A scholarly book edited by Assistant Professor Adjunct of Music History Lynette Bowring, Rebecca Cypess, and Liza Malamut received two awards at a recent meeting of the American Musicological Society. The book, Music and Jewish Culture in Early Modern Italy: New Perspectives (Indiana University Press, 2022), earned the Society’s 2023 Ruth A. Solie Award, which is awarded to “a collection of musicological essays of exceptional merit,” and also received the Publication Award from the organization’s Jewish Studies and Music Study Group. “A seamless blend of music historiography, religious history and cultural anthropology,” the AMS explained, “the book redefines through music the contours of Jewish culture at a crucial time in the self-definition of Italy and indeed Europe.”
The book is a collection of essays by 11 authors, including the editors. Cypess, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Associate Professor of Music at the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University, was Bowring’s Ph.D. supervisor at Rutgers. Malamut is the Artistic Director of the Newberry Consort in Chicago and serves as Adjunct Lecturer in Historical Trombones at the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University.
The book’s audience, Bowring said, “is musicologists in general, but also interdisciplinary scholars who are curious about how this music fitted within a wider culture. I think it’s valuable for people to encounter the histories and experiences of individuals from minority or marginalized communities, and our book helps some of these forgotten voices come to life again.” In April 2022, Bowring and her co-editors presented their research alongside performances of related repertoire by the ensemble Incantare, which Malamut cofounded. The programs, which were held at the Center for Jewish History in New York City and at Rutgers, were titled “Exile: Music of the Early Modern Jewish Diaspora.”
“This was good preparation for me,” Bowring said, “because I’m now putting together a book project on my recent research.” That project, Bowring said, is provisionally titled Writing Instruments: Musical Literacy and Learning in Early Modern Italy. Bowring’s scholarship focuses on instrumental repertoire in Italy during the Renaissance and Baroque periods. That focus “came out of my work as a violinist, playing Biagio Marini and Dario Castello,” she said. At the School of Music this semester, Bowring teaches two courses: Women in Western Art Music and Baroque Afterlives, the latter of which examines the continued use of Baroque compositional idioms. She has also just finished work on an edition of motets by the 18th-century Viennese composer Marianna Martines (forthcoming from A-R Editions).