Lectures

Class of 1960 Lecture – Lydia Goehr

Beckmesser’s Lute; King David’s Harp: Musical Instruments and the Instrumentality of Painting
Prof. Goehr presents a mystery story that reveals an unexplored theme in Wagnerian opera. Through the story, we learn something about Wagner’s attitude to painting, to opera, to musical instruments, and most about how he solved the problem, as he saw it, of the Jewish origins of music.

Lydia Goehr is Professor of Philosophy at Columbia University. In 2005, she received a Columbia University Presidential Award for Outstanding Teaching and in 2007-8 was recipient of The Graduate Student Advisory Council (GSAC)’s Faculty Mentoring Award (FMA). She has also been a recipient of Mellon, Getty, and Guggenheim Fellowships, and in 1997 was the Visiting Ernest Bloch Professor in the Music Department at U. California, Berkeley, where she gave a series of lectures on Richard Wagner. She has also been a Trustee of the American Society for Aesthetics. In 2002-3, she was the visiting Aby Warburg Professor in Hamburg and a fellow at the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin. In 2005-6, she delivered the Royal Holloway-British Library Lectures in Musicology in London and the Wort Lectures at Cambridge University. In 2008 (spring), she was a Visiting Professor at the Freie Universität, Berlin (Cluster: “The Language of Emotions”). She is the author of The Imaginary Museum of Musical Works: An Essay in the Philosophy of Music (1992; second edition with a new essay, 2007); The Quest for Voice: Music, Politics, and the Limits of Philosophy [essays on Richard Wagner] (1998); Elective Affinities: Musical Essays on the History of Aesthetic Theory [essays on Adorno and Danto] (2008), and co-editor with Daniel Herwitz of The Don Giovanni Moment. Essays on the legacy of an Opera (2006). She has written many articles, most recently on the work of Theodor W. Adorno, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, and Arthur Danto. With Gregg Horowitz, she is series editor of Columbia Themes in Philosophy, Social Criticism, and the Arts, Columbia University Press.