Classical Music Project lecture series begins Jan. 10

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Center for the Performing Arts Classical Music Project continues its mission of engaging students, faculty and the community with an Interdisciplinary Lecture Series, featuring Penn State faculty and invited experts, beginning Jan. 10 and continuing through the spring semester. 

“The lectures will provide the opportunity to hear from distinguished scholars and artists whose work is at the cutting edge of their field,” said Marica Tacconi, Penn State professor of musicology, and faculty leader for the curriculum and academic components of the project. “From music, dance and the idea of ‘genius’ to the workings of the brain and Viennese concert culture, the lectures will engage multiple disciplines. They will provide a broad understanding of how music functioned at the time of Johann Sebastian Bach, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Ludwig van Beethoven and continues to influence our culture today.” 

The three-year Classical Music Project, supported by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, provides opportunities to engage people with classical music artists and programs. Visit http://cmp.psu.edu to learn more.

Free and open to the public, each lecture begins at 2:30 p.m. and lasts approximately 75 minutes. The list of lectures with descriptions (when applicable) follows:

French Court Dancing

Eric McKee, associate professor of music theory at Penn State

Jan. 10, at the Palmer Museum of Art’s Palmer Lipcon Auditorium

Beethoven in Hollywood

Michael Broyles, professor of musicology at Florida State University, and distinguished professor of music and professor of American history emeritus at Penn State

Feb. 5, at the Palmer Museum of Art’s Palmer Lipcon Auditorium

Focusing on the visual arts and popular music, this lecture addresses how and why a European musician born more than 240 years ago sustains such a powerful presence in a society with increasingly varied roots.

Mozart’s Minuets

Eric McKee, associate professor of music theory at Penn State

Feb. 12, at the Palmer Museum of Art’s Palmer Lipcon Auditorium

Habits of the Viennese Ballroom

Marshall Pynkoski and Jeannette Lajeunesse Zingg, founders and artistic directors of Opera Atelier

Feb. 19, at the Palmer Museum of Art’s Palmer Lipcon Auditorium

Pynkoski speaks about Baroque dramaturgy and rhetorical gesture, while Lajeunesse Zingg talks about French theatrical dancing in the 17th and 18th centuries and its dissemination throughout Europe. The lecture includes information on presenting historically informed productions of opera and ballet to modern audiences throughout North America, Europe and Asia. 

Mozart and the Brain

Craig M. Wright, the Henry L. and Lucy G. Moses Professor of Music at Yale University

March 19, at the Palmer Museum of Art’s Palmer Lipcon Auditorium

Mozart provides a rich opportunity for a study of creativity. Surviving from Mozart’s pen are more than 700 musical works, about 200 pages of sketches and drafts and more than 600 letters — both by and to him. Some of Mozart’s unusual patterns of thought surface across all three forms of expression. As this lecture suggests, Mozart’s mind worked in unusual ways.

The Persistence of Minuets in the Music of Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert

Neal Zaslaw, the Herbert Gussman Professor of Music at Cornell University

March 26, at the Palmer Museum of Art’s Palmer Lipcon Auditorium

At a time when the minuet was already more than a century old, it maintained a vigorous presence in musical pedagogy, composition and performance, as well as in dance, literature, the visual arts and certain socio-political arenas. This lecture explores the nature of these peculiar survivals and investigates possible explanations for their persistence.

Could Beethoven Dance?

Eric McKee, associate professor of music theory at Penn State

March 28, at the Palmer Museum of Art’s Palmer Lipcon Auditorium

Engaging the Spiritual in Beethoven

Robert S. Hatten, professor of music theory at the University of Texas

April 16, 122 Music Building II

This lecture examines the themes from two of Beethoven’s slow movements: the famous Adagio Cantabile from his Piano Sonata No. 8 in C minor, Op. 13, familiarly known as Pathétique, and the less famous but equally profound Largo con gran espressione from his Piano Sonata No. 4 in E-flat Major, Op. 7. The aim is to demonstrate how one might build upon all the analytical tools of traditional theory and incorporate new theories of musical gesture, topics and tropes in order to interpret a deeper kind of expressive meaning in music — namely, that which we might call the “spiritual.”

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Last Updated December 19, 2012