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Kay Lipton

Description: Kay Lipton

Dr. Kay Lipton is currently a senior lecturer in the School of Music, where she teaches undergraduate and graduate music history and performance related courses, among them Survey of Music Literature, Music History and Analysis, History of Opera, Music of the Classic Period: the Viennese Classical Style, Song Literature, and a series of specially focused Vocal Literature courses (“Mozart’s Songs,” “American Art Song in the Twentieth Century," “The German Song Cycle in the Nineteenth Century,” “From romance to mélodie: French Song between 1840 and 1900”).  Dr. Lipton received a bachelor of music degree from the University of Colorado, the master of arts degree from California State University (Northridge) and the Ph.D. in historical musicology from UCLA.  Before her move to Texas in 2008, Dr. Lipton taught at a number of colleges and universities throughout the southern California area, among them USC, UCLA and California State University. 

As a researcher, Dr. Lipton is best known as an opera historian, with special focus on mid-to-late 18th-century opere buffe performed in Vienna during Mozart’s time.  She focuses on the phenomenon of pasticcio practice in these works, with considerable attention devoted to interactions between singers and composers, and on the multiple performance traditions in these works in Vienna, versus those in contemporary productions in Italy.  Dr. Lipton is particularly concerned with performance practices in this repertory.

Dr. Lipton’s dissertation was the first 20th-century investigation in English of works by Pietro Alessandro Guglielmi, whose mid-to-late 18th-century operas were among the most performed in Italy and Vienna. The author of several articles in the comprehensive The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, most of Dr. Lipton’s articles are devoted to mid-to-late 18th-century composers and singers. Other articles appear in journals and books; these include reviews of scholarly editions of operas and books about opera. Dr. Lipton has previously held a number of editorships, most recently as editor of the semi-annual Mozart Society of America publication, to which she also contributed.  She was previously the musicological editor for the new Purcell edition of King Arthur, in The Works of John Dryden, and she was the assistant editor for Catalogue of Venetian Libretto Collection at the UCLA Music Library. During summer 2004 Dr. Lipton led a Music Study Abroad Program in Vienna, Austria, a uniquely intensive program that included lectures on opera, symphonic and chamber music, presented at the University of Vienna and the Vienna Conservatory of Music. As a former member of the Advisory Board for Opera San Antonio, she is currently the pre-opera lecturer for the company’s mainstage productions. 

During her time in the School of Music at Texas State University, Dr. Lipton has been the recipient of several teaching awards, including those in the School of Music at Texas State University--the Presidential Award for Teaching Excellence (2014)—as well as the Alpha Chi Favorite Professor Award (2014) and the Faculty Mentor of the Year Award (2013).   

Teaching Philosophy

Dr. Lipton’s three-pronged approach to teaching, one that combines performance, history and scholarship, brings a unique perspective to her teaching, which she characterizes as contagiously enthusiastic. Like many of the students whom she encounters in the courses that she teaches, Dr. Lipton began as a performer. Some students are midway through their undergraduate degrees, steeped in learning the mechanics of their instrument or voice, and the idea of "history" represents, at best, a distraction.  Dr. Lipton has found that in both historical and performative courses that when students understand the various contexts in which music “operates,” past and present, they engage with the material in a way that is meaningful to them.

The study of music history is more than an inquiry about music from an historical perspective: it is about the study of the history of cultures and their evolving societies. While historical courses must expose students to basic concepts, and stylistic and formal developments, e.g., composers, genres, forms, styles, musical trends and methods of analyses, such courses must simultaneously show students that music was created in response to the ideals of a particular culture at a given time: how was the music “used,” who consumed it, who composed it, for whom was it composed? As students consider musical works as responses within cultural, intellectual and political contexts, they will also consider them as embodiments of pure musical craft, which they access through analysis, exposure to theoretical writings and aesthetic attitudes.  This type of multivalent approach underscores Dr. Lipton’s firm commitment that music history and performance operate within the same domain