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Music Professor named UCR Distinguished Humanist

Music Professor named UCR Distinguished Humanist

(December 18, 2000)

Music Professor Philip Brett has been chosen the 2000 Distinguished Humanist Achievement Lecturer by the Center for Ideas and Society at the University of California, Riverside.

Brett, who is also the associate dean of the College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences, will deliver a lecture titled "Auden's Britten" about the remarkable mentoring association in the 1930s and '40s between the poet W.H. Auden and composer Benjamin Britten. Brett's lecture, which also touches on the works that resulted from their collaboration, is scheduled for 4 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 18, in room 1500 of the Humanities and Social Sciences building.

In 1991, the Center for Ideas and Society at UCR inaugurated an annual lecture to recognize, honor, and celebrate the accomplishments of a faculty member of the College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences at UCR.

The Center for Ideas and Society honored Brett for his groundbreaking work bringing gay and lesbian studies to musicology. Two collections of essays, which he co-edited, played an important role in both queer studies and the new field of performativity. "Queering the Pitch: The New Gay and Lesbian Musicology" in 1994, was the first collection to look at sexuality in connection with music. "Cruising the Performative: Interventions into the Representation of Ethnicity, Nationality, and Sexuality," in 1995, resulted from the series "Unnatural Acts: Theorizing the Performative" initiated on the UCR campus in the early 1990s by Brett with English Professor Sue-Ellen Case and Susan Leigh Foster, professor of dance.

Brett, who is a performer as well as a scholar, has been honored with a Noah Greenberg Award for his production of Monteverdi's "Orfeo" and Peri's "Eurydice." He won a Grammy nomination for his 1991 recording of Handel's "Susanna" with his UC Berkeley Chamber Chorus and the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra. Brett came to UCR in 1991, after 25 years at UC Berkeley.

Brett is also one of the world's leading authorities on the music of the Elizabethan period. He is currently directing a team of scholars in completing the final two volumes of a 20-volume collection of the works of 16th-century English composer William Byrd. The project is being funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Previous winners of the Distinguished Humanist award are Historian Sterling Stuckey, who won the award in 1999 for his work on the slave experience in the United States, and novelist Susan Straight, professor of creative writing, who earned the prize in 1998 for her writings about Riverside's Eastside neighborhood.

The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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