School of Humanities and Sciences
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Professor of History
BioMy teaching and research focus on the following areas of interest:
History of print
History of Political Thought
History of Religion and the Reformation
Artist in Residence, Music
BioFor over three decades cellist Christopher Costanza has enjoyed a varied and exciting career as a soloist, chamber musician, and teacher. A winner of the Young Concert Artists International Auditions and a recipient of a prestigious Solo Recitalists Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, Mr. Costanza has performed to wide critical acclaim in nearly every state in the U.S., and in Canada, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Australia, New Zealand, China, Korea, Germany, France, the U.K., Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Romania, and Hungary. His summer festival appearances include the Marlboro, Yellow Barn, Santa Fe, Taos, Chamber Music Northwest, Seattle, Bay Chamber Concerts, Ottawa, and Bravo! Vail Valley festivals. Mr. Costanza is a graduate of the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, where he studied cello with Laurence Lesser, David Wells, and Bernard Greenhouse, and chamber music with Eugene Lehner, Louis Krasner, and Leonard Shure.
Mr. Costanza joined the St. Lawrence String Quartet (SLSQ) in 2003, and tours and records extensively with that ensemble, performing over 100 concerts annually throughout the world. As a member of the SLSQ, he is an Artist in Residence at Stanford University, where he teaches cello and chamber music and performs a wide variety of formal and informal concerts each season, from the stages of the University’s concert halls to student dormitories and lecture halls. A strong proponent of contemporary music, Mr. Costanza works regularly with the world’s most notable composers, such as John Adams, Jonathan Berger, Osvaldo Golijov, Mark Applebaum, Pierre Boulez, George Tsontakis, Roberto Sierra, R. Murray Schafer, William Bolcom, John Corigliano, and Bright Sheng. As a student, he had the honor of studying Olivier Messiaen’s “Quartet for the End of Time” under the guidance of the composer.
Mr. Costanza’s discography includes numerous chamber music and solo recordings on the Nonesuch, EMI/Angel, Naxos, Innova, Albany, Summit, and ArtistShare labels. In 2006, he received a Grammy nomination for his recording of major chamber works for winds and strings by Mozart. Additionally, several St. Lawrence String Quartet recordings on EMI have also been nominated for Juno awards. Mr. Costanza's recordings of the iconic Six Suites for Solo Cello by J.S. Bach, along with his commentary on each suite, can be found on his website, costanzacello.com. In August, 2019, the SLSQ released its latest recording, of all six Op. 20 String Quartets of Haydn, in three formats: CD’s, on-line through streaming platforms, and limited-edition vinyl LP’s.
Mr. Costanza is frequently heard on radio broadcasts worldwide, including the CBC in Canada, NPR in the United States, and on various European broadcasting networks. He is privileged to perform on an early 18th century Venetian cello, part of the Harry R. Lange Collection of Instruments and Bows at Stanford.
In addition to his varied musical interests, Mr. Costanza is an avid long-distance runner and hiker. A self-described train enthusiast, he enjoys riding and exploring the passenger railways of the world. He is fascinated by architecture and seeks out innovative architectural offerings of each city he visits on tour. At home in California, he is passionate about cooking, focusing his attention on new and creative dishes which take advantage of the abundance of remarkable organic local produce. Mr. Costanza's wife, Debra Fong, is a wonderful violinist, and their daughter, Isabella, is a terrific violist currently studying at the Glenn Gould School in Toronto.
Professor of History
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsAfghanistan: A Very Short Introduction (book manuscript co-authored with Wazhmah Osman, under contract with Oxford University Press).
Muslims from the Margins: The Politics of Islam in a Global Age (book manuscript – a history of the politics of Muslim minority communities in Mexico, Ghana, India, Russia, and Northern Ireland)
The Afghan Shia: A Revolutionary Minority (book manuscript)