Lifetime Achievement Award for Jessie Ann Owens
Renaissance Society of America
Distinguished Professor of Music, emeritus, Jessie Ann Owens, has been awarded the prestigious Paul Oskar Kristeller Lifetime Achievement Award by the Renaissance Society of America. The board of directors of the society gives the award annually to an individual with “uncompromising devotion to the highest standard of scholarship, accompanied by exceptional achievement in Renaissance studies.”
Owens is best known for her study of compositional process in Renaissance music. Her book Composers at Work: The Craft of Musical Composition 1450–1600 (Oxford University Press, 1997), which received the 1998 ASCAP-Deems Taylor Award, was the first systematic investigation of composers’ autograph manuscripts from before 1600.
Another focus of her scholarship is the music of the Flemish composer Cipriano de Rore. She is currently working on a book about his first collection of madrigals, I madrigali a cinque voci (1542). In 2019 she collaborated with the Boston-based music ensemble Blue Heron on the world premiere recording of the 1542 madrigals. She is also co-editing with John Milsom an edition of Thomas Morley’s A plaine and easie introduction to practicall musicke (1597).
Prior to coming to UC Davis Owens held faculty positions at the Eastman School (University of Rochester) and at Brandeis University, where she also served as Dean of the Faculty. At UC Davis, Owens was Dean of Humanities, Arts, and Cultural Studies in the College of Letters and Science from 2006 to 2014. Noteworthy accomplishments include securing major funding from the Mellon Foundation as well as several capital projects: the Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art and the Ann E. Pitzer Center for music.
Owens is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and honorary member of the American Musicological Society, as well as a former president of both the American Musicological Society and the Renaissance Society of America.