MPSG2017 Keynote Speakers

Martha Feldman, Professor in the Department of Music at the University of Chicago, is a cultural historian of European vernacular musics, ca. 1500-1950, with a concentration on Italy. Her projects have explored the senses and sensibilities of listeners, the interplay of myth, festivity, and kingship in opera, issues of cinema, media, and voice, and various incarnations of the musical artist. Running throughout her work are questions about mediations between social, political, and artistic phenomena. Her first monograph, City Culture and the Madrigal at Venice (University of California Press, 1995; winner of the Bainton Prize of the Sixteenth-Century Society and Conference in conjunction with the Centre for Reformation Studies), dealt with madrigals within the civic culture of Renaissance Venice. Her Renaissance interests have extended to the music of courtesans, with results published in conjunction with an international team of scholars together with her graduate students in The Courtesan’s Arts: Cross-Cultural Perspectives (co-edited, Oxford, 2006; winner of the 2007 Ruth A. Solie Award of the American Musicological Society). In 2007, she published a book on 18th-century opera seria as a manifestation and refraction of changing notions of sovereignty and festivity during the later eighteenth century. That work, Opera and Sovereignty: Transforming Myths in Eighteenth-Century Italy, won the Gordon J. Laing Award of the University of Chicago Press (2010) for the faculty book “published in the previous three years that brings the Press the greatest distinction.”

Feldman’s most recent book on castrati is based on her Bloch Lectures at Berkeley, given in fall 2007 while teaching as Ernest Bloch Visiting Professor of Music. Entitled The Castrato: Reflections on Natures and Kinds (University of California Press, 2015), the book investigates different relationships of castrati over time to the natural and to innate kinds, viewing them as indices of European cultural exchange. Her current book project The Castrato Phantom: Moreschi, Fellini, and the Sacred Vernacular in Twentieth-Century Rome deals with the life and afterlife of the castrato phenomenon in Rome, in cinema, literature, and psychoanalysis.  She is also preparing a co-edited volume on voice studies under the rubric A Voice as Something More for the University of Chicago Press, which emerges from The Voice Project, sponsored by the Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society, an interdisciplinary collaborative faculty research venture on which she has been a principal investigator since 2013.

Feldman was awarded the Dent Medal from the Royal Musical Association for outstanding work in musicology in 2001 and the Graduate Teaching Award of the University of Chicago in 2009. She is a Resource Faculty member in the Committee on Cinema and Media Studies (1995-), and Affiliated Faculty with the Center for Gender Studies (1995-). In 2012, she was inducted as a Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She is pivoting in November 2016 from President-Elect to President of the American Musicological Society.

Jerrold Levinson is Distinguished University Professor of Philosophy at the University of Maryland. His main philosophical interest is aesthetics, with secondary interests in metaphysics, ethics, and philosophy of mind. Among the arts he is particularly concerned with philosophical problems arising in connection with music, film, and literature. Levinson has written extensively on the definition of art, expression in music, emotional response to art, the nature of literary interpretation, and the ontology of artworks. Topics of recent interest include intrinsic value, the nature of humor, sexual morality, jazz improvisation, the expressive specificity of jazz, the ethics of jokes, the analysis of artistic achievement, and the varieties of visual beauty.

Levinson has been visiting professor at Johns Hopkins University, Columbia University, the University of London, the University of Canterbury (New Zealand), the Universite de Rennes (France), the Universite Libre de Bruxelles (Belgium), the Unversidade de Lisboa (Portugal) and the Conservatorio della Svizzera Italiana (Switzerland). Levinson is Past President of the American Society for Aesthetics, 2001-2003, was general editor of the Oxford Handbook of Aesthetics(Oxford UP, 2003), and was an invited fellow of the Society for the Humanities at Cornell University in September 2007. During academic year 2008-2009 Levinson was Leverhulme Visiting Professor at the University of Kent in Canterbury (England), and during academic year 2010-2011 Levinson held an International Francqui Chair in the Institute of Philosophy of the Katholieke Universitet Leuven (Belgium). In 2010 Levinson was awarded the International Prize of the Societa Italiana d’Estetica. Professor Levinson is also an Affiliate Faculty Member of the School of Music at the University of Maryland.