We are pleased to introduce the Blattner Lecture Series, featuring star lecturers who take you on a fascinating and enlightening journey. Each lecture provides insight and sets the cultural context of the music being performed. A very special thanks to Kimberly and Simon Blattner for supporting this exciting new series.

July 14th, 2019
Salons and Salonnières: Fashioning 19th-Century Musical Taste

Lecture with Irene Zanini-Cordi, Associate Professor of Italian Studies, Florida State University

Salons were performative sites of sociability and cultural production. There, trends were set, and musical and literary stars were born, or ruined. The fame of Liszt, Bellini and Chopin, just to name a few, was made in the salons. Presiding over these powerful social-networking hubs were the charms and wits of the salonnières.

In this talk, we will reveal the dynamics of power within the salons and their cultural outcomes. After tracing the origins of the salons and dis- cussing their rituals and functions, we will examine the role of the power- ful women that animated them. As cultural mediators, supporters of the arts, and trend-setters, they were so influential that they often dictated public taste in fashion, literature and music.

July 21st, 2019

Avant-Garde Arts and Unconventional Lives

Lecture with Heather Hadlock
Associate Professor of Music, Stanford University

Heather Hadlock, a specialist in Romantic opera and gender studies, will speak about the salon culture in fin-de-siècle Paris as private spaces where wealth and privilege sheltered transgressive gender ex- pression, unconventional marital arrangements, illicit sexual identities, and radical musical experimentation. How did the ideals of personal, romantic, and artistic freedom intertwine in these salons? How did the American-born Winnaretta Singer, by marriage the Princesse de Polignac, occupy and subvert the aristocratic woman’s traditional role as patroness of the arts and fosterer of culture?

July 28th, 2019 
Conversations with Kate: Women in Music

Discussion with Kate van Orden
Dwight P. Robinson Professor of Music, Harvard University

The nineteenth century was a time of enormous social change for wom- en, and as the term “first wave feminism” suggests, these revolutions have come in fits and starts. This festival wrap-up uses the activities of the salonnières as a launching point for a wider ranging consideration of how brilliant women have long navigated the music world, followed by a conversation with festival musicians.


July 15th, 2018
Echoes of the City—Vienna’s Musical Pasts

Beethoven expert Professor Nicholas Mathew (UC Berkeley Music History) talks about the relationship between music and politics in the 18th and 19th centuries.

July 21st, 2018
Making Modernity: Vienna 1880-1920

Thomas W. Laqueur, UC Berkeley’s Helen Fawcett Distinguished Professor Emeritus, explores how and why Vienna became the city where many of the ideas, political movements, art, music and architecture that shaped the 20th century were born in the decades before the Great War: psychoanalysis, atonal music, expressionism, Zionism, anti-Semitic political parties, and more.

July 29th, 2018
Conversations with Kate:

The Paradox of Progress

In 1933, Arnold Schoenberg gave a provocative talk titled “Brahms the Progressive” in which he decried stereotypes of Brahms as conservative. Beginning with some historical background and a riff on Schoenberg, Kate van Orden, Dwight P. Robinson Jr. Professor of Music, Harvard University, leads a conversation with VMMF musicians about the challenges of performing fin-de-siècle repertoire in period style, what early instruments add to the experience of Schubert, Brahms, and Schoenberg, and the value of musical progress itself.