Alison DeSimone Image

Alison DeSimone

Assistant Professor of Musicology

Alison DeSimone specializes in music of the Baroque period, with focuses on the early history of opera and seventeenth- and early eighteenth-century music in London. She cultivates particular interest in the history of opera singers and singing practices of the early modern era, as well as the music of George Frideric Handel. She is currently working on two substantial book projects: the first, a co-edited essay collection on Music, Theatre, and the Benefit Performance in Eighteenth-Century Britain; and the second, her monograph, tentatively entitled The Power of Pastiche: Musical Miscellany and the Creation of Cultural Identity in Early Eighteenth-Century London. This study considers how different types of musical miscellany (including the earliest public concerts, pasticcio operas, published songbooks, compositional styles, and early music criticism) helped the British shape their cultural taste as London grew into a cosmopolitan capital between 1700 and 1720.

Dr. DeSimone holds a Ph.D. in Historical Musicology from the University of Michigan (2013) and a Bachelor of Arts from Vassar College. Her research has been recognized by grants and fellowships from the American Association of University Women, the Institute for the Humanities at the University of Michigan, The Handel Institute of the United Kingdom, and the America Handel Society. She is a 2018 recipient of a University of Missouri Research Board Grant, and was also recognized by the UMKC Friends of the Conservatory in 2017, when she won the Faculty Excellence Award.

Recent publications include “Musical Migration: The European Impact of Corelli’s Op. 6” in A-R Editions Online Anthology series (2017), “Handel’s Greatest Hits: The Composer’s Music in Eighteenth-Century Benefit Concerts” published in the American Handel Society Newsletter (2016), and “Médée et son pouvoir: Music and Dramatic Structure in Marc-Antoine Charpentier’s Médée,” which won the Leland Fox Award from the National Opera Association and was published in The Opera Journal in 2011. This past October, her article “ ‘Equally Charming, Equally Too Great: Female Rivalry, Politics, and Opera in Early Eighteenth-Century London” was published in Early Modern Women: An Interdisciplinary Journal. Dr. DeSimone is also a Research Associate at Nelahozeves Castle in the Czech Republic, where she has helped to catalogue the Lobkowicz family’s collection of musical prints and manuscripts from the turn of the nineteenth century.

At UMKC, Dr. DeSimone teaches the undergraduate history survey course as well as classes in the music of both the Renaissance and Baroque periods, and specialized seminars on gender and music, Handel’s music, and opera history. She is also a harpsichordist, holding particular interest in French and English keyboard repertories of the seventeenth century, as well as Handel’s keyboard music. She studied with Edward Parmentier at the University of Michigan, and has played with early music groups and musicians in Cincinnati, Ann Arbor, and Poughkeepsie, NY. Most recently, she collaborated with the UMKC Opera for their production of Handel’s Rodelinda in spring, 2017.

Dr. DeSimone has taught previously at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, the University of Michigan, and Albion College.