The Catholic University of America

Oct. 31, 2013

Renowned Handel Scholar to Lecture Nov. 14

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Handel scholar Ellen T. Harris

Ellen T. Harris, a renowned scholar of the well-known 18th-century composer George Frederick Handel and president-elect of the American Musicological Society, will spend two days at Catholic University in November as a Phi Beta Kappa visiting scholar, giving a public lecture and meeting with students at the Benjamin T. Rome School of Music.

On Thursday, Nov. 14, at 6 p.m., Harris — Class of 1949 Professor Emeritus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology — will give a public lecture titled “How Did Handel’s Audiences Hear His Operas?: Mary Delany and Floridante,” in which she discusses the relationship of Handel’s operas to the pressing political and social concerns of the day. The lecture takes place in Ward Hall, Room 139. A reception will follow.

During her time at CUA, Harris will also give lectures in two undergraduate music history courses, have informal lunches with students and faculty, and speak to the CUA Chamber Choir about historical performance practice.

Harris’ most recent book, George Frideric Handel: A Life with Friends, is due out from W. W. Norton in summer 2014. Her previous book, Handel as Orpheus: Voice and Desire in the Chamber Cantatas, received the 2002 Kinkeldey Award from the American Musicological Society and the 2003 Gottschalk Prize from the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies.

Her article on Handel’s investments at the Bank of England (“Handel the Investor,” Music and Letters, 2004) won the 2005 Westrup Prize. A fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and an honorary member of the American Musicological Society, Harris has been a fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton and the Bunting Institute of Radcliffe College, and she received the 2005 Gyorgy Kepes Prize for her contributions to the arts at MIT.

A soprano soloist, Harris has sung the U.S. National Anthem at Fenway Park and performed songs from the musical My Fair Lady with John Williams and the Boston Pops Orchestra.

Since 1956, the Phi Beta Kappa Society’s Visiting Scholar Program has been offering undergraduates the opportunity to spend time with some of America’s most distinguished scholars. The program contributes to the intellectual life of the institution by making possible an exchange of ideas between the visiting scholars and the resident faculty and students, according to the society’s website. Founded in 1776, Phi Beta Kappa is the nation’s oldest academic honor society.




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