Local professor to lecture at Berkeley

June 24, 1994|By Phil Greenfield | Phil Greenfield,Special to the Sun

An Annapolis musicologist and tutor at St. John's College has been named visiting professor of music at the University of California at Berkeley.

Wye Allanbrook will deliver the prestigious Ernest Bloch Lectures during the 1994-1995 academic year.

Wendy Allanbrook, as she is known, will be moving to the Bay Area in August with her son John, a Key School junior who has been principal horn of the Chesapeake Youth Symphony for the past two years.

Dr. Allanbrook is a noted Mozart scholar and the author of a recent book, "Rhythmic Gesture in Mozart: 'Le Nozze di Figaro' and 'Don Giovanni,' " which has elicited favorable responses from conductor Roger Norrington and the late Virgil Thomson, the composer and longtime dean of American music criticism.

The Bloch Lectureship, endowed in memory of the composer Ernest Bloch, has been held previously by luminaries such as conductor-composer Gunther Schuller, pianist-musicologist Charles Rosen, composer Roger Sessions and harpsichordist Ralph Kirkpatrick.

"It's a great honor and a great surprise to be included in such company," Dr. Allanbrook said. "It's a chance to bring together a thesis I've been working on for some years and it will be a pleasure to discuss it before such a distinguished audience."

In all probability, the six Bloch lectures will be published by the University of California Press.

The working title of her lecture series is "Mozart and the Conditions of Comedy," a topic that will build on her earlier works. Dr. Allanbrook will attempt to show that central to an understanding of Mozart's operas are the comic gestures they contain, which relate to the "opera buffa" comic opera style.

Her views are at odds with earlier conceptions of Mozart opera and with traditional analysis that focuses more on musical form and structure.

In the music world, this is cutting-edge material, and Dr. Olly Wilson, chairman of the University of California music department, says he is delighted that his 25 faculty colleagues nominated Dr. Allanbrook for the Bloch lectures.

"We are elated she's coming," he says. "We invite people who have something unique to say and will enliven our department. She has had a great impact on her field, and we're looking forward to having her."

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