|Carolyn Abbate: Christopher Browne Distinguished Professor of Music
May 13, 2008, Volume 54, No. 33
Dr. Carolyn Abbate, who ranks among the world’s foremost musicologists, has been appointed the Christopher H. Browne Distinguished Professor of Music at the University of Pennsylvania, effective July 1. Dr. Abbate comes to Penn from Harvard University where she is the Radcliffe Alumnae Professor at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study and the Fanny Peabody Professor of Music.
“We are so delighted that Carolyn Abbate will be joining our distinguished Music Department. She is a world-renowned scholar and a superb teacher, with an astonishing range of expertise in music and culture,” said Dr. Rebecca Bushnell, dean of SAS.
Dr. Jeffrey Kalberg, professor of music and chair of the department, wrote in a department letter announcing her appointment, “Carolyn Abbate is one of the most innovative musical thinkers of our day. She is perhaps best known as a transcendent critic of opera, from its beginnings around 1600 through the first half of the 20th century. But she also writes powerfully about instrumental traditions from the Enlightenment to the present and has lately embraced the topics of film music and sound technology.
“Her meditations on these subjects, which draw on insights from literary theory and philosophy, are informed by her experiences as a performer. She is a fine pianist and operatic dramaturge, directing productions at, among other major houses, the Metropolitan Opera in New York.”
Dr. Abbate practices the art of “public musicology” through regular lectures, journalistic essays, participation in the opera quizzes that enliven the weekly radio broadcasts from the Met and her teaching.
Among her numerous publications, Dr. Abbate is author of “In Search of Opera” (2001) and “Unsung Voices” (1991) and coauthor of the forthcoming “Opera: The Last Four Hundred Years.”
Dr. Abbate has been a professor at Princeton University, a lecturer at Stanford University, a visiting professor at the Free University in Berlin and a Fellow at the Wissenschaftskolleg in Berlin. She received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1995 and a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowships for Independent Study and Research in 1986 and 1994, and was awarded the Dent Medal of the Royal Music Association in 1993.
She received her undergraduate degree from Yale University in 1977 and, after attending the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich in 1979 and 1980, her PhD from Princeton University in 1984.