Mark A. Pottinger is an Associate Professor of Musicology and Chair of the Music and Theater Department at Manhattan College in New York City, a department he founded in 2019, which hosts programs in dance, music performance, acting, music theory, musicology, theater history, and (as of Fall 2020) sound studies. He received a B.A., cum laude in music from Washington University in St. Louis, a Master of Music degree from the University of Leeds (UK), and a M.Phil. and Ph.D. from the CUNY Graduate Center.
Winner of the prestigious Berlin Prize from the American Academy in Berlin in 2017, Pottinger is the author of a number of publications on the music and cultural life of nineteenth-century Europe and the contemporary listening environment, including his forthcoming article “Lucia and the Auscultation of Disease in Mid-Nineteenth-Century France” (Nineteenth-Century Music Review, CUP, Fall 2020) and the recent book chapter “French Music Criticism, 1789-1870” for The Cambridge History of Music Criticism, ed. Christopher Dingle (CUP, 2019). Recent research in the area of acoustics and the built environment include his forthcoming article “Concert Hall Acoustics and the Sounding Heritage of the Inter-war Period in America" (Change Over Time, UPP, Winter 2020).
His current book project, Science and the Romantic Vision in Early Nineteenth-Century Opera, examines the natural sciences in the early nineteenth century and their relationship to the sound and look of nature in three of the most popular European romantic operas in the first half of the nineteenth century, namely Carl Maria von Weber’s Der Freischütz(1821), Giacomo Meyerbeer’s Robert le diable (1831), and Gaetano Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor (1835). With the examination of three separate operas from three separate European operatic traditions we see it is when opera seeks to define the unknown, the unseen, and the unheard in nature (i.e., the supernatural) that it must do so by looking to the cosmopolitan world of science, which sought to materialize the inner world of nature in order to advance industry and the general health of society, a so-called ‘romantic vision’.