Musical scholar Ellen Harris to give three talks Monday

Publication Date

Who would dare to dismiss George Frideric Handel from his position? It is all part of political intrigue. Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar and musicologist Ellen Harris will explore this and other aspects of Handel’s career in a lecture on Monday, March 3 at 5:00 in Taylor Music Center’s Emerson Auditorium. Harris is also known for her work as a soprano, having sung the National Anthem at Fenway Park and performed with John Williams and the Boston Pops Orchestra.

Handel was employed by heir-to-the-throne Georg Ludwig, the Elector of Hanover. He asked for a leave from his position at the German court to travel to London. Queen Anne welcomed him and Handel composed ceremonial music for her. In the meantime, Lord Burlington (who is thought to have supported the claims to the throne of "James III," the nephew of Queen Anne who was living in exile in France) invited Handel into his artistic circle. How did these political pulls affect Handel’s career?

Harris' talks on campus Monday include:

“Why do Archival Research? Not Everything is on the Web”

10:30-11:35 a.m., Taylor Music Center, Room 224

“There are Early Music Instruments, but what’s an Early Music Voice?”

12:45-1:45 p.m., Taylor Music Center, Emerson Auditorium

“Handel and Politics: Why Handel was fired in 1713 and why he lost his best friend in 1745”(part of the Taylor Time! concert/colloquium series)

5:00-5:50 p.m., Taylor Music Center, Emerson Auditorium

All three talks are free and open to the public.

For the Taylor Time! lecture Prof. Harris will draw from two of her books, George Frideric Handel: A Life with Friends (forthcoming) and Handel as Orpheus: Voice and Desire in the Chamber Cantatas (2002). The latter book received the 2002 Kinkeldey Award from the American Musicological Society and the 2003 Gottschalk Prize from the American Society for 18th-Century Studies.

Ellen Harris is president-elect of the American Musicological Society and Class of 1949 Professor Emeritus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she received the institute’s Gyorgy Kepes Prize for her contributions to the arts. From 1989 to 1996 she served as Associate Provost for the Arts at MIT. An elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, she was a member-in-residence at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton and a fellow at the Bunting Institute of Radcliffe College.