The Center for Performing Arts’ Classical Music Project is back for its second year hoping to cast light on the importance of classical music to the public. The three-year project was established in fall 2011 and will run until spring of 2014.
“Our aim is to expose a wide audience to the beauty and wonder of classical music and to provide a broad understanding of how this music functioned in its historical and cultural context,” Marica Tacconi , the project’s Faculty Leader for Curricular and Academic Programs, said.
There will be five performances that take place throughout the semester, as well as the Interdisciplinary Lecture Series that will begin at 2:30 p.m. today.
“From music, dance and the idea of ‘genius’ to the workings of the brain and Viennese concert culture, the lectures will engage multiple disciplines,” Tacconi said.
The lecturers will include professors from Cornell University , Yale University , University of Texas at Austin and Florida State University , Tacconi said. Penn State’s Associate Professor of Music Theory Eric McKee will be giving the first lecture today.
McKee teaches a range of undergraduate and graduate music theory courses at Penn State and recently published a book titled “Decorum of the Minuet, Delirium of the Waltz: A Study of Dance-Music Relations in 3/4 Time .” He has three lectures lined up in the semester. The first lecture is called “The Politics of Pleasure: French Court Dancing in the Time of Louis XIV and Louis XV.”
“Much of my research investigates the influence of social dancing in music of the 18th and 19th centuries,” McKee said. “These talks grow directly out of my research.”
The first lecture will focus on how 17th century French ballroom dancing influenced the rest of Europe. McKee said he will speak about the contributions the dance made to politics and society starting at the time of King Louis XVI.
This is the first time the lectures are a part of the Classical Music Project. Free to the public, they will take place at the Palmer Museum of Art’s Palmer Lipcon Auditorium .
“[We want] to afford people the opportunity to explore topics connected to classical music and to uncover some of the underlying aspects of the composers, the music and the history surrounding the time in which the music was created,” Laura Sullivan , Marketing & Communications Director for the Center of Performing Arts, said.