Jessica Waldoff, Associate Professor and Chair of Music, Receives Marfuggi Award

WORCESTER, Mass. – Jessica Waldoff, associate professor and chair of the music department at the College of the Holy Cross, was recently named the 2006-07 recipient of the Mary Louise Marfuggi Faculty Award for Outstanding Scholarship. Made possible by a generous gift from Richard A. Marfuggi, M.D., ’72, in honor of his mother, the award recognizes faculty with an exemplary record of scholarship and outstanding achievement in the creation of an original work in the arts and sciences. She lives in Natick.

In making the announcement, Timothy R. Austin, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the College, described her past year as “extraordinarily productive.”

Last year, on the 250th anniversary year of the birth of Mozart, Waldoff published Recognition in Mozart’s Operas (Oxford University Press), a critically-acclaimed discourse that uses both literary and musicological methods to illuminate some of the composer’s best-loved operas. Through close readings of Mozart’s operas, including Don Giovanni and Cosi fan Tutte, Waldoff taps the unexplored themes of knowledge and discovery that figure prominently in many of these works. She argues that rather than offering the happy endings or tragic climaxes of traditional operas, many of Mozart’s works feature scenes of recognition — moments in which a protagonist has an important revelation that changes the course of the drama. Drawing on Aristotle’s Poetics, the works of contemporary critics such as Terence Cave, and her own reflections, the author provides a critical account of Mozart’s recognition scenes.

Also in 2006, Waldoff had four articles published on Mozart: “Die Zauberflöte” in The Cambridge Mozart Encyclopedia, edited by Cliff Eisen and Simon P. Keefe (Cambridge University Press), pp. 540-553; “Reading Mozart’s Operas ‘for the sentiment’ ” in Mozart Studies, edited by Simon P. Keefe (Cambridge University Press), pp. 74-108; and “La finta giardiniera and the Music of Sensibility” and “Mozart’s ‘Pamela’ Opera” in The Royal Opera at Covent Garden Program for La finta giardiniera (September), pp. 29-31 and 43-46.

A member of the Holy Cross faculty since 1995, Waldoff received her Ph.D. in 1995 from Cornell University where she studied with James Webster, Neal Zaslaw, and Don Michael Randel, specializing in late 18th- and early 19th-century studies. Her studies at Cornell, including the dissertation year, were supported by a Mellon Fellowship in the Humanities (1988) and a Cornell Sage Graduate Fellowship (1991-92). Her dissertation, “The Music of Recognition in Mozart’s Operas,” drew on literary theory to explore both recognition as a topic and recognition scenes in these works.

Waldoff is co-author of “Operatic Plotting in Le nozze di Figaro,” with James Webster, in Wolfgang Amade Mozart: Essays on his Life and his Music (ed. Stanley Sadie, Oxford University Press, 1996).

For additional information contact Cristal Steuer at 508.793.2419