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Curtis, Alan (Stanley)locked

  • Philip Brett

(b Mason, MI, Nov 17, 1934; d Florence, July 15, 2015). American musicologist, harpsichordist, and conductor. He took the BMus at Michigan State University in 1955, and the MMus at the University of Illinois the following year. From 1957 to 1959 he studied in Amsterdam under Gustav Leonhardt, returning to the University of Illinois for the PhD degree, which he gained in 1963 with a dissertation on Sweelinck’s keyboard works. In 1960 he joined the University of California at Berkeley as an instructor; he became an assistant professor in 1962, associate professor in 1966, and professor in 1970. His scholarly work concentrated on keyboard music and opera and included several editions (including one of Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea) and a book on Sweelinck. In addition to his work as a scholar, he built up a considerable reputation as a harpsichordist and conductor in the USA and Europe, specializing in the authentic interpretation of the music of the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries. He made his La Scala début conducting Ariodante, in 1980, and in 1982 gave the modern première of Jommelli’s La schiava liberata with the Netherlands Opera. In 1984 he conducted Gluck’s Armide in the restored Bibiena theatre in Bologna. Other notable operatic performances include Cimarosa’s Gli Orazi ed í Curiazi (1989, Rome) and Handel’s Floridante (1990, Toronto). In 1998 he conducted the first modern staging of Francesca Caccini’s La liberazione di Ruggiero dell’ isola d’Alcina in Prato. Among his more important recordings are performances of Monteverdi’s Poppea, Cavalli’s Erismena, Stradella’s La Susanna, Traetta’s Buovo d’Antona, Handel’s Admeto and Rodrigo, and keyboard works by François Couperin and J.S. and C.P.E. Bach.


  • ‘L’opera cembalo-organistica di Tarquinio Merula’, L’organo, 1 (1960), 141–51
  • ‘Dutch Harpsichord Makers’, TVNM, 19/1–2 (1960–61), 44–66
  • ‘Henderick Speuy and the Earliest Printed Dutch Keyboard Music’, TVNM, 19/3–4 (1962–3), 143–62
  • Review of J.-P. Rameau : Pièces de clavecin en concerts, ed. E. Jacobi (Kassel, 1961); JAMS, 16 (1963), 95
  • Sweelinck’s Keyboard Works: a Study of English Elements in Dutch Secular Music of the ‘Gouden Eeuw’ (diss., U. of Illinois, 1963)
  • Review of C.C. Vlam and M.A. Vente, eds.: Bouwstenen voor een geschiedenis der toonkunst in der Nederlanden, 1 (Amsterdam, 1965); JAMS, 1 (1968), 388–91
  • ‘Josquin and La Belle Tricotée’, Essays in Musicology in Honor of Dragan Plamenac, ed. G. Reese and R.J. Snow (Pittsburgh, 1969/R), 1–8
  • Sweelinck’s Keyboard Music: a Study of English Elements in Seventeenth-Century Dutch Composition (Leiden and London, 1969, 3/1987)
  • ‘La musique classique française à Berkeley: pièces inédites de Louis Couperin, Lebègue, La Barre, etc.’, RdM, 56 (1970), 123–64
  • ‘La Poppea impasticciata, or Who Wrote the Music to L’incoronazione (1643)?’, JAMS, 42 (1989), 34–54
  • Nederlandse klaviermuziek uit de 16e en 17e eeuw, MMN, 3 (1961)
  • Tarquinio Merula: Composizioni per organo e cembalo, MMI, 1/1 (1961)
  • L’incoronazione di Poppea (London, 1989)
Journal of the American Musicological Society
Tijdschrift van de Vereniging voor Nederlandse muziekgeschiedenis [and earlier variants]
Revue de musicologie