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 188: Exp: First Year Experience
  • MUSC 217: F/Jazz in America

    An examination of the history, development, and meanings of jazz in the United States. Students learn to analyze and interpret jazz styles, and they learn about key figures such as Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Wynton Marsalis, and Esperanza Spalding. Students gain an understanding of the cultural and political forces that shaped (and continue to shape) the American jazz tradition. They examine the relationship between jazz and African American history by engaging with texts by African American writers such as Amiri Baraka and Toni Morrison.

  • MUSC 226: Music History I

    A study of music in the history of Western civilization to 1750. Emphasis is placed not only upon the evolutional development of music as an art but also upon its relationship to the political, economic, and cultural conditions of the various historical periods. Attendance at musical performances may be required.

  • MUSC 236: Thinking Through Music I

    How do we ascribe meaning to music? To answer this question, students begin by reflecting critically on the music history survey. Students then consider other frameworks for thinking through and ascribing meaning to music. Students examine the relationship between music, gender, and sexuality, as well as the relationship between music, race, and ethnicity. They analyze key debates in the fields of musicology and ethnomusicology, and they consider how people from different parts of the world ascribe meaning to music. Students learn to connect music with its contexts and subtexts, developing essential skills for thinking, writing, and speaking critically about music.