Monica Hershberger

Assistant Professor of Music
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 227: Music History II: Key Figures

    An examination of the contributions of key figures in music history during the nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first centuries. Students begin in Europe with the classical music tradition, analyzing the music of composers such as Ludwig van Beethoven, Franz Schubert, Richard Wagner, Giuseppe Verdi, and Johannes Brahms. Students conclude in the United States, surveying the rise of new traditions such as jazz and rock 'n roll, and considering the cultural significance of artists such as Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Chuck Berry, Michael Jackson, and Beyonce Knowles. Students gain an understanding of the personal, cultural, and political forces that shaped (and continue to shape) the classical music canon, and they gain an understanding of the personal, cultural, and political forces that shaped the formation of new canons, namely the canons of jazz, rock 'n roll, and popular music more broadly.

  • MUSC 336: MusGen&Sex:Black Women - Opera

    A consideration of the relationships between musical practices, styles, and genres to notions of gender and sexuality. Offered under rotating subtitles, topics may include gender and musical genre; music, modernism, and sexuality; opera and queer theory/opera and feminist criticism; and gender, sexuality and musical media. In addition to Musicological approaches to gender and sexuality studies, this course will also examine foundational texts in feminist theory, queer theory, as well as histories of gender and sexuality by authors such as Foucault, Butler, Sedgwick, and others. May be taken twice under different subtitles. Prerequisite: MUSC 227; Credits 3(3-0). Offered regularly though not on a rotating basis.