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Marica Tacconi

Distinguished Professor, Musicology and Art History; Associate Director Faculty Development and Research/Creative Activity
Headshot of Penn State Associate Director and Professor of Musicology Marica Tacconi
221 Music Building I

Marica S. Tacconi is a Distinguished Professor of musicology and art history, and associate director of the School of Music. She joined the Penn State faculty in 1998 and teaches undergraduate and graduate music history. A native of central Italy, she is a graduate of the Interlochen Arts Academy and holds a B.A. from Williams College and a Ph.D. in musicology from Yale University.

Tacconi’s interdisciplinary research interests focus on the music, art, and culture of late medieval and early modern Italy. Her scholarly work has been presented at conferences in the United States, Italy, Belgium, Denmark, and England, and has appeared in numerous journals, collections of essays, and exhibition catalogues. She is the author of I Libri del Duomo di Firenze (with Lorenzo Fabbri; Centro Di, 1997) and of Cathedral and Civic Ritual in Late Medieval and Renaissance Florence: The Service Books of Santa Maria del Fiore (Cambridge University Press, 2005).

Tacconi’s research has been supported by several institutions and grant agencies, including the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Robert Lehman Foundation, and the American Musicological Society. In 2002-03, she was a post-doctoral research Fellow at Villa I Tatti, the Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies in Florence, Italy. She returned to Villa I Tatti in 2011 as the Robert Lehman Visiting Research Professor in Residence, where she worked on the scholarly project “The Rhetoric of Echo in the Music of Early Modern Europe, ca. 1575–1660.”

From 2005 to 2010, Tacconi served as director of the Penn State Institute for the Arts and Humanities. In 2008–09, she was selected to participate as a Fellow in the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC) Academic Leadership Program. She was an elected member of the Board of Directors of the Pennsylvania Humanities Council (vice chair; chair, Governance Committee; 2009-15) and has served as the School of Music faculty liaison for the Penn State Center for the Performing Arts’ Classical Music Project.

Tacconi’s dissertation (Liturgy and Chant at the Cathedral of Florence: A Survey of the Pre-Tridentine Sources, Tenth-Sixteenth Centuries; Yale University, 1999) won a 1997–98 AMS 50 Fellowship Award from the American Musicological Society. She is also the recipient of the 2001 Faculty Award for Outstanding Teaching from the College of Arts and Architecture, the 2013 Achieving Women Award (faculty category) from the Penn State Commission for Women, the 2016 President’s Award for Excellence in Academic Integration, and the 2020 Faculty Scholar Medal for Outstanding Achievement(arts & humanities category).

  • Education
    • BA from Williams College
    • PhD from Yale University
  • Courses Taught
    • Musicology
  • Honors + Awards




    • Achieving Women Award (faculty category) from the Penn State Commission for Women


    • Faculty Award for Outstanding Teaching from the College of Arts and Architecture


    • AMS 50 Fellowship Award from the American Musicological Society
  • Publications + Presentations



    • Make a Joyful Noise. Renaissance Art and Music at Florence Cathedral
      Gary M. Radke; With additional essays by Gabriele Giacomelli, Patrick Macey, and Marica S. Tacconi, and a postscript by Timothy Verdon
      Florence Cathedral, familiarly called Il Duomo, is an architectural masterpiece and home to celebrated works of art. The interrelationship between the brilliant art and architecture and the Cathedral’s musical program is explored in depth in this beautiful book. Perhaps the most beloved example is Luca della Robbia’s sculptural program for the organ loft, comprising ten sculptural relief panels that depict children singing, dancing, and making music. Luca’s charming sculptures are examined alongside luxurious illuminated manuscripts commissioned for musical performances. Essays by distinguished scholars provide new insights into the original function and meaning of Luca’s sculptures; organs and organists during the 15th century; the roles played by women and girls‚Äîas well as men and boys‚Äîin making music throughout Renaissance Florence; and the Cathedral’s illuminated choir books.
      Yale University Press
      ISBN: 9780300209181
    • The Routledge Companion to Music and Visual Culture
      ed. by Tim Shephard and Anne Leonard; Marica Tacconi (contributing author)
      As a coherent field of research, the field of music and visual culture has seen rapid growth in recent years.The Routledge Companion to Music and Visual Cultureserves as the first comprehensive reference on the intersection between these two areas of study, an ideal introduction for those coming to the field for the first time as well as a useful source of information for seasoned researchers. This work speaks to the important questions concerning this burgeoning field of research –what are the established approaches to studying musical and visual cultures side by side? What have been the major points of contact between these two areas and what kind of questions can this interdisciplinary research address moving forward? The Routledge Companion to Music and Visual Cultureis an indispensable guide for anyone interested in the field of music and visual culture.


    • Renaissance Studies in Honor of Joseph Connors
      ed. by Machtelt Israëls and Louis A. Waldman; Marica Tacconi (contributing author)
      The 177 essays in these two richly illustrated volumes represent the cutting edge of Italian Renaissance scholarship in nearly every one of its fields and were gathered to honor Joseph Connors, Director of Villa I Tatti from 2002 to 2010. Demonstrating I Tatti’s pivotal role as the world’s leading center for Italian Renaissance studies, the essays cover all the branches of art history, as well as many aspects of political, economic, and social history, literature, and music, from the early Renaissance to the eighteenth century. Appropriately, the volumes also include a selection of contributions devoted to Bernard Berenson and his legacy as both a collector and a scholar. Each of the authors‚Äîa group representing dozens of countries‚Äîwas a Fellow or associate of the Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies during the eight years in which Connors served as Director.
      Harvard University Press
      ISBN 9780674073272


    • Cathedral and Civic Ritual in Late Medieval and Renaissance Florence
      Marica S. Tacconi
      A comprehensive investigation of the sixty-five extant liturgical manuscripts produced between 1150 and 1526 for both Santa Maria del Fiore and its predecessor, the early cathedral of Santa Reparata.
      Cambridge University Press
      ISBN-10: 0521817048
      ISBN-13: 978-0521817042


    • Signs of Change: Transformations of Christian Traditions and Their Representation in the Arts, 1000-2000
      ed. by Nicolas Bell, Claus Clüver, Nils Holger Petersen; Marica Tacconi (contributing author)
      The changing relationships between what gradually emerged as the Arts and Christianity. The book as a whole is addressed to a general academic audience concerned with issues of cultural history, and individual essays are intended as scholarly contributions within their own fields.
      ISBN-10: 9042009993
      ISBN-13: 978-9042009998


  • Expertise
    • Musicology