Jennifer Sheppard is a musicologist with research interests in Opera, and Music in relation to Sport and Fitness

Jennifer Sheppard is a musicologist with research interests in music and culture of the 19th and 20th centuries, and a wide range of teaching experience in both North America and the UK.

Jennifer’s interest in musicology grew out of a background in music performance: as a violist she studied at McGill University and pursued a high level of both orchestral and chamber music performance; she also completed a one-year programme in sound recording technology. These varied interests led to graduate studies in musicology, first at McGill, and then at the University of California, Berkeley, where Jennifer completed her PhD.

Jennifer conducts research on a range of topics. Her first area of expertise is in opera: broadly defined, this specialism encompasses the production, performance and reception of nineteenth and twentieth-century operas. Some of this research has resulted in critically rethinking Leoš Janáček’s late operas, including Káťa Kabanová and The Cunning Little Vixen, through the history of their performance in the Czech Republic. She explores aspects of gesture, voice and performance in opera more generally; recent research interests include the impact of creative ‘habits’ on opera singing, acting and productions, as well as the long history of operas' intersections with pirates and piracy, from John Gay’s Polly to John Adams’ The Death of Klinghoffer. She has presented this research at several conferences, including the annual meetings of the Royal Musical Association and the American Musicological Society, and published articles in the Cambridge Opera Journal and Opera Quarterly.

Jennifer’s second area of research takes the cultural history of music in a new direction by exploring the interrelations between music, health and sports. Her research considers music relationally with social developments, exposing connections between music and discourses of health and fitness; establishing links between music, movement and physical education; and developing themes of physical training, moral health and the popularity of athletic games as contexts for art music’s evocations of sports.

Her teaching at the Academy includes Contexts for Performance, Aural Skills and she also offers an elective in Italian Opera. Previously, Jennifer has taught at the University of Manchester; Royal Holloway, University of London; and King’s College London.

Selected Publications

‘Janáček’s Makropulos and the Case of the Silent Diva’, Opera Quarterly, 25/1-2 (winter-spring 2009): 51-72.

‘How the Vixen Lost its Mores: Gesture and Music in Janáček’s Animal Opera’, Cambridge Opera Journal, 22/2 (July 2010): 147-74.

‘Singing Exercises’, Opera, vol. 63, Festivals issue (Spring 2012): 11-17.

‘Sound of Body: Music, Sports and Health in Victorian Britain’, Journal of the Royal Musical Association, 140/2 (2015), 343-69.