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Faculty Fellow

Martha Feldman

Ferdinand Schevill Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of Music and the College University of Chicago


Martha Feldman's research interests include vocal practices, genres, and performances, often Italian, from the 16th to the 21st century, including those of madrigalists, courtesans, castrati and other early modern singers, and jazz singers. Her first monograph, City Culture and the Madrigal at Venice (University of California Press, 1995, awarded the Bainton Book Prize of the 16th Century Studies Conference and the Center for Reformation Research), did fine-grained historical, textual, and music-analytic work to reconstruct the musical-literary salons of Renaissance Venice in the 1540s and offer new models for thinking about aesthetic practices in urban spaces. Her Opera and Sovereignty: Transforming Myths in Eighteenth-Century Italy (University of Chicago Press, 2007, winner of the Gordon J. Laing Award of the University of Chicago Press) rethought the institution of opera seria as a total social phenomenon, adapting classic concepts of ritual, festivity, kingship, sacrifice, and myth from anthropology to materialist approaches from microhistory. Her Ernest Bloch Lectures at the University of California at Berkeley (2007) culminated in The Castrato: Reflections on Natures and Kinds (University of California Press, 2015; winner of the Otto Kinkeldey Award of the American Musicological Society).

To learn more about Feldman's research and publications, see her profile page at the Department of Music.

Featured Project


The Voice Project

The Voice Project

This project supported vigorous dialogue about the role of voice—its ontological, material, technical, and embodied nature—across disciplines, from psychoanalysis and phenomenology to linguistics, music, literature, and beyond.

The Voice Project was initiated in 2013-14 by an interdisciplinary group of faculty members at the University of Chicago keen to explore how voice has come to serve as the vector of numerous questions – philosophical, theoretical, medial, and material – that have pressed on current-day...

Project Team: