The Cockefair Chair Speakers Committee has invited Dr. Anna Harwell Celenza to present the fall lecture on Nov. 19, 2015. Celenza will discuss and play portions of the six musical masterpieces that changed American attitudes and, ultimately, American history. A reception in Pierson Auditorium will precede the program at 5:30 p.m. Celenza will speak and perform the influential pieces from 6 to 8 p.m.
Thanks to technology, music is always with us, permeating our lives through radio, smart phones, TV commercials, movie scores, elevators and shopping malls. So we tend to think of music as nothing more than a background for our lives. Music really belongs at the forefront.
As Professor Celenza demonstrates, music has the power to change culture. She will highlight the music that transformed America: a drinking song that came to symbolize American patriotism; a concert work that altered Americans’ concept of “music;” an orchestral suite and ballad that stirred the flames of the Civil Rights movement; a musical that inadvertently fed negative Hispanic stereotypes; and a pop album that influenced American foreign policy.
Celenza is the Thomas E. Caestecker Professor of Music at Georgetown University and the author of several scholarly books, including Music as Cultural Mission: Explorations of Jesuit Practices in Italy and North America (2014) and Hans Christian Andersen and Music: The Nightingale Revealed (2005). Her work has also appeared in The Hopkins Review, Musical Quarterly, Nineteenth-Century Music, Notes, The Cambridge Companion to Liszt (2005), and Franz Liszt and His World (2006) and The Cambridge Companion to Duke Ellington (2014).
Celenza also has authored a series of award-winning children’s books with Charlesbridge Publishing: The Farewell Symphony (2000), Pictures at an Exhibition (2003), The Heroic Symphony (2004), Bach’s Goldberg Variations (2005), Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue (2006), Duke Ellington’s Nutcracker Suite (2011), Vivaldi’s Four Seasons (2012), Saint-Saëns’s Danse macabre (2013) and a 14-part syndicated series on Louis Armstrong for the NC Press Foundation.
She has been featured on nationally syndicated radio and TV programs, including NPR’s “Todd Mundt Show”, BBC’s “Music Matters” and “Proms Broadcasts,” and C-Span’s “Book-TV.” Before coming to Georgetown, Celenza was a writer and guest commentator for Michigan Public Radio and NPR’s “Performance Today.”