Specializations: History of opera (17th/18th centuries), with a special focus on revivals and adaptations; Lully; music and diplomacy; historiography; sociology of music; performance practices; music and politics; popular music.
About: Rebekah Ahrendt received the Ph.D. in Music History and Literature from the University of California, Berkeley in 2011. Prior to joining Yale’s faculty, she was a Mellon Postdoctoral Scholar in the Humanities at the Center for the Humanities at Tufts (CHAT), where she also taught courses in the Department of Music. A graduate of the Royal Conservatory of The Hague (Artist’s Diploma in viola da gamba and historical performing practices, 2001), she is also active as a performer and coach.
A specialist in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, Ahrendt’s work centers on the importance of mobility—whether through migration, exchange, or long-distance actor networks—in the construction of identity. Fundamentally interdisciplinary, her approach integrates perspectives gained from history, sociology, linguistics, anthropology, and performance studies with extensive archival research. Ahrendt’s dissertation (Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowship, 2010-11) studied the transformations of French operatic works in the lands of Huguenot exile, and will form the basis for her second book. Her current project, The Republic of Music: Transposed Lives at the Crossroads of Europe, 1669-1713, continues the work of the dissertation by reconsidering the social bases of emerging debates about “national style” in music.
Ahrendt’s interests extend to other periods, genres, and concerns as well. She is particularly interested in the interactions of the contemporary early music scene with popular music studies, especially in the realms of gothic, industrial, and metal. Much of Ahrendt’s most recent work has centered on the roles of music in diplomatic practice. Beginning in Spring 2014, Ahrendt will lead the Yale Freshman Seminar “Music and Diplomacy from Castiglione to Condoleeza.” Her own recent work on the topic includes the papers “Utrecht 1713 – Utrecht 2013: Negotiating a ‘European’ Taste” (Utrecht), “The Diplomatic House Concertchez Huygens” (lecture-demonstration with Berlin-based ensemble Bella Discordia in Utrecht, featured on Radio 4 Netherlands), and “The Diplomatic Viol” (AMS Pittsburgh). She co-organized the international conference “Music and Diplomacy” at Tufts and Harvard in the spring of 2013, with a grant from the Mellon Foundation. Selected papers will appear in the volume Ambassador Orpheus: Music and Diplomacy from the Early Modern Era to the Present (2014). She was also invited to curate the 2013 Symposium of the Utrecht Early Music Festival in the Netherlands, for which she received a major grant from the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. Entitled “Negotiating Music,” the symposium emphasized the impact of cross-border contacts on performance.
Ahrendt’s work has been supported with fellowships and grants from the Netherland-America Foundation (Cultural Grant, 2011), the DAAD (Research fellowship, Berlin, 2009-10), Utrecht University (North America Exchange fellowship, 2009), and the American Musicological Society (Eugene K. Wolf Travel Grant, 2009). Prizes include the Paul A. Pisk Prize of the American Musicological Society (2009), the Irene Alm Memorial Prize of the Society for Seventeenth-Century Music (2009), and the Nicholas C. Christofilos Memorial Prize in Music from the University of California, Berkeley (2007).
“Celts, Clerics, and Crusaders: The ‘Medieval’ in Gothic Music,” in Nostalgia or Perversion? Gothic Rewritings from the Victorian Age to the Present, ed. Isabella van Elferen (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2007), 96-112.
Review-essay (on recent studies of the 19th-century French lyric stage), Cambridge Opera Journal 22 (2010): 353-364.
“Armide, the Huguenots, and The Hague,” Opera Quarterly 28 (2013): 131-158.
“1713: Vrede van Utrecht – Muziek in Utrecht,” in Ciconia – Lassus – Froberger – Muffat #Europa: Festival Oude Muziek Utrecht 2013 (Organisatie Oude Muziek, 2013), 32-39.
“The Dark Side of the Palästinalied,” in Music and Medievalism in Historical Context, ed. Kirsten Yri (forthcoming).