“We study not only the pieces of music that these composers wrote but where they grew up, who they learned music from, and how previous composers influenced the type of music that they wrote,” says Samantha Osborn, a music major in Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters.
“You really can’t understand a piece of music until you understand the history, politics, art—all of the influences that helped create that piece of music.”
Osborn ’13 spent two weeks in Rome at the Conservatory of Saint Cecilia, where she was able to locate and duplicate eight of Baroque composer Alessandro Scarlatti’s handwritten cantatas. She then performed one of them as part of her senior thesis—an hour-long recital showcasing a variety of vocal techniques, time periods, and languages.
The Rome trip was funded by an Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP) grant from the College of Arts and Letters’ Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts and a grant from the University’s Nanovic Institute for European Studies.
You can also watch this video on YouTube.