Laura Stokes on Composer Fanny Hensel

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

12:00pm - 1:30pm

Digital Scholarship Lab in the Rockefeller Library

On Wednesday, April 24, 2019 at 12 p.m. in the Digital Scholarship Lab at the Rockefeller Library, Laura Stokes, Performing Arts Librarian and Head of Orwig Music Library at Brown, will give a talk based on her book Fanny Hensel: A Research and Information Guide.

 

Free and open to the public. Q&A and reception to follow the talk.

 

Laura K. T. Stokes is the Performing Arts Librarian at Brown University, where she has also been a Lecturer in Music. She holds a Ph.D. in musicology from Indiana University. Her scholarly work examines music and cultural politics in the nineteenth century, including music for public ritual, opera, sacred music, gender and composition, and music publishing history. Her current projects are on the composers Fanny Hensel, Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, and Giacomo Meyerbeer, as well as music and politics, historiography, and nineteenth-century medievalism. From 2012–2018, she was an Assistant Editor of the journal Notes.

 

Fanny Hensel née Mendelssohn Bartholdy (1805–1847) was one of the most prolific female composers of the nineteenth century. The sister of the famous composer and conductor Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy and granddaughter of the Jewish Enlightenment philosopher Moses Mendelssohn, she was educated alongside her brother, including in music composition. Upon reaching maturity, however, she faced restrictions on the pursuit of a public career—restrictions based on gender and social status. Hensel nonetheless continued to compose, with an output of over 450 musical works, and she became the organizer and hostess of a famous salon/private concert series.

 

After her death, Hensel’s work as a composer and musician was largely forgotten or dismissed; however, inspired by the field of women’s history, new research from the 1980s to the present day has promoted awareness of Hensel’s life and work. Fanny Hensel: A Research and Information Guide helps researchers navigate the vast world of research on Hensel. The author will talk about Hensel and her music as well as challenges and conundrums in this research area.

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