Kate Van Orden’s research favors the ephemeral and works to recover histories only marginally legible in the documents of high culture. Her first book, Music, Discipline, and Arms in Early Modern France (Chicago, 2005), studied French military nobles and the regulating force of music in their culture of physical action. It considered everything from fencing and pyrrhic dance to equestrian ballet and won the Lewis Lockwood Award from the American Musicological Society. Her new research project, “Songs in Unexpected Places,” tracks the French chanson into Cinquecento Italy as an opportunity to theorize the musical performance of ethnicity in early modern Europe by concentrating on migratory contexts like that of Rome, where cross-cultural encounters threw identities into high contrast. Van Orden is the Dwight P. Robinson Jr. Professor of Music at Harvard University.
The Distinguished Lecture Series is presented by the Department of Musicology and programmed by the Musicology Graduate Student Society.