I am a musicologist and historical keyboardist specializing in the history, performance practices, and cultural contexts of music in 17th- and 18th-century Europe. My work includes Women and Musical Salons in the Enlightenment (University of Chicago Press, 2022), Music and Jewish Culture in Early Modern Italy: New Perspectives (co-edited with Lynette Bowring and Liza Malamut, Indiana University Press, 2022), Curious and Modern Inventions: Instrumental Music as Discovery in Galileo’s Italy (University of Chicago Press, 2016) and Sara Levy’s World: Gender, Judaism, and the Bach Tradition in Enlightenment Berlin (University of Rochester Press, 2018), co-edited with Nancy Sinkoff.

My work as a scholar is informed by my experience as a performer; in my three recordings with the Raritan Players, the ensemble that I direct, the acts of performance and research are mutually elaborative. The first of these recordings, In Sara Levy’s Salon (Acis Productions, 2017), has been called “simply mesmerizing” (Early Music America) and “a fascinating concept, brilliantly realised” (Classical Music). A sequel to this recording, Sisters, Face to Face: The Bach Legacy in Women’s Hands (Acis Productions, 2019), received the American Musicological Society’s Noah Greenberg Award for contributions to historical performance. Most recently, In the Salon of Madame Brillon: Music and Friendship in Benjamin Franklin’s Paris, includes multiple world-premiere recordings of compositions by Madame Brillon. I have also been honored to receive the Provost’s Award for Excellence in Cross-disciplinary Research from Rutgers University-New Brunswick.


PhD (2008), MPhil (2005), and MA (2004) in Music History, Yale University.

MA (2004) in Jewish Studies, Yeshiva University

MMus (2002) in Harpsichord Performance, The Royal College of Music, London

BA (2000) in Music, Cornell University

Other Publications

Forthcoming single-author book

Women and Musical Salons in the Enlightenment. Manuscript completed; under contract with the University of Chicago Press.

Co-edited Books

Lynette Bowring, Rebecca Cypess, and Liza Malamut, ed., Music and Jewish Culture in Early Modern Italy. 102,000-word manuscript currently under review.

Rebecca Cypess and Nancy Sinkoff, ed., Sara Levy’s World: Gender, Judaism, and the Bach Tradition in Enlightenment BerlinRochester: University of Rochester Press, 2018.

Rebecca Cypess, Beth L. Glixon and Nathan Link, ed., Word, Image, and Song: Vol. 1: Essays on Early Modern Italy (Rochester: University of Rochester Press, 2013).

Rebecca Cypess, Beth L. Glixon and Nathan Link, ed., Word, Image, and Song: Vol. 2: Essays on Musical Voices (Rochester: University of Rochester Press, 2013).

Articles in Peer-Reviewed Journals

Rebecca Cypess, “Madame Lavoisier’s Music Collection: Lessons from a Private Library of the Nineteenth Century,” Notes: The Quarterly Journal of the Music Library Association (accepted; forthcoming in December 2020).

Rebecca Cypess, “Voices, Instruments, and the Technology of Nature: Adriano Banchieri at the Accademia Filomusi,” Basler Jahrbuch für historische Musikpraxis (2018) (accepted; forthcoming in 2020).

Rebecca Cypess, “Arrangement Practices in the Bach Tradition, Then and Now: Historical Precedent for Modern Practice,” Journal of Musicological Research, special issue on “Topics in Musical Interpretation,” guest edited by Sezi Seskir and David Hyun-Su Kim. Advance online publication in June, 2020 at https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/01411896.2020.1770091

Rebecca Cypess, “How Thorough Was Bach’s Thoroughbass? A Reconsideration of the Trio Texture,” Early Music 47, no. 1 (2019): 83–97.

Rebecca Cypess, “Historical Thinking and Individual Creativity: Teaching Primary Sources on Performance,” part of a roundtable entitled “Reconsidering Primary Sources for the Music History Classroom,” Journal of Music History Pedagogy 9, no. 1 (2019): 90–98.

Rebecca Cypess, “Music Historicism: Sara Levy and the Jewish Enlightenment,” Bach Perspectives 12. Themed issue on “Bach and the Counterpoint of Religion,” edited by Robin A. Leaver (2018): 129–151.

Rebecca Cypess, “Keyboard-Duo Arrangements in Eighteenth-Century Musical Life,” Eighteenth-Century Music 14, no. 2 (Sept., 2017): 183–214.

Rebecca Cypess, “‘It Would Be Without Error’: Automated Technology and the Pursuit of Correct Performance in the French Enlightenment.” Journal of the Royal Musical Association 142 (spring, 2017): 1–29.

Rebecca Cypess, “Ancient Music, Modern Poetry, and the Wechselgesang der Mirjam und Debora: Meanings of Song in the Itzig Circle,” Bach: Journal of the Riemenschneider Bach Institute 47, no. 1 (2016): 21–65.

Rebecca Cypess, “Giovanni Battista Della Porta’s Experiments with Musical Instruments,” Journal of Musicological Research 35, no. 3 (2016): 1–17.

Rebecca Cypess, “Frescobaldi’s Toccate e partite…libro primo (1615–16) as a Pedagogical Work: Artisanship, Imagination, and the Process of Learning” Recercare 27, nos. 1–2 (2015): 103–138.

Rebecca Cypess, “Timbre, Expression, and Combination Keyboard Instruments: Milchmeyer’s Art of Veränderung,” Keyboard Perspectives 8 (2015): 43–69.

Rebecca Cypess, “Instrumental Music and Conversazione in Early Seicento Venice: Biagio Marini’s Affetti musicali (1617),” Music and Letters 93 no. 4 (Nov., 2012): 453–78.

Rebecca Cypess, “The Anxiety of Specificity: Thoughts on the Intersection of Jewish Studies and Music.” Essay in a colloquy on Jewish Studies and Music, Journal of the American Musicological Society 65, no. 2 (summer, 2012): 576–582.

Rebecca Cypess, “‘Die Natur und Kunst zu betrachten’: Carlo Farina’s Capriccio stravagante (1627) and the Cultures of Collecting at the Court of Saxony,” The Musical Quarterly 95, no. 1 (spring, 2012): 139–192.

Rebecca Cypess, “‘Memento mori Froberger?’ Locating the Self in the Passage of Time,” Early Music 40, no. 1 (Feb., 2012): 45–54.

Rebecca Cypess, “‘Esprimere la voce humana’: Connections between Vocal and Instrumental Music by Italian Composers of the Early Seventeenth Century,” Journal of Musicology 27, no. 2 (spring, 2010): 181–223.

Rebecca Cypess, “The Community as Ethnographer: Views of Classical Music in the Orthodox Jewish Community,” International Review of the Aesthetics and Sociology of Music 41, no. 1 (Jun., 2010): 117–39.

Rebecca Cypess, “Chambonnières, Jollain, and the First Engraving of Harpsichord Music in France,” Early Music 35, no. 4 (Nov., 2007): 539–54.

Rebecca Cypess, “Evidence about the Lira da braccio from Two Seventeenth-Century Violin Sources,” Galpin Society Journal 60 (2007): 147–60.


Co-Authored Articles

Rebecca Cypess and Steven Kemper, “The Anthropomorphic Analogy: Humanising Musical Machines in the Early Modern and Contemporary Eras,” Organised Sound 23, no. 2 (2018): 167–180.

Steven Kemper and Rebecca Cypess, “Can Mechanical Music Be Expressive? Case Studies from the Enlightenment and Today,” Leonardo 52, no. 5 (2019): 448–454. Free download of the month, October, 2019; featured in Leonardo’s “book club,” a half-hour online discussion with the authors moderated by the journal editors, archived at https://www.facebook.com/Leonardo.ISAST/videos/vl.393377041446385/2477315645885485/?type=1.

Book Chapters

Rebecca Cypess, “Experimental Women and the Nuove musiche,” in The Cambridge Companion to Women Composers, ed. Matthew Head and Susan Wollenberg (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming in 2021).

Rebecca Cypess, “Technologies: Musical Technologies as Vehicles of Enlightenment,” in A Cultural History of Music in the Enlightenment, ed. David M. Irving and Estelle Joubert, vol. 4 of The Bloomsbury Cultural History of Music, ed. Alexander Rehding and David M. Irving (Bloomsbury Publishers, forthcoming in 2021).

Rebecca Cypess, “History and Faust in Doctor Atomic,” in The Oxford Handbook of Faust in Music, ed. Lorna Fitzsimmons and Charles McKnight (New York: Oxford University Press, 2019), 423–448.

Rebecca Cypess, “Italy,” in The Cambridge Companion to the Harpsichord, ed. Mark Kroll (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2019), 138–164.

Rebecca Cypess, “The Musical Duet in the Circle of Sara Levy and the Ideal of ‘Unity in Multiplicity,’” in Sara Levy’s World: Music, Gender, and Judaism in Enlightenment Berlin, ed. Rebecca Cypess and Nancy Sinkoff (Rochester: University of Rochester Press, 2018), 181–204.

Rebecca Cypess, “Music for a Saxon Princess,” in Word, Image, and Song: Vol. 2: Essays on Musical Voices, ed. Rebecca Cypess, Beth L. Glixon, and Nathan Link. (Rochester: University of Rochester Press, 2013), 89­–110.


Co-Authored Book Chapters

Rebecca Cypess and Yoel Greenberg, “Hearing the Ancient Temple in Early Modern Mantua: Abraham Portaleone and the Cultivation of Music Within the Mantuan Jewish Community,” in the Oxford Handbook of Jewish Music, ed. Tina Frühauf (Oxford University Press, forthcoming in 2021).

Lynette Bowring and Rebecca Cypess, “Orality and Literacy in the Worlds of Salamone Rossi,” in Music and Jewish Culture in Early Modern Italy, ed. Lynette Bowring, Rebecca Cypess, and Liza Malamut. Under review at Indiana University Press.



Rebecca Cypess, Review of Patrizio Barbieri, Hydraulic Musical Automata in Italian Villas and Other Ingenia, 1400-2000, in Music & Letters (forthcoming).

Rebecca Cypess, Review of Laurie Stras, Women and Music in Sixteenth-Century Ferrara, in Music & Letters 100, no. 3 (Aug., 2019): 546–549.

Rebecca Cypess, Review of Sarah M. Ross, A Season of Singing: Creating Feminist Jewish Music in the United States, in Nashim: A Journal of Jewish Women’s Studies and Gender Issues 33 (fall, 2018): 223–26.

Rebecca Cypess, Review of Biagio Marini, Madrigali e symfonie, ed. Aurelio Bianco and Sara Dieci, in Music and Letters 98, no. 3 (Aug., 2017): 474–77.

Rebecca Cypess, Review of recordings of seventeenth-century music by the ensemble “ACRONYM,” in Journal of Seventeenth-Century Music 22, no. 1 (2016; published 2017). https://sscm-jscm.org/jscm-issues/volume-22-no-1/cypess-review/

Rebecca Cypess, Review of Charles E. Brewer, The Instrumental Music of Schmelzer, Biber, Muffat, and their Contemporaries, in the Journal of Seventeenth-Century Music 19, no. 1 (2012; published 2016). http://sscm-jscm.org/jscm-issues/volume-19-no-1/.

Rebecca Cypess, Review of Paul Schleuse, Singing Games in Early Modern Italy: The Music Books of Orazio Vecchi in Music and Letters 97, no. 1 (Feb., 2016): 151–53.

Rebecca Cypess, Review of Susan McClary, ed., Structures of Feeling in Seventeenth-Century Cultural Expression, in H-France Reviews, vol. 15 (2015). http://www.h-france.net/reviews/vol15reviews.html.

Rebecca Cypess, Review of recording by the Carmel Quartet, Paul Ben-Haim: Chamber Music for Strings, in Min-Ad: Israel Studies in Musicology12 (2014). http://www.biu.ac.il/hu/mu/min-ad/

Rebecca Cypess, “An Italian in Dresden.” Review of Aurelio Bianco, Nach englischer und frantzösischer Art: Vie et oeuvre de Carlo Farina avec l’édition des cinq recueils de Dresde, in Early Music 39, no. 3 (Aug., 2011): 417–19.

Rebecca Cypess, Review of Raymond Erickson, ed. The Worlds of Johann Sebastian Bach, in Early Music America 16, no. 2 (summer, 2010): 54­–55.

Rebecca Cypess, Review of Kathleen Berg, “‘The Swiss Orpheus’: An Appraisal of the Life and Music of Ludwig Sennfl (1489/91—1543), in Early Music America 15, no. 3 (fall, 2009): 51.

Rebecca Cypess, Review of Giulia Nuti, The Performance of Italian Basso Continuo, in Early Music America 14, no. 1 (spring, 2008): 61–62.


Encyclopedia Articles

Rebecca Cypess, “Music and Musical Instruments,” in The Springer Encyclopedia of Early Modern Philosophy and Sciences (forthcoming in 2020).

Rebecca Cypess, articles in Encyclopaedia Britannica, posted 2010 and 2012; updated 2015, 2018, and 2019; on Elisabeth-Claude Jacquet de la Guerre, Anastasia Robinson, the Concerto delle donne, Francesca Caccini, Settimia Caccini, Anna Renzi, and Barbara Strozzi.

Rebecca Cypess, “Arnold Dolmetsch,” in Musicians and Composers of the Twentieth Century (Portland: Salem Press, 2009).


Publications for General Readership

Curator, advisor, and contributor to the Women in Art Music (WAM!) website (https://wam.rutgers.edu), which contains student-led video interviews with music researchers working on topics related to the history of women in music.

Rebecca Cypess, “Instrumental Music in Early Seventeenth-Century Italy: Instruments as Vehicles of Discovery,” Open Access Musicology, ed. Daniel Barolsky and Louis Kaiser Epstein. Lever Press, forthcoming in 2020.

Rebecca Cypess, Liner notes for the audio recording In the Salon of Madame Brillon, by the Raritan Players. Acis Productions, forthcoming in 2020.

Rebecca Cypess, “Of Keyboard Duets and Chess: Sympathy and Play in the Enlightenment Salon,” Sounding Board 14 (June, 2020): 4–10.

Rebecca Cypess, Liner notes for the audio recording Sisters, Face to Face: The Bach Legacy in Women’s Hands, by the Raritan Players: Rebecca Cypess, harpsichord, and Yi-heng Yang, fortepiano. Acis Productions, 2019.

Rebecca Cypess and Nancy Sinkoff, “The Creation of Sara Levy’s World,” guest post for the Proofed blog of the University of Rochester Press. https://boydellandbrewer.com/blog/women-and-gender-studies/the-creation-of-sara-levys-world/. July, 2018.

Rebecca Cypess, “Fortepiano-Harpsichord Duos in Two Eighteenth-Century Salons,” in Harpsichord and Fortepiano Magazine (spring, 2018): 20–26.

Rebecca Cypess, “Women and Musical Authorship in the 18th-Century Salon: The Cases of Sara Levy and Anne-Louise Brillon de Jouy,” in EMAg: The Magazine of Early Music America (May, 2018): 26–30.

Rebecca Cypess, “Translation and the Idea(s) of Early Music,” in the online edition of EMAg: The Magazine of Early Music America. https://www.earlymusicamerica.org/web-articles/translation-and-the-ideas-of-early-music/. February, 2018.

Rebecca Cypess, “In Sara Levy’s Salon,” guest post for the Fresh Ideas blog of the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute.  http://blogs.brandeis.edu/freshideasfromhbi/in-sara-levys-salon/?utm_source=New+Blog%3A+Sara+Levy%2C+SIR&utm_campaign=Fresh+Ideas+-+Levy%2C+SIR&utm_medium=email. November, 2017.

Rebecca Cypess, Liner notes for the audio recording In Sara Levy’s Salon, by the Raritan Players and Rebecca Cypess, Acis Productions, 2017.

Rebecca Cypess, Program notes for Accademia Bizantina, all-Vivaldi program. Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center, New York. April, 2016.

Rebecca Cypess, Program notes for two concerts in the cycle of sacred vocal music of J.S. Bach, Trinity Wall Street, New York. Spring, 2016.

Rebecca Cypess, “Silence from the Salon: In Search of Sara Levy.” The Avid Listener, music history blog edited by Andrew Dell’Antonio and Felicia Miyakawa. Published by W.W. Norton. http://www.theavidlistener.com/2015/09/silence-from-the-salon-in-search-of-sara-levy.html. September, 2015.

Nancy Sinkoff and Rebecca Cypess, “Sara Levy’s World.” Musicology Now, the blog of the American Musicological Society. http://musicologynow.ams-net.org/2015/05/sara-levys-world.html. May, 2015.

Rebecca Cypess, Program notes for Anna Caterina Antonacci and Les siècles, “Era la notte.” White Lights Festival, Lincoln Center, New York. December, 2014.

Rebecca Cypess, Notes to accompany the library exhibit and concert series “Georg Frideric Handel: From Library to Stage.” Douglass Library, Rutgers University. 2014.

Rebecca Cypess, “Junking Pianos: Galileo and the Power of Instruments,” in Early Music America (winter, 2012): 62–64.

Rebecca Cypess, Program notes for Hespèrion XXI (led by Jordi Savall), “The Golden Age of Viol Music.” Sanders Theatre, Harvard University (Boston Early Music Festival concert series), October, 2008. Expanded version printed for the Edinburgh International Festival, August, 2009.

Blog Posts


    My current book project is titled “Women and Musical Salons of the Late Eighteenth Century.”

    The web site for the Raritan Players, the period-instrument chamber group that I founded, is at https://www.raritanplayers.org. There you can find information about recent and upcoming performance projects that center especially on women’s performance practices in the eighteenth century.

    With a wonderful team of Aresty Undergraduate Research Fellows, I help to curate a web site that presents specialist research on Women in Art Music (WAM!) to a broad, public audience (https://wam.rutgers.edu).

    Upcoming Talks and Conferences

    I attend the American Musicological Society meeting every year, and I am always happy to meet new people there! I frequently present colloquia and lecture-recitals at other universities.

    Unfortunately, a number of performances in 2020 have been canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The conference The Salon and the Senses in the Long Eighteenth Century, which I am co-organizing with my Rutgers colleague Jennifer Jones, has been postponed to March, 2021.


    American Musicological Society

    Society for Seventeenth-Century Music

    American Bach Society

    Association for Jewish Studies

    Westfield Center for Historical Keyboard Studies


    Rebecca Cypess

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