Francesca Brittan

Associate Professor (on sabbatical fall 2017)

Haydn Hall 315

Other Information

Classes: 19th-Century Music, Popular Music, Fortepiano

Degree: Musicology, Cornell University, 2007

Specialty: Musicology

Francesca Brittan is a scholar of nineteenth-century music and aesthetics. She holds a Ph.D. from Cornell University (2007), and was a Research Fellow at Queens’ College, Cambridge between 2006-08. She joined the faculty at Case in 2009. Her current research and teaching interests are centered in France, especially on the music of Berlioz. More broadly, they include music and histories of magic, interactions between sound and science, listening practices, romantic orchestras and conductors, and nineteenth-century performance practices. Many of these strands are drawn together in her book Fantasy, Science, and the Romantic Listener, forthcoming from Cambridge University Press in the series “New Perspectives in Music History and Criticism.” Brittan also works on popular music, especially blues and early rock and roll.

Representative publications include the following: “Berlioz and the Pathological Fantastic: Melancholy, Monomania, and Romantic Autobiography” (19th-Century Music), “On Microscopic Hearing: Fairy Magic, Natural Science, and the Scherzo fantastique” (JAMS), “Liszt, Sand, Garcia, and the Contrebandier” (Journal of the American Liszt Society), “Electric Baton: Spectacle, Sound and Science at the 1855 Exposition” (Nineteenth-Century Opera and the Scientific Imagination, ed. David Trippett and Benjamin Walton, forthcoming), “Women Who ‘Do’ Elvis” (Journal of Popular Music Studies). Brittan’s 2011 JAMS article was the recipient of the American Musicological Society’s Alfred Einstein Award.

In addition to her scholarly activities, Brittan is active as a harpsichordist and fortepianist. She was trained at the Royal Conservatory in the Hague (Bart van Oort and Patrick Ayrton) and Cornell University (Malcolm Bilson) and has been the recipient of several international grants for performers, including the Chalmers Award. She is particularly interested in late-eighteenth- and early-nineteenth-century melodrama and related traditions of romantic declamation, and, in recent years, has given a series of performances showcasing this material in Europe and North America. She is also on faculty at the Cleveland Institute of Music.