music

Rebecca Cypess

Rebecca Cypess joined the Rutgers faculty in Fall 2012, having served previously as a faculty member in musicology at the New England Conservatory. She has also taught in the department of music at Yale University, at the Yale School of Music, and at Southern Connecticut State University. In her teaching and research, Cypess specializes in the history, interpretation and performance of music in 17th- and 18th-century Europe. She has published in major journals of her field, including the Journal of the American Musicological Society, Music & Letters, Early Music, The Musical Quarterly, and others. Her book, "Curious and Modern Inventions": Music and Instrumentality in Early Modern Italy, is forthcoming from the University of Chicago Press. In addition to her work as a musicologist, Cypess is a harpsichordist and fortepianist. Her courses and research projects frequently seek to establish connections between musicology and performance practice.

  • Education

    Cypess earned her Ph.D. in music history from Yale in 2008, where, under the supervision of Ellen Rosand, she wrote a dissertation exploring connections between vocal and instrumental music in early 17th-century Italy. She holds an M.A. and an M.Phil. in music history from Yale, as well as an M.A. in Jewish Studies from Yeshiva University and an M.Mus. in harpsichord performance from the Royal College of Music (London). As an undergraduate at Cornell University, she studied musicology with James Webster, Neal Zaslaw, and Rebecca Harris-Warrick, and the performance of modern and early pianos with Malcolm Bilson. Her harpsichord teachers include James Johnstone, Robert Woolley, Mark Kroll, and Richard Rephann.

  • Publications

    Book, forthcoming from the University of Chicago Press:

    • · “Curious and Modern Inventions": Instrumentality and Italian Instrumental Music, 1610–1630.

    Co-edited books:

    Articles in refereed journals:

    Book Chapters:

    • · “Music for a Saxon Princess,” in Word, Image, and Song: Vol. 2: Essays on Musical Voices, ed. Rebecca Cypess, Beth L. Glixon, and Nathan Link. University of Rochester Press, 2013.
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    • · “History and Faust Mythology in John Adams’s and Peter Sellars’s Doctor Atomic (2005)” in The Oxford Handbook of Faust in Music, ed. Lorna Fitzsimmons. Forthcoming from Oxford University Press.

    Book Reviews:

    • · Review of Susan McClary, ed., Structures of Feeling in Seventeenth-Century Cultural Expression, in H-France Reviews.

    • · Review of Charles E. Brewer, The Instrumental Music of Schmelzer, Biber, Muffat, and their Contemporaries, in the Journal of Seventeenth-Century Music (forthcoming).

    • · “An Italian in Dresden.” Review of Aurelio Bianco, “Nach englischer und frantzösischer Art”: Vie et oeuvre de Carlo Farina avec l’édition des cinq recueils de Dresde, in Early Music 39, no. 3 (August, 2011). 
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    • · Review of Raymond Erickson, ed. The Worlds of Johann Sebastian Bach, in Early Music America 16, no. 2 (summer, 2010).
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    • · Review of Kathleen Berg, “‘The Swiss Orpheus’: An Appraisal of the Life and Music of Ludwig Sennfl (1489/91—1543), in Early Music America 15, no. 3 (fall, 2009).
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    • · Review of Giulia Nuti, The Performance of Italian Basso Continuo, in Early Music America 14, no. 1 (spring, 2008).

    Encyclopedia Articles

    • · Articles in the Encyclopaedia Britannica on Elisabeth-Claude Jacquet de la Guerre, Anastasia Robinson, the Concerto delle donne, Francesca Caccini, Settimia Caccini, Anna Renzi, and Barbara Strozzi.
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    • · Article on Arnold Dolmetsch in Musicians and Composers of the Twentieth Century (Pasadena: Salem Press, 2009).

  • Research Initiatives

    Performance Activities

    As a performer, Cypess specializes in early keyboard instruments (harpsichords, clavichords and early pianos). She has performed in the original-instrument collections at the Royal College of Music and Yale University, and has given solo and chamber recitals in the Boston, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania areas. Her current performance project, exploring the music performed, commissioned and owned by the 18th-century Berlin salonnière Sara Levy, began with a recital at Rutgers in September, 2014 as part of the conference "Sara Levy's World: Music, Gender, and Judaism in Enlightenment Berlin," of which Cypess also acted as co-organizer. The program will be presented in New York at the Center for Jewish History in May, 2015. With soprano Julianne Baird and baroque harpist Christa Patton, Cypess performed and recorded a program entitled "Apollo's Muse: A Portrait of Marc'Antonio Pasqualini," featuring cantatas by Pasqualini and vocal and instrumental music by his 17th-century Roman contemporaries.

    Professional Memberships and Service

    Cypess is current secretary of the Society for Seventeenth-Century Music, having previously served as a member (2012) and chair (2013) of the program committee for the annual meeting. She is also a founding member of the American Musicological Society’s Study Group on Jewish Studies and Music, of which she was elected secretary in 2012, and for which she created the web page. She is a member of the academic advisory board for the Hadassah Brandeis Institute. She served two three-year terms on the Committee on Career-Related Issues of the American Musicological Society.

    Lectures

    Cypess has delivered invited lectures at Indiana University, Cornell University, Wellesley College, and the International Baroque Institute at Longy. In addition, she has presented her work at national meetings of the American Musicological Society, the Renaissance Society of America, the Society for Seventeenth-Century Music, and the American Musical Instrument Society, as well as at the 14th Biennial Conference on Baroque Music (2010). In March, 2012, she organized, chaired, and spoke at a double-session for the conference of the Renaissance Society of America entitled “Sonic Transformations: Adapting, Collecting, and Listening in Early Modern Italy.”

    In September, 2013 she acted as co-convener of and presented a paper at a conference at Yale University entitled “Only the Passions Sing; the Understanding Can But Speak.”

    In September, 2014 Cypess acted as co-convener, with Nancy Sinkoff (Jewish Studies and History), of the international symposium "Sara Levy's World: Music, Gender, and Judaism in Enlightenment Berlin," which brought together scholars from music, Jewish studies, literary studies, history and philosophy to explore the figure of Sara Levy, a Jewish female salon hostess and performing musician who shaped the musical culture of her time and who acted as a catalyst for the "Bach revival" of the 19th century.