The cover image for my forthcoming book JAZZ ITALIAN STYLE. Look for it in early 2017 with Cambridge University Press

Events

I am presenting a series of talks across the US for One Day University in 2016/17. Here are the currently scheduled dates and locations. In addition to these, I will be speaking for other organizations as well (please see below for dates and locations)

September 18 Burlington, VT
September 24 Spokane, WA
October 15 New Orleans, LA
October 22 Houston, TX
November 13 St. Petersburg, FL
November 20 Palm Beach, FL
December 4 Los Angeles, CA
February 4 Naples, FL
February 12 Washington, DC
March 25 Sarasota, FL
March 26 Stuart, FL
April 1 Richmond, VA


ADDITIONAL LECTURES & PERFORMANCES

September 13 Baltimore, MD. The Suburban Club
October 11 Baltimore, MD. Peabody Conservatory
October 29 Washington, DC. Building the Music Capital Conference
February 13 Washington, DC. Aspen Foundation
February 27 Rome, Italy. American Academy in Rome
March 19 Nashville, TN. Gateway Chamber Orchestra
May 4 New Orleans, LA. Jazz Fest (sponsored by the American-Italian
Cultural Center)


Lecture Topics for 2016/​17


What Makes Frank Sinatra Great?


Frank Sinatra gave 20th-century America a voice. Through his music, stage shows, films and abashedly public private life, he offered audiences a vision of the "American Dream" that contrasted greatly with the suburban ideal of the hardworking man. Sinatra was entirely in tune with his audiences' needs and desires. But this isn't what made him great. As this lecture demonstrates Sinatra's name lives on because of his distinctive musical style. His phrasing and tone, the timbre of his voice: these are the qualities that set him apart. Using numerous musical examples, Anna Celenza traces the origins of the famous "Sinatra Sound" and reveals how, over the last half century, it has influenced a disparate array of musical styles and genres that make up the kaleidoscopic nature of today's American soundtrack.Sinatra is great, because his music is still with us. His "voice" now joined with others seeking to find their own way.

Gershwin, Ellington, and the Search for an American Sound



What is the American Sound? Does such a thing exist in the realm of concert music? During the 1920s and 30s, composers, music critics, entertainment executives and audiences believed in the idea of an American Sound, and they worked hard to promote their various points of view in the concert hall, via newspaper articles, through advertising and on film. This course explores the origins of two quintessential American masterpieces -- George Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue and Duke Ellington's Symphony in Black -- and their relationship to contemporary American culture. As participants will discover over the course of the presentation, Gershwin and Ellington knew one another, and they each looked to the music of the other when composing. Both Rhapsody in Blue and Symphony in Black were composed in an attempt to capture the essence of the "modern" American experience and blur the lines between classical music, popular music, and jazz.

Using film clips, music excerpts, and popular dance steps from the 1920s and 30s, Professor Celenza will introduce participants to the wide range of musical genres and styles that influenced Gershwin and Ellington (from spirituals, blues, and Klezmer music to Tin Pan Alley songs, opera, symphonic forms and Ragtime) and facilitate an open discussion concerning music's current role in defining American culture.

Music that Changed America


Music permeates our lives. Thanks to technology, it is always with us... via the radio, our smart phones, TV commercials, film music, even the streamed music at our local malls and favorite restaurants. Technology has made it easy for us to put music in the background. The goal of this lecture is to bring it front and center again.
As this lecture demonstrates, music does not simply reflect culture ... it changes it. To demonstrate just how such changes come about, she highlights six musical masterpieces that changed America. These include: an 18th-century drinking tune that defined American patriotism, an early 20th-century concert work that redefined Americans' concept of "music," an orchestral suite and ballad from the 1930s that fueled the need for nature conservation and the Civil Rights movement, a musical from the late 1950s that inadvertently strengthened negative hispanic stereotypes and a 1980s pop album that changed American foreign policy.

Selected Works

Books, Music History
By examining politics, immigration patterns, economics and technology in explaining the largely forgotten Italian connection to jazz, the book will attract readers interested in music history, Italian-American culture, the Fascist era in Italy, music technology, and the evolution of popular music.
“This is a tautly written, readable and fascinating volume, casting new light on familiar figures from start to finish.”
–Classical Music
Niels W. Gade (1817-1890) was an influential musical figure in 19th century Denmark. This work presents an in-depth study in English of Gade's life and works. It describes the evolution of Gade's compositional style as reflected in his early orchestral and chamber works and re-evaluates his role as a nationalist composer. It investigates Gade's literary and musical roots, and studies Gade's "search for the poetic" by presenting descriptions of seven works represented in Gade's compositional diary.
Edited Books
Music as Cultural Mission: Explorations of Jesuit Practices in Italy and North America elucidates how the performing arts have played a seminal role in the cultural mission of the Society of Jesus. Drawing on unpublished archival documents, music, and dramatic texts performed in Italy and North America over the last four centuries, the volume features the work of leading scholars in Italy and the United States and offers a broad view of the Jesuits' influence on musical and theatrical practice.
St. Hans' Evening Play is the second complete overture composed by Niels W. Gade (1817-90), undoubtedly the most prominent figure in nineteenth-century Danish music. This edition marks the first scholarly edition of this important work.
Children's Picture Books
"Zig and zig and zig. Maestro Death keeps time." A friend's poem and a visit to the catacombs underneath Paris in 1872 inspire composer Camille Saint-Saëns to write a now-famous orchestral piece echoing the sounds of dancing, clacking skeletal bones.
A heartwarming story of friendship, imagination, and the transforming power of music.
An upbeat Christmas book about breaking boundaries and experimenting with new ideas. Includes a recording of Ellington’s suite. (Publishers Weekly). The Nutcracker Suite has never been so hip!
Johann Sebastian Bach encourages Count Keyserlingk to take in a talented young orphan named Johann Gottlieb Goldberg. The Count is an insomniac, but hearing Goldberg play the harpsichord soothes him. Soon the Count challenges Goldberg to combine all the music he's learned and throw in a riddle. Under Bach's tutelage, Goldberg successfully plays a difficult piece that becomes known as Goldberg Variations. "[T]he story is wonderfully told in the tropes and manner of a folktale." — Booklist
It's 1924, and with just a few weeks' notice, George Gershwin has been asked to compose a new concerto that exemplifies American music. In his search for a new melody, Gershwin realizes that American music is much like its people -- a great melting pot of sounds, rhythms, and harmonies. JoAnn Kitchel's illustrations capture the 1920's in all their art-deco majesty.
When Beethoven learns he is going deaf, he is determined to write a great symphony. As war rages in Europe he thinks he has found his inspiration in the heroic deeds of Napoleon. But has he?
Modest Mussorgsky is deeply saddened by the death of his friend, Victor Hartmann. In his grief, Modest turns his back on his dream of bringing the glories of the Russian people to the world through his music. His friends must find a way to help Modest deal with the loss of Victor and inspire him to compose again. "[A] new gem for music lovers." — Booklist
A fictionalized telling of the true story behind Haydn's Farewell Symphony brings to life the long summer Haydn and his musicians spent at Esterhaza, the summer palace of Prince Nicholas of Esterhazy. When the musicians become homesick they devise a way to convince the prince it's time to go home.