Faculty & Staff
Understanding music requires us to ask questions”to listen with open, generous, curious minds. This sense of discovery is what I try to bring to my own work, and it permeates my classrooms as well.
Rebecca Cypess is Associate Professor and Associate Director of the Department of Music at Mason Gross. In her teaching and research, Cypess specializes in the history, interpretation, and performance practices of music in 17th- and 18th-century Europe and America, as well as music in Jewish culture and women in music. She received a grant from the American Association of University Women for her first book, Curious and Modern Inventions: Instrumental Music as Discovery in Galileo's Italy (University of Chicago Press 2016). With Nancy Sinkoff, she is co-editor of Sara Levy's World: Gender, Judaism, and the Bach Tradition in Enlightenment Berlin. She has also published and lectured widely for both scholarly and general audiences, with over two dozen peer-reviewed articles and book chapters to her name. A harpsichordist and fortepianist, Cypess is engaged in publication, performance, and recording projects related to the musical practices of salon women in the late eighteenth century, including Sara Levy in Berlin, Anne-Louise Brillon de Jouy in Paris, Marianna Martines in Vienna, and others. Her second book, currently in progress, explores 18th-century musical salons as sites of women's cultural agency, locating the networks and practices that connected them as well as their distinctive characteristics, products of each hostess's musical tastes, musicianship, and environment. In addition to her written work on this subject, she is engaged in performance projects that help to bring women's practices of the 18th century back to life. She is founder and director of the Raritan Players, whose recordings have been called “simply mesmerizing” (Early Music America) and “a fascinating concept, brilliantly realized” (Classical Music, 5 stars).