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Research & Scholarship

In Spring 2024, students in Dr. Christina Fuhrmann’s Seminar MUC 364 studied Anna Magdalena Bach, second wife of Johann Sebastian Bach. Anna Magdalena was a singer, copyist, keyboardist, teacher, mother, and, alongside Johann Sebastian, the head of a thriving musical household. Her life exemplifies the opportunities and challenges musical women faced in the eighteenth century. Students in the seminar studied various aspects of Anna Magdalena’s life, as well as the lives and careers of women musicians during this time period. For their final projects, Margie Raupp ’24 explored Anna Magdalena’s capabilities as singer, while Andrew Crans ’24 looked at the two “Anna Magdalena Bach Notebooks.” Emily Dyko ’24 detailed how influential women like Sara Levy helped preserve Johann Sebastian’s legacy, while Lacey Yacketta ’24 focused on how Johann Sebastian’s music can continue to appeal to listeners in transcriptions. Bonnie Vigil ’24 and Katie Ritzema ’25 put Anna Magdalena in context by highlighting the accomplishments of women composers of the time. Anna Magdalena has been in the news most prominently in recent years because of Dr. Martin Jarvis’s controversial theory—since disproven—that Anna Magdalena composed the cello suites. Jordan Blackburn ’24, Katherine Fisfis ’24, Brett Nickolette ’24, Erin Perry ’24, Anneke Van Slyke ’24, and Emma Wilansky ’24 produced creative videos, podcasts, and posters about this controversy.

An online exhibit imageIn Spring 2023, students in Dr. Danielle Kuntz's History and Literature 3 course created online exhibits. Working with items from the Frederick Freedman Collection, each group of students selected a composer and work that interested them. They researched the composer and the context of the work and created an exhibit featuring text and images. Most of the composers featured were relatively unknown, including several women composers. Thei wrok has uncovered hidden gems and highlighted the human sike of musicmaking.

Online exhibits