Class of 1960 Lecture
Prof. Ellen Harris
George Frideric Handel: A Life with Friends—being a Sherlock in the archives


Williams College Department of Music hosts Prof. Ellen Harris of M.I.T. She gives a lecture titled George Frideric Handel: A Life with Friends—being a Sherlock in the archives on Wed. Oct. 19 at 4:15 p.m. in room 30 of the Bernhard Music Center on the Williams College campus. This lecture is sponsored by the Class of 1960 Scholars Fund and is free and open to the public.

The talk explores the excitement of working with a wide range of archival documents, none of which is available on line, that formed the basis of the biographical and social narrative in her most recent book on Handel. It illustrates how the kinds of questions one asks will direct the search from archive to archive. It also engages the new directions her archival research has taken since the book’s publication. This kind of detective work differs in significant ways from the examination of musical sources, but it offers important insights into the music not otherwise possible.

About Ellen Harris

Ellen T. Harris is Professor Emeritus at MIT in Music and Theater Arts and President of the American Musicological Society. Her research has focused largely on the music of Handel. Her books include the award-winning George Frideric Handel: A Life with Friends (Norton, 2014) and Handel as Orpheus: Voice and Desire in the Chamber Cantatas (Harvard, 2001). She was elected a Fellow of the American Philosophical Society (2016), American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1998) and made an Honorary Member of the American Musicological Society (2011). For the 2013-14 academic year, she was a Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar, and in 2016, a Visiting Professor at The Juilliard School. She has performed twice with John Williams and the Boston Pops and sung the National Anthem at Fenway Park.

The Class of 1960 Scholars Fund, established at their 25th Reunion, brings eminent researchers from other colleges and universities to campus to give colloquia and work with students in the classroom.

Photo credit of Ellen Harris: Bryce Vickmark