History and Literature



Vanessa L. Rogers

Assistant Professor and Head of Music History, Vanessa Rogers teaches courses in Music History and Literature. Prior to joining the faculty at Rhodes College, Dr. Rogers taught music history at Wabash College and the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.  She also works as Research Associate for the London Stage, 1800-1900 database and is Principal Researcher for Ballad Operas Online: An Electronic Catalogue at the University of Oxford (www.odl.ox.ac.uk/balladoperas/). 

Her primary area of research is eighteenth-century English stage music, and she has written on the subjects of Henry Fielding’s ballad operas, the influence of French musical comedy on eighteenth-century English popular theatre, and iconography and orchestral seating in London theatres in the Georgian era. Current projects include a book on eighteenth-century comic opera (Ballad Operas, Burlettas, and Burlesques: Comic Opera in Eighteenth-Century Britain), a critical edition of Isaac Bickerstaff’s Love in a Village (co-edited with Berta Joncus and Žak Ozmo) and articles on the salon of Violet Gordon-Woodhouse and the cult for Baroque music in early twentieth-century England, a newly-discovered 1870 music inventory of London’s Haymarket Theatre, and the operas of philosopher Roger Scruton.

Dr. Rogers is one of the convenors of the Society for Theatre Research’s upcoming conference, Theatre in the Regency Era: Plays, Performance, Practice 1795-1843, which will be held at Downing College, University of Cambridge, 29-31 July, 2016 (www.regencytheatre2016.com).



John Bass

serves as Program Manager for the Mike Curb Institute for Music and Assistant Professor of Music. In addition to directing the Rhodes Jazz Ensemble and instructing jazz guitar students, Dr. Bass teaches classes on the Music of Africa and African American Music. He has been an active jazz guitarist in the Memphis area for over 10 years and has performed on stage with Bob Berg, Ira Sullivan, Bob Brookmeyer, Pat Bergeson, Mundell Lowe, and Kirk Whalum. He is a founding member of the Bluff City String Project, an acoustic jazz group that focuses on American and European jazz from the 1920s and 1930s.


Dr. Bass holds two degrees in jazz performance from the University of Southern Mississippi (B.M.) and the University of Memphis (M.M.), and a Ph.D. in historical musicology from the University of Memphis. The focus of his doctoral work and scholarship has centered on the improvisatory practices of the late Renaissance and early Baroque periods; he has presented scholarly papers at national and international conferences and his articles have appeared in Early Music and Performance Practice Review. Dr. Bass is also an early music performer on lute, theorbo, and baroque guitar, and appears regularly with local early music ensembles.



Soprano Mona Kreitner

has appeared in solo recitals and chamber music concerts at Rhodes College, the University of Memphis, Christian Brothers University, and Lyon College in Arkansas. She has appeared locally under the auspices of the Rhodes MasterSingers Chorale, Memphis Chamber Music Society, Calvary and the Arts, and the University of Memphis Imagine Festival. Since 2002 she has been the vocal soloist for The Great Western Rocky Mountain Brass Band based in Silverton, Colorado. With them she has performed and recorded arias by Donizetti, Bellini, Puccini, Rossini, Franz Lehar, Johann Strauss, and John Philip Sousa. Her orchestral solo appearances include the Bach Magnificat, Copland Old American Songs, Haydn Creation, Poulenc Gloria, Saint-Saëns Christmas Oratorio, and Barber Prayers of Kirkegaard.

Dr. Kreitner has performed and recorded with the Memphis Chamber Choir and the Memphis Consortium for Early Music. She was the soprano soloist for the Kamran Ince Ensemble in recordings of the composer’s scores for the films Love Under Siege, Sarkici, and Aphrodisiac. She was vocal soloist with Kamran Ince on two international tours to Turkey and Northern Cyprus. Her work may be heard with the Memphis Chamber Choir on the Pro Organo label, and with the Kamran Ince Ensemble on the Raksmusik label.

Dr. Kreitner′s research interests include gender studies in music, 17th-century performance practice, and American music.  Her dissertation, "A Splendid Group of American Girls: The Women Who Sang with the Sousa Band," received the Rudi Scheidt School of Music Graduate Document Award in 2008. She has presented scholarly papers at regional and national meetings of the American Musicological Society and the Society for American Music, and two articles of hers will appear in a forthcoming revised edition of The Grove Dictionary of American Music.

Dr. Kreitner has directed collegiate, church, and community choirs in and around Memphis since 1998; and has commissioned choral works by David Shotsberger, Nancy Hill Cobb, and Rhodes student Rene Orth. She serves on the music advisory panel of the Tennessee Arts Commission.




Francisco Lara

Francisco Lara teaches Music Cultures of the World (MUSC 117) at Rhodes College and also works for the music library at the University of Memphis as a Library Assistant. Dr. Lara is an ethnomusicologist specializing in the musics and cultures of Latin America and the African Diaspora. His research to date encompasses Afro-Ecuadorian bomba, northern Andean Ecuadorian flute traditions and festivals, transnational Ecuadorian musicians, and the Minnesota Committee for New Song. Through his research, Dr. Lara explores the issues of identity and power (i.e., race and racism), globalization, migration and displacement (Diaspora), transnationalism, tradition, and musical change.  In addition, he is also concerned with theory and method in ethnomusicology, World Music pedagogy, and with diversity in arts education at the primary and secondary levels. Dr. Lara is currently active developing his research through conference presentations, invited lectures, and publications.
Dr. Lara holds an M.M. and Ph.D. in musicology (emphasis ethnomusicology) from The Florida State University (2011) as well as a B.M. in music theory from Northwestern University (2001). Prior to teaching at Rhodes College, he taught introductory Spanish courses as well as a class on music and culture at Monmouth College (Monmouth, IL).