Wendy Heller, Scheide Professor of Music History, is Chair of the Department of Music at Princeton University and also serves as Director of the Program in Italian Studies. Recognized as one of the leading scholars in the field of Baroque music, Heller has specialized in the study of 17th- and 18th-century opera from interdisciplinary perspectives, with special emphasis on gender and sexuality, art history, Italian literature, dance history, and the classical tradition. Author of the award-winning Emblems of Eloquence: Opera and Women’s Voices in Seventeenth-Century Venice (Berkeley, 2003), Heller has published numerous essays on the music of Monteverdi, Strozzi, Cavalli, Purcell, and Handel, and is currently completing a book entitled Animating Ovid: Opera and the Metamorphoses of Antiquity in Early Modern Italy.
Having trained as a singer at New England Conservatory before receiving her PhD in musicology from Brandeis University, Heller maintains a strong interest in performance, promoting collaborations between scholars and performers. She has been a driving force in the performance of baroque operas at Princeton, and served as dramaturg for Princeton University Opera Theater’s 2014 production Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea. Heller is also a member of the editorial board for Francesco Cavalli's Opere (Bärenreiter); her edition of Cavalli's Veremonda L'Amazzone di Aragona (1652), to be published in 2018, was produced at the 2016 Schwetzingen Festival, for which she also served as a consultant. She is also completing a edition of Handel's Admeto for Bärenreiter.
Winner of the Rome Prize, Heller has also been a been a Mellon Fellow at the Society of Fellows at Columbia University, an appointee at the Villa I Tatti Harvard University Center for Renaissance Studies (as winner of the Frederick Burkhardt Fellowship for Recently Tenured Scholars), and was also the Sylvan C. and Pamela Coleman Fellow at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She spent the 2014-15 academic year as an Old Dominion Fellow with the Council of the Humanities at Princeton University, and was recently named the Scheide Professor of Music History. She serves on the editorial boards for the Journal of Musicology, Cambridge Opera Journal, Journal of Music Pedagogy, The Operas of Cavalli (Bärenreiter), the Board of the American Handel Society, and is a member of the Venetian Advisory Board for the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation.
B. Mus New England Conservatory (vocal performance)
M. Mus New England Conservatory (musicology), with honors and distinction in performance
Ph.D Brandeis University
Recognition & Awards
Old Dominion Professorship, Princeton University, 2014-2015; Oxford-Princeton Collaborative for “Staging History: Performing in the past in the theatres of London and New York, 1770-1870” with Michael Burden (New College, Oxford), 2012-2014 Sylvan and Pamela C. Coleman Memorial Fellowship, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2010-2011; American Council of Learned Societies, Friedrich S. Burkhardt Fellowship, 2006-7; Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation Grant, Grant for Research in Venice, 1991, 1992, 1996, 2006-7; American Council of Learned Societies, Sabbatical Grant, 2006-7 (declined); American Philosophical Society Sabbatical Grant, 2006-7 (declined); Otto Kinkeldey Award, American Musicological Society, Honorable Mention, 2004 and Annual Book Award from the Society for Early Modern Women (both for Emblems of Eloquence: Opera and Women’s Voices in Seventeenth-Century Venice); Princeton University, Samuel E. Davis Preceptorship, 2002-5; Oxford University, New College, Visiting Fellowship, 2001; American Academy Rome: Rome Prize in Post-Classical Humanistic/Italian Studies, 2000-1; Columbia University, Mellon Fellow in Music, Society of Fellows in the Humanities, 1997-8; National Endowment for the Humanities, Fellowship for Independent Scholars, 1996-7; National Endowment for the Humanities, Dissertation Fellowship, 1994; American Musicological Society, AMS 50 Dissertation Fellowship, 1993.