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Elizabeth (Beth) Abbate

Music History Faculty

Elizabeth (Beth) Abbate earned a B.A. at Yale College, an M.M. in violin performance at Yale School of Music and a Ph.D. at Harvard University, where she received a Whiting Fellowship and completed a dissertation on “Myth, Symbo, and Meaning in Mahler’s Early Symphonies.” While her primary focus is on 19th- and 20th-century symphonic traditions—particularly the music of Mahler—her secondary interests include music of Webern and Messiaen. Much of her work combines music analysis and cultural studies, with particular focus on music and esotericism, musical expression of nationalist traditions and narrative structures in the symphony. Recent papers include “Esoteric Origins: Theosophical Images and Influences in Webern’s op. 29” (Royal Music Association Music and Philosophy workshop, London, 2014) and “Mendelssohn’s Scottish Sentiments: A New Look at Music, Meaning and Contemporary Nationalism in Mendelssohn’s ‘Scottish’ Symphony” (10th Biennial International Conference on Music in Nineteenth-Century Britain, Glasgow, 2015).

As a performer, Abbate has been a violinist with a wide variety of Boston area groups, including the Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP), Boston Lyric Opera orchestra, Boston Ballet orchestra, Boston Baroque, the Handel and Haydn Society, and Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra. She can be heard on recordings by BMOP, Boston Baroque, Emmanuel Music, the Early Music Ensemble of Boston and the Linda Chase Ensemble.

In addition to The Boston Conservatory, Abbate has taught at New England Conservatory and was a Teaching Fellow at Harvard.

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