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Antonia Banducci Faculty Profile

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Keith Ward

Lamont Director

by Keith Ward

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Antonia Banducci, Professor of Musicology, retired this June. In her 25 years at Lamont she guided generations of students and shared her unending passion for music. How does one sum up her rich career? This essay won’t do justice, but it will at least give a sense of this cherished member in the Lamont community.

Antonia taught a wide array of courses with opera having a very special place in her heart. When asked about a special moment during her career at Lamont, she said, without pause, that there isn’t one; there are many. So often those moments centered around students. Antonia engaged them in both the history of music and in the music itself. Her classes combined lecture, discussion, and performance, all of which brought the music alive. She challenged students to engage thoroughly in the music, to reflect upon it through research, discussion and writing. Her high standards made a difference in many students’ lives. Antonia enjoyed hearing from undergraduate students about how much they newly discovered in the music they studied in her classes in Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, and Classical music.  Her Baroque, Romantic and opera history seminar topics classes, as well as a strong focus on modern opera always provided for new discoveries. She also learned much from them, especially from the performers’ and composers’ points of view. “In both sets of classes, we were a community,” says Antonia. “We were engaged with each other. We were in it together.”

Lamont is a different place from when she came. Antonia was part of the generation of faculty and students who moved into the Newman Center in 2003 from what is now the Denver School of the Arts, eight miles from campus. In this inspiring new space of the Newman Center, Lamont took off. She proudly points out that the level of musicianship and professionalism has improved wonderfully over this time. She also praises our expansion into multiple musical styles that included steel drum, bluegrass, The Spirituals Project Choir, and ensembles celebrating multiple ethnicities, such as North Indian Kathak dance. She enjoyed watching our audiences grow as our footprint on the cultural life of the region expanded. During her career we became the destination we now are.

Students and service to her community are not all of Antonia’s story. She is a scholar of seventeenth-century music, especially opera, and has received accolades for her work on the music by Jean-Baptiste Lully (1632-1687). Her important discovery through painstaking archival research in Paris, France and elsewhere was that Lully built his operas around the performers he knew, and an important number of those star performers were women. “He may have been totally engaged in the drama, but the performers made the work. He knew who he was writing for.” She has garnered attention for her published scholarship, especially on Lully, and looks forward to completing her book on the composer’s music.  

Scholarly work will not be her only activity during retirement. An avid cyclist, Antonia serves on Denver mayor’s Bicycle Advisory Committee, and she looks forward to activities with the Denver Bicycle Club. She also looks forward to time in her garden as well as concerts and other activities at DU. We will look forward to seeing her!

Thank you, Antonia. Thank you for your undying love of music. Thank you for making a difference in students’ lives. Thank you for being such a great colleague.