Miloš Velimirović

Miloš Milorad Velimirović (December 10, 1922 - April 18 2008) was an American musicologist. Twice a recipient of a Fulbright fellowship, he was considered an international expert in the areas of Byzantine music, the history of Slavonic music, and the history of Italian opera in the 18th century.

Early life

Velimirović was born in Belgrade, Serbia to Milorad and Desanka (Jovanović) Velimirović, a physician and a piano teacher respectively. In his boyhood in Serbia, he learned to play the violin and piano. He was gifted with the ability to learn multiple languages, in addition to a lifelong passion for music. During his adolescent years he studied music history and music theory. Velimirović began a program of studies in music history at the University of Belgrade, also studying violin and piano at the Conservatory. In 1941, with the invasion of the Axis Powers, the university was closed, and Velimirović's studies there were suspended until after the war.

Fieldwork in Yugoslavia

From 1950 to 1951 Velimirović worked with Harvard University professor Albert Lord in collecting oral epic songs from singers in Yugoslavia. This fieldwork was a followup trip to the work done by another Harvard professor of Classics, Milman Parry, from 1933 to 1935. Lord himself had assisted Parry in the final stages of that trip. The material gathered in this trip is discussed most prominently in Lord's 1960 book, The Singer of Tales. Albert and Mary Lou Lord sponsored Velimirović's immigration to the United States in 1952, to enter the graduate studies program at Harvard. Velimirović received a master’s degree (in 1953) and a doctoral degree (in 1957) from Harvard.

Academic career

Velimirović was a Junior Fellow in Byzantine Studies at Dumbarton Oaks for the 1955-56 and 1956-57 academic years. From 1957 to 1969, he taught at Yale University. During that time, he was awarded a Fulbright fellowship for research in Greece in the 1963-64 academic year. Beginning in 1969, until 1973, Velimirović was on the faculty of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He taught at the University of Virginia from 1973 to 1993, serving as chair of the McIntire Department of Music from 1974 to 1978. In 1985, he was awarded a second Fulbright fellowship, to teach abroad in Yugoslavia. Velimirović retired as a Professor Emeritus in 1993. After retirement, he continued to reside in Virginia, until his death in 2008, at the age of 85, in Bridgewater.


In 2003, Velimirović was invited to a symposium at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow. As a follow-up to this event, his Russian colleagues presented him with a festschrift volume entitled Византия и Восточная Европа : литургические и музыкальные связи : к 80-летию доктора Милоша Велимировича (Byzantium and East Europe Liturgical and Musical Links in honor of Miloš Velimirović.) The volume was originally written in Russian and included contributions by authors from nine countries. On October 18, 2004 the National and Capodistrian University of Athens awarded an honorary doctorate to Velimirović.

Selected Works

A more detailed bibliography of Velimirović's works through about 1993 is available in a family history Velimirovići, by Gojko Antić. Included in the bibliography are entries documenting translations of Velimirović's writings, primarily into Greek, Serbo-Croatian, and Bulgarian.


  • (1960). Byzantine elements in early Slavic Chant: The Hirmologion. Copenhagen: E. Munksgaard.
  • (1966). Essays Presented to Egon Wellesz. London & New York: Oxford University Press.
  • (1966-1979). Studies in Eastern Chant, volumes I - IV. Oxford University Press.
  • (1972). Words and Music: The Scholar's View: A Medley of Problems and Solutions Compiled in Honor of A. Tillman Merritt by Sundry Hands. Cambridge: Harvard University, Department of Music .
  • (1980). The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. London: Macmillan.
  • (1984). Russian and Soviet Music: Essays for Boris Schwarz. Ann Arbor: UMI Research Press.
  • (1990). The New Oxford History of Music: v.2 The Early Middle Ages to 1300. 2nd ed., Oxford University Press.
  • (1990). The New Oxford History of Music: v.2 The Early Middle Ages to 1300. 2nd ed., Oxford University Press.
  • (1991). The Byzantine Tradition after the Fall of Constantinople. Charlottesville, VA: University Press of Virginia.
  • (1991). Christianity and the arts in Russia. Cambridge University Press.
  • (1993). ΤΟ ΕΛΛΗΝΙΚΟΝ: Studies in Honor of Speros Vryonis, Jr.. New Rochelle, New York: Aristide D. Caratzas.
  • (1994). Serbia's Historical Heritage. New York: Columbia University Press.
  • (1995). Originality in Byzantine Literature, Art and Music: A Collection of Essays. Oxford: Oxbow Books.
  • (1995). Literary and Musical Notes: a Festschrift for Wm. A Little. Berne: Peter Lang.
  • (2000). Medieval Scholarship: Biographical Studies on the Formation of a Discipline: Volume 3: Philosophy and the Arts. New York & London: Garland Publishing, Inc..
  • (2001). The Study of Medieval Chant: Paths and Bridges, East and West: in Honor of Kenneth Levy. Cambridge: Boydell & Brewer.
  • Findeizen, Nikolai History of Music in Russia from Antiquity to 1800. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.


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  • Blažeković, Zdravko A Byzantinist Of Serbian Origin: A Conversation With Musicologist Miloš Velimirović. New Sound International Magazine for Music, Issue 26 - 2005. Music Information Center of the Union of Yugoslav Composers' Organizations. Retrieved on 2008-07-30..
  • Fellows in Byzantine Studies. Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection. Dumbarton Oaks, Washington DC, Trustees for Harvard University. (2008). Retrieved on 2008-06-29..
  • In Memoriam: Miloš Velimirovic. University of Virginia McIntire Department of Music. Retrieved on 2008-09-15..
  • "Milos M. Velimirovic obituary". Charlottesville Daily Progress. Media General Communications Holdings, Retrieved on 2008-09-15.
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