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Distinguished Lecture Series

We invite you to join us for music history’s annual guest lecture series, Words about Music: Distinguished Lecture Series in the School of Music, which offers to students, faculty and the community-at-large outstanding scholars in musicology who present a diverse range of topics.  Their research reflects innovative approaches to musical practice, philosophy and scholarship. All lectures take place in the Recital Hall in the Music Building and are free and open to the public. 


Check this site often to find out about future lectures.


Previous Lectures

Professor William Gibbons, Texas Christian University

Dr. William Gibbons

"Open Worlds: Globalization, Localization, and Video Game Music"

February 20th, 2020, 6:30 p.m.

School of Music, Recital Hall

Using Japanese to North American imports as a case study, Dr. William Gibbons considers how music becomes part of the localization process and suggests new ways of framing games and their music as part of global culture.
Dr. William Gibbons is Associate Professor of Musicology and Associate Dean of the College of Fine Arts at TCU, where he teaches courses in contemporary music history and culture. His interdisciplinary research explores topics including musical canons and repertoires, as well as the history and interpretation of music in multimedia.

Professor David Ferris, Rice University

"Freedom Now: How Abbey Lincoln Found her Voice"

November 8th, 2018, 6:00 p.m.

School of Music, Recital Hall


When Abbey Lincoln met Max Roach in 1957, she was a glamorous pop singer whose career was starting to take off. She gave it all up and turned to jazz, because she wanted to be free to express herself. Three years later, she collaborated with Roach on Freedom Now Suite, one of the most innovative and politically challenging recordings in jazz history. Lincoln soon discovered that the jazz world was not as free as she had thought. She was blacklisted by the major record companies and was unable to record or perform in the United States for nearly 20 years. But eventually, she found her voice.

Dr. David Ferris, Rice University

Professor Laurel Zeiss, Baylor University

"Listening in and to Figaro"

October 5th, 2017, 6:00 p.m.

School of Music, Recital Hall

Laurel Zeiss, Ph.D., is Director of Graduate Studies for the Baylor University School of Music and an Associate Professor of Music History. Zeiss earned her PhD in Musicology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, an MA from UNC, and a BM (Voice) from Greensboro College. Baylor University honored her with an Outstanding Professor Award in 2013. In 2015, she was named a Baylor Fellow, a program that recognizes a select group of faculty who demonstrate excellence and creativity in teaching. Other honors include being the opening speaker at the British Library’s celebrations of Mozart’s 250th Birthday (2006), speaking at the Mostly Mozart Festival at Lincoln Center (2015), and a Visiting Research Fellowship at the Centre for Opera Research at the University of Sussex (2011). Zeiss has published her research in The Cambridge Companion to Opera Studies, the Cambridge Opera Journal, and The Journal of Singing. She also has contributed essays to several edited collections, including Taste in the Eighteenth Century: Aesthetics and the Senses. Her book, Engaging Opera, is forthcoming.

Professor Carl Leafstedt, Trinity University

"High Stakes Cultural Politics: The Cold War and the New York Bartók Estate in the 1950s"

October 13th, 2016, 6:00 p.m.

School of Music, Recital Hall

Carl Leafstedt, Ph.D., music historian, is an Associate Professor of Music at Trinity University in San Antonio.  A native of Sioux City, Iowa, Professor Leafstedt was a chemistry/music double major in his undergraduate years at Williams College, after which he received the Ph.D. in music history from Harvard University,with a dissertation on Bartók's opera, Duke Bluebeard's Castle.  Professor Leafstedt has taught at Southwestern University, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and Duke University.  A faculty member at Trinity University since 2001, he served as Chair of the Music Department from 2006-12.  Among his portfolios at Trinity is the administration of the University's new program in Arts and Letters and Enterprise, which offers students an innovative way to blend business literacy with the liberal arts and sciences.

Christopher Smith, Texas Tech University

’Dance Dance Revolution:’ Street Dance and Rebellion in American Cultural History” 

Thursday, November 5th, 2015, 6:00 p.m.

School of Music Recital Hall

Professor Christopher J. Smith is the chair of musicology and the director of the Vernacular Music Center at Texas Tech University. His book The Creolization of American Culture: William Sidney Mount and the Roots of Blackface Minstrelsy (Illinois, 2013) won the 2015 Society for American Music’s Irving Lowens Book Award. His book has been praised as "a dazzling addition to the literature on American popular music and its history” and as a “model for historians to think about the past from different angles." Dr. Smith is the author of numerous other publications, as well as a composer, librettist, and musical director.  He records and tours internationally with Altramar medieval music ensemble (7 CDs to date on the Dorian Group label, with concerts throughout North America, Canada, Holland, Ireland, Germany, and Austria), leads the Irish traditional band Last Night’s Fun (with TTU Professor Angela Mariani) and the Juke Band (pre-WWII blues and jazz).  He also directs the Texas Tech University Celtic Ensemble, and has lectured or performed at hundreds of colloquia, concerts, workshops, and pub sessions across the Continent and in Europe, and on National Public Radio and Minnesota Public Radio, among others.

head shot Andrew dell'Antonio

Andrew dell’Antonio, The University of Texas, Austin

“Like an Instrument Made of Heavenly Metal: Listening to Musicians and Preachers in Barberini Rome” 

Thursday, March 12, 2015, 8:00 p.m.

School of Music Recital Hall

Professor Andrew Dell’Antonio is the University Distinguished Teaching Professor and associate dean of Undergraduate Studies in the College of Fine Arts at The University of Texas, Austin.  He specializes in musical repertories of early modern Europe, with focus on 17th-century Italy. Dell'Antonio's numerous articles and essays are published in prestigious musical encyclopedias and journals; his most recent book focuses on musical styles and aesthetics in early Italian Baroque. Other research interests include musical historiography, feminist/queer theory and cultural studies.