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Ethel V. Curry Distinguished Lecture in Musicology

5:00 pm, Thursday, March 22 and Friday, March 23

Glenn E. Watkins Lecture Hall

"Io conobbi la voce ch'adoro: Ventriloquizing Susanna in the Act IV Finale of Le nozze di Figaro"

March 22 - Tim Carter (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)

The “mad day” of Mozart’s opera, Le nozze di Figaro, like the comedy by Beaumarchais on which it is based, ends in the early evening: the characters stumble around a garden unable to see each other clearly in the gloom of twilight. Count Almaviva, tired of his marriage to the Countess, woos her servant, Susanna, but she and the Countess have swapped dresses. Figaro observes from a distance, fears that “Susanna” is being unfaithful to him on the eve of their wedding, and reveals all to the “Countess” if soon recognizing her as Susanna by way of her voice. It is a typical case of comic mayhem that will all end happily. But what does it mean for opera—in particular—when two characters each pretend to be the other, and when “voice” comes into play as a way of creating and then resolving dramatic confusion?

"Grooves of Empire: Internaionalism, Imperialism, and Interwar Musicology"

March 23 - Annegret Fauser (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)

At the end of World War I, musicologists returned to the ideal of internationalism as a core value of Western music. Music, the argument ran, could cross borders without the burden of translation, and none more than Western concert music and opera. Yet this was a contested ideological space where internationalism could be framed along exclusionary lines, whether defined by interallied politics or within the inner border-crossings of Empires. This lecture focuses on the intersection between imperialism and internationalism in the construction of Western music history during the interwar years. At its heart lay the work of three key international musicological mobilizer in the 1920s: the Austrian Guido Adler, the English Edward J. Dent, and the French Henry Prunières. All three emanated from imperial contexts, each with ideological apparatus distinct in its own way. The individual biographies of Adler, Dent, and Prunières were closely enmeshed with the imperial frameworks of their upbringing and professional lives, both before and after World War I. While they were not the only internationalists in the 1920s, they were among the most influential and successful in cutting the grooves of transnational scholarly circulation, a networking of Western culture strongly shaped by imperial eyes and ears.

Musicology Distinguished Lectures

The Univ. of Michigan Department of Musicology is delighted to announce the full schedule for this academic year's Distinguished Lecture Series.

Unless otherwise noted, talks are scheduled on Fridays at 5 p.m. and held in Watkins Hall of the Moore Building.

February 9 (note: this will take place in Kevreson Rehearsal Hall, Moore 1320)

"Music in Batoni's Portrait of Giacinta Orsini"

John Rice (Independent Scholar)

Pompeo Batoni’s portrait of the young noblewoman Giacinta Orsini, leaning on a harpsichord and holding a lyre, is well known to historians of eighteenth-century Italian portraiture. It has been exhibited and reproduced often, attracting attention not only for its beauty and for the teenage subject’s amazing accomplishments and talents, but also because of Baton (known today primarily as a painter of Englishmen on the Grand Tour) made few portraits of Italian women. The scholars who have commented on the portrait have said little about the prominent role of musical instruments and notation. They have >largely ignored the manuscript that rests conspicuously on the music stand, as if inviting the viewer to peruse it.

Accepting the invitation, I have identified the music as an excerpt from a cantata by Antonio Aurisicchio, virtuoso  in the service of Cardinal Domenico Orsini, Giacinta’s father. The cantata, which survives in at least two manuscripts, is a substantial work for soprano and orchestra consisting of an overture, two obbligato recitatives and two arias. The manuscripts do not name the author of the text or explain its purpose. The author was Giacinta herself; she addressed this componimento per musica  to her father, who was about to set out on a long voyage.

The identification of Giacinta and Aurisicchio as co-creators of the music in Batoni’s portrait, and the discovery that it served as an expression of a daughter’s affection for her father, enhance our understanding of the painting’s complex program, which documents Giacinta’s roles within the Arcadian Academy and within one of Rome’s wealthiest families.

Portions of Aurisicchio's cantata discussed by Prof. Rice will be performed immediately after the lecture by a chamber ensemble led by Prof. Joseph Gascho.

Co-sponsored by the U-M departments of Romance Languages and History of Art


Thursday, February 15, 5 p.m. (Moore Bldg, Room 2026)

"Critical Studies of Music and Misogynoir in the Age of YouTube"

Kyra Gaunt (University of Albany)

In this talk, Kyra Gaunt will share her reflections from collaborative study and participant-observation of YouTube, music, and user-generated content. Since international Women’s Day in 2013, she has been examining music discovery and marginalization in user-generated content through a case study of YouTube twerking. Dr. Gaunt offers her insights into the unintended consequences of race, gender, and technology for the field of ethnomusicology and music studies more broadly. Music is a pivotal driver in mobile technologies and the harmful consequences of YouTube content creation, search algorithms, and archiving for the most vulnerable and marginalized people online demand our critical, creative, and collaborative attention.

Prof. Gaunt's lecture launches a series of scholarly and musical events on campus that coincide with the first performance at Hill Auditorium of Porgy and Bess, based on the U-M Gershwin Initiative’s scholarly performing edition (concert performance: Saturday, Feb. 17 at Hill Auditorium, 7:30 pm)

Co-sponsored by the U-M Gershwin Initiative

Past Musicology Lectures


Interdisciplinary Music Forum

IMF is a Rackham Interdisciplinary Workshop that fosters conversation among faculty and graduate students who work with music in their research. Lectures are open to all, and workshops are intended for graduate students. For more information, please contact Patrick Parker ( or Leah Weinberg (Musicology;



Prof. Thomas Irvine (University of Southampton)
"A.B. Marx, Hegel and the Challenge of Chinese Music History"
March 18, 2016

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Photography Credits:

U-M Photo Services

Joe Welsh

Peter Smith

David Smith

Glen Behring

Tom Bower