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Monica Hershberger

Brodie Hall 101

Monica Hershberger joined the faculty at SUNY Geneseo in September 2018. A specialist in twentieth-century music of the United States, she teaches a broad range of music history courses at Geneseo. Hershberger earned her Ph.D. in musicology from Harvard University in 2017. Before shifting to musicology, she earned degrees in piano performance from Bowling Green State University and Michigan State University.

Hershberger’s current research centers on the convergence of nationalism and feminism in mid-twentieth-century American opera. She is writing a book (tentatively titled ‘Life is Strife’: Women in and of America Opera during the 1950s), examining five operas from the perspectives of the fictional heroines around which these operas revolve, as well as from the perspectives and lived experiences of the real women who brought these heroines to life on stage. Through the women in and of mid-twentieth-century American opera, Hershberger argues that we can see how American women uttered and embodied the complex quest for national identity that accompanied the Cold War in the United States. Hershberger’s work has been recognized by the National Opera Association, funded by the Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History and by the Society for American Music, quoted in the New York Times, and published in The Opera Journal and Journal of the American Musicological Society.

Curriculum Vitae


  • Ph.D., Musicology, Harvard University

  • M.A., Musicology, Michigan State University

  • M.M., Piano Performance, Michigan State University

  • B.M., Piano Performance, Bowling Green State University

Academic Appointments

  • Assistant Professor, Music, SUNY Geneseo (September 2018-Present)

  • Assistant Professor, Music, Central Connecticut State University (2017-18)


  • "Seduction or Rape? The Sexual Politics of Carlisle Floyd's Susannah," Journal of the American Musicological Society 71, no. 1 (2018): 226-232.

  • "Introduction" to "Sexual Violence in Opera: Scholarship, Pedagogy, and Production as Resistance," (written together with Suzanne Cusick), Journal of the American Musicological Society 71, no. 1 (2018): 213-218.

  • "Fifty Years Later: Reflections on Douglas Moore's Carry Nation (1966), the University of Kansas's Centennial Contribution to the American "Year of Opera," The Opera Journal 49, no. 4 (2016): 3-18.

  • "Making Lizzie Borden: America's Most Infamous Axe-Murderess Turned Operatic Heroine," Digital Lectures in American Music, sponsored by the Society for American Music's Education Committee (2016):


  • MUSC 120: F/Intro to Music History

    An introduction to the history of music from its beginnings in Western culture to the present. Designed for the non-music major with little musical background, the course provides an overview of major composers, trends, and types of music in relationship to the political, economic, and cultural conditions of various historical periods. This course is not available to students who previously have received credit for MUSC 226 and/or MUSC 227. (Attendance at musical performances will be required.) Offered every fall

  • MUSC 222: F/Stage Musicals

    An examination of basic principles of dramatic construction that more or less determine ways in which stories may be presented through various mixtures of narrative prose, lyric poetry, music, dance, and scenery. Aristotle's principles of tragic drama form the foundation of that examination for purposes of artistic analysis and criticism. Examples of stage musicals that exhibit a variety of formal origins and presentational styles will be drawn from the repertory available in video format. Attendance at representative performances will be required. Offered every spring

  • MUSC 227: F/Music-Western Civ Since 1750

    A study of music in the history of Western civilization from 1750 to the present, considered within the context of the political, social, and cultural conditions of the various historical periods. Emphasis will be placed not only on stylistic developments within the field of music, but also on interrelationships between music, art, and literature. Listening to, analyzing, and discussing representative compositions will be central to the course. (Attendance at musical performances will be required.) Prerequisites: MUSC 226 or permission of instructor. Offered every spring.