Josh Rutner

saxophonist, editor, indexer, etc.


Academic editing + Proofreading + Indexing



Editing & Indexing

Seth Brodsky, From 1989, or European Music and the Modernist Unconscious (University of California Press, 2017)

Winner of the 2018 Lewis Lockwood Award for outstanding work of musicological scholarship

"At this point, Josh Rutner knows this book better than anyone alive, including me; he has edited every line of it with strigine sharpness and the passionate dedication of a bibliophile. His eye and care could not but make every book better."

"I could hug Josh Rutner all day, all week, for the epiphanic index he gave my book."

Seth Brodsky, Associate Professor of Music and the Humanities at the University of Chicago


Amber Jamilla Musser, Sensual Excess: Queer Femininity and Brown Jouissance (NYU Press, 2018)

“Working with Josh helped me to really see the beauty of a well-put-together index. He unearthed complex theoretical lines running throughout the text and he also found a way to incorporate the book's sly humor. The result is a compact and clever index that forms its own spine for the book. Apart from indexing, he found several errors in the manuscript that I was very grateful to have corrected. I cannot recommend his services highly enough—he works quickly and thoroughly and communicates abundantly through it all. Above all, he is a thoughtful reader and it was a pleasure to work with him.”

Amber Jamilla Musser, Associate Professor of American Studies at George Washington University

Editing & Indexing

Jennifer Iverson, Electronic Inspirations: Technologies of the Cold War Musical Avant-Garde (Oxford University Press, 2018)

“When a reviewer suggested my book manuscript would benefit from an ‘activist copy-editor,’ I was crushed. How dare he critique the writing I had worked so hard to polish? Once I got over the sting, I realized that writing can always improve. Through my colleague network, I found Josh. He fine-tuned my manuscript in ways that were genius—subtle, light-handed, and with real recognition of my organic voice. I loved receiving edited chapters and seeing that Josh had gently pushed my prose into balanced alignment. He was responsive, communicative, and—bonus—curious and knowledgeable about the subject of my book. It was a true pleasure to work with him, to read his brilliant index, and to geek out together along the way. I appreciated his every intervention, which made my book summarily better. A completely affirming experience. Highly recommended!”

Jennifer Iverson, Assistant Professor of Music at the University of Chicago


Sarah Dowling, Translingual Poetics: Writing Personhood Under Settler Colonialism (University of Iowa Press, 2018)

“As a first-time author, there was a lot about the publication process that confused me. Josh brought the fun back. He was genuinely enthusiastic, and it was clear from the first that he was completely committed to making my book the best it could be. In addition to crafting a wonderful index (and catching a number of embarrassing errors in the process), Josh also flagged the things he liked—specific sentences, turns of phrase, and even my conclusion. I can't express how grateful I was to work with someone who combined professionalism and caring in this way. Josh renewed my enthusiasm for my own scholarship, and I very much hope to work with him again. It was a total pleasure.”

Sarah Dowling, Assistant Professor at the Centre for Comparative Literature and Victoria College at the University of Toronto.

Editing & Indexing

Ryan Dohoney, Saving Abstraction: Morton Feldman, the de Menils, and the Rothko Chapel (Oxford University Press, 2019)

"Josh was a steady hand and rock-solid collaborator in the stress-filled years before tenure. He is always enthusiastic and his terrific editing not only helped me to get a major article accepted but eased my book through the review and contract stages with the press. His eagle eye and deep thinking were invaluable in the final stages of the production process; he went out of his way to refine the press’s copyediting to make the book even better. His index is a powerful interpretation of the book—one that, even after all the time I spent writing it, helped me see my work in a new light. I look forward to many more years of working together.”

Ryan Dohoney, Associate Professor of Musicology at the Bienen School of Music at Northwestern University


Jennifer Ronyak, Intimacy, Performance, and the Lied in the Early Nineteenth Century (Indiana University Press, 2018)

”Before I worked with Josh, I never knew that an index for an academic book could be not just helpful to the reader, but a fascinating document in its own right. Josh also provided invaluable secondary help on the last stages of correcting the proof for my manuscript; his keen eye saved me from a number of potentially embarrassing errors. I would recommend Josh wholeheartedly as an editor, proofreader, and indexer—he is a sheer pleasure to work with.”

—Jennifer Ronyak, Senior Scientist in Musicology at the Institut für Musikästhetik of the Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst Graz

Editing & Indexing

Fumi Okiji, Jazz As Critique: Adorno and Black Expression Revisited (Stanford University Press, 2018)

“Josh was recommended by a colleague–friend without any hesitation or qualification, and so I entered into the editing process confident that my book—in much need of smartening up—would benefit. I expected his attention to detail, precision, and exceptional command of language: these are qualities that I, in my limited experience, had assumed to be the most important for an editor to have. Josh offered these and so much more! He read with an ear to the music of the text. He very quickly understood my authorial voice, and through his suggestions and comments helped train it and sharpen it without ever encroaching on its integrity. His enthusiasm and care pulled me out of my apathy, reigniting my passion for the project. (And after years of working on it, the thrill had most definitely gone.) One of the best things about Josh’s approach is that alongside editing and proofing, he really reads the text. He got to know the book intimately—warts and all.

When he came to tackle the book’s index, the fruits of that level of engagement were revealed once more. Qualitatively distinct from a mere list of relevant terms, Josh’s index was able to get to the heart of the project—a compilation of the book’s most important and interesting contributions, executed with the meticulousness that he had shown throughout the editing process.”

Fumi Okiji, Assistant Professor of Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst


Michael Gallope, Deep Refrains: Music, Philosophy, and the Ineffable (University of Chicago Press, 2017)

“Brilliant work... [Josh has] got a real style here, and I think it does a lot to revivify the traditional function of the index.”

Michael Gallope, Assistant Professor in the Department of Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature at the University of Minnesota

Editing & Indexing

K.E. Goldschmitt, Bossa Mundo: Brazilian Music in Transnational Media Industries (Oxford University Press, 2019)

“Josh is a joy to work with and I couldn't have been more pleased with the final result of the book and its index. Everything I had heard about editing and indexing a book referred to those stages as tedious and stressful. Josh managed to transform those steps into something far more fun and connecting. It was very helpful that he came to the process with so much first-hand knowledge of my book's subject matter. In the end, his perspective helped me to make some of my points far more effectively. It was a nice surprise to find so much good humor and support at this stage of book publishing. His personal style and professionalism are unmatched.”

K.E. Goldschmitt, Assistant Professor of Music at Wellesley College


Emily H. Green, Dedicating Music, 17851850 (University of Rochester Press, 2019)

“The index is amazing. Seriously one of my favorite reads in a long while.”

from the acknowledgements:

“Josh Rutner wrote the index, a list that contributes significant beauty, rigor, and usability to this final product. Readers—and I—thank him deeply.”

Emily H. Green, Assistant Professor of Music at George Mason University

Editing & Indexing

Aimee Bahng, Migrant Futures: Decolonizing Speculation in Financial Times (Duke University Press, 2018)

“Writing can bring out demons of all kinds. I deeply appreciate the winning combination of professionalism, light-heartedness, and encouragement Josh brought to our process. His passion for copy editing is stunning and perhaps even inspiring. It helped make the whole process seem less like drudgery. To the writer in her final stages of manuscript preparation, when despair threatens to overwhelm at every moment, Josh brings much needed energy and sparkle to the experience. He’s a keen reader with an attention to both the fine details and broader arcs of the project. I wish I had worked with him earlier.”

Aimee Bahng, Assistant Professor of Gender and Women’s Studies at Pomona College


Christopher Chowrimootoo, Middlebrow Modernism: Britten’s Operas and the Great Divide (University of California Press, 2018)

“Josh came highly recommended and his work far surpassed my wildest expectations for my index. The result was no mere list of nouns but a judicious compilation of figures, works, concepts, and themes that got to the heart of the project; it could only have been compiled by someone who had taken the time to engage with the book on a very deep level. Josh not only worked to a tight deadline, but his infectious enthusiasm made the final stage of the publication process a stress-free—even fun—experience.”

Christopher Chowrimootoo, Assistant Professor of Musicology and Liberal Studies at the University of Notre Dame

Proofreading and Editing

Stewart + Company, a creative agency specializing in marketing, content strategy, and copywriting.

"Josh is positively stellar as a proofreader and editor. He supports our corporate clients in finalizing content across a wide range of industries—from financial services, to consulting, to technology, and beyond. Josh is always quick on the draw, and a close and sensitive reader with an extraordinarily thorough grasp of house style rules. Our most precise clients find his work impeccable—and we agree! He’s a real pleasure to work with, and every bit of text he touches is improved as a result."

Jude Stewart, Principal


August Sheehy, "Music Analysis as a Practice of the Self in Nineteenth-Century Germany" (PhD diss., University of Chicago, 2017)

"Josh is an absolute pleasure to work with. Not only did he do excellent work on short notice with a tight deadline, he did so with enthusiasm and a great sense of humor. My project was greatly improved by Josh's keen eye for the errors that inevitably creep into a long document, his ear for the rhythms of prose, and his careful engagement with the ideas I presented. When he wasn't directly improving the flow, he often prompted me to do so myself with a pointed question or thoughtful aside. I would recommend Josh as an editor without hesitation and would gladly work with him again myself."

August Sheehy, Assistant Professor, History/Theory at Stony Brook University


Jo Lawry, “‘How High the Larynx’: Collecting the Vocal Tract Configurations of Sarah Vaughan with the Guiding Purpose of Enhancing Jazz Vocal Performance and Pedagogy” (DMA final research paper, New England Conservatory of Music, 2016)

“Josh is an extraordinary and brilliant editor. I was fortunate to have him edit my final research paper as a doctoral candidate, and I couldn’t have finished it without him. His attention to detail is, in the best possible way, obsessive. Not only does Josh make sure you have correctness, he ensures your correctness has style. It’s hard to imagine that editing a research paper could ever be fun, but Josh makes the process come pretty close. His deep love of language, his insatiable curiosity, his razor-sharp intellect and his quick wit make him so exciting to work with. He can chip away at an incomplete idea or poorly-communicated point until it takes perfect shape and sparkles on the page. Anybody who avails themselves of his services will find themselves glad—and possibly graduated or published!”

Jo Lawry, musician