Research Interests and Agenda

My research activities have involved subjects pertaining to the music of the Renaissance and Early Baroque.  This body of work deals significantly with such topics as musical patronage, dedications of musical works, and music philology.  These research interests have evolved from the work in my doctoral dissertation–a comprehensive investigation of the life and sacred music of the Genoese musician Simone Molinaro (ca. 1570-1636). My study reveals that Molinaro was the leading musician in Genoa of his day who held the post of chapel master first at the cathedral of San Lorenzo from 1601 to 1617, and later at the ducal palace from 1625 until his death in 1636. Molinaro’s musical heritage can be traced to the Franco-Flemish school of composition transmitted through his uncle and teacher Giovanni Battista Dalla Gostena, himself a former chapel master at the Genoese Duomo and a student of Philippe de Monte.  More telling of the direct influences on Molinaro’s compositional style are the works he modeled, which include those by some the most important composers of the late sixteenth century such as Tomás Luis de Victoria, Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, Luca Marenzio, as well as Monte.

Testimony to Molinaro’s own acclaim and influence as a composer is given by the eleven anthologies published between 1599 and 1624 that contain many of his works. Among these compendiums were the well-known and influential editions printed in Germany and Denmark by Kaspar Hassler, Melchior Borchgrevinck, and Abraham Schadaus.  Not surprisingly, some of Molinaro’s most significant works reached an international audience in these reprints including the elaborate triple motet Domine ne in furore-Convertere Domine-Laboravi in gemitu and the eloquent setting of texts from Psalm 118, Erravi sicut ovis, both of which first appeared in the Motectorum quinis et missae denis vocibus liber primus published in 1597.  Other important works include the Balletto detto ‘Il Conte Orlando’, from the Intavolatura di liuto of 1599 that was made famous in more recent times by the incorporation of the tune into the first suite of the Ancient Airs and Dances by Ottorino Respighi in 1917.  Such works find that Molinaro was not only one of the most significant figures in the history of Genoese music, but also a major composer of the dynamic musical period of the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries.  Molinaro’s works in both the late Renaissance and early Baroque styles display artistic depth, skillful designs, and refinement of musical language.  Most of this music is virtually unknown to modern scholars and audiences.  I am currently preparing for publication the first modern critical editions of Molinaro’s sacred and secular music.

In April 2010 I was recognized with the First Place Prize in the Early Music Mining Competition sponsored by the Chalice Consort and Early Music America for a presentation I gave about my critical edition of the formerly unknown motet Quae est ista quae progreditur by Molinaro.  Through my efforts this piece received its modern-day world premiere by this ensemble.  My further collaboration with the Chalice Consort on the ‘Molinaro Project’ has resulted in three concerts of music in November 2010 dedicated completely to the sacred music of Molinaro for which I have provided the critical and performing editions and concert notes.  In 2012 the first recording dedicated to Molinaro’s sacred music will be produced.  This work exemplifies my commitment to engender the understanding of music through the synthesis of scholarship and performance.

I am also a contributor to two international academic projects, the Motet Database Catalogue Online at the University of Florida, and I margini del libro sponsored by the Swiss National Science Foundation.  The latter project focuses on the study and cataloguing of dedications in the Italian tradition.  I have committed to publishing a series of editions of dedication to works printed in the sixteenth and seventeenth century in honor of Genoese patrons.  This work has been part of the research for my study of the patronage of music by the members of Genoese nobility in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries.