in the U.S., Canada, and Europe with various rock bands, including Dag (Columbia Records), the Jayhawks (American/Columbia Records), and Caitlin Cary (Yep Roc Records). Since then, she has worked as a freelance musician, performing and recording with such diverse musicians as Kris Kristofferson, Roger McGuinn (Byrds), Michael McDonald, Chris Robinson (Black Crowes), Exene Cervenka (X), Willie Nelson, Loretta Lynn, Todd Snider, The Dixie Chicks, St. Vincent (Annie Clark), John Prine, Emmylou Harris, Lyle Lovett, Travis Tritt, Jim Lauderdale, Vince Gill, Warren Haynes, Steve Cropper, Gretchen Wilson, Duane Eddy, Roseanne Cash, Brendan Benson, Sam Bush, Don Was, Robert Earl Keen, Patti Griffin, Buddy Miller, and many others.  

She has performed at Avery Fisher Hall (Lincoln Center, NYC), Royal Albert Hall (London, UK), Tanglewood, the Hollywood Bowl, and the Ryman Auditorium, as well as in clubs, theaters, festivals, amphitheaters, and sports arenas. She has recorded for major and independent record labels and has appeared on radio and television shows in the U.S., Canada, and Europe, including Late Night with David Letterman, The Tonight Show with Jay LenoThe Colbert ReportThe ViewGood Morning America, and others.