21st-century college graduates backpacking through faraway capitals are hardly pioneers. As early as the 1600s, young Europeans of means began touring cultural capitals such as Rome, Venice, and Paris, followed soon by Americans. Known as "Grand Tours," these journeys were thought to culminate a classical education, and they included broad exposure to music of the time. The "Grand Tour" residency at the McIntire Department of Music will allow listeners to imagine what this experience was like, and to reflect critically on its historical and artistic significance.
Vanessa Agnew is Associate Professor of German at the University of Michigan. She does research on eighteenth-century music discourse, eighteenth- and nineteenth-century travel writing and natural history, postcolonial theory, and historical reenactment. Her teaching includes courses on German opera and writings about music, travel, and eighteenth-century racial discourse. She has held research fellowships at the Musikwissenschaftliches Seminar, Humboldt-Universität and the Forschungszentrum Europäische Aufklärung, the Centre for Cross-Cultural Research and the Humanities Research Centre at the Australian National University, the National Maritime Museum, and the Graduiertenkolleg 'Reiseliteratur und Kulturanthropologie' at the Universität Paderborn.She is coeditor of Settler and Creole Reenactment (2010), Her award-winning monograph, Enlightenment Orpheus: The Power of Music in Other Worlds (Oxford University Press, 2008), is a study of Anglo-German debates about the power of music (ca.1760-1810). Focusing on Charles Burney's German journey, the book traces the central role of travel and cross-cultural encounters in transforming musical thought.