Mary Lucia Darst, DPhil, lives between Kentucky, USA, and Oxford, England. She holds a DPhil (PhD) in Music from the University of Oxford and is a member of St Hilda’s College. For her research on musical networks in the eighteenth century, she has won the Laura Bassi Scholarship prize. A student of Suzanne Aspden, Mary Lucia’s other notable mentors include classical historian, poet, and librettist Charles Anthony “Tony” Silvestri (The Pastry Prince, Sleep) and Dr. Eric Foner (Columbia University). Mary Lucia is currently a writer for the Austrian Economics Center and for the digital publication Notes on Liberty.

Mary Lucia holds an MA from Columbia University in History and Literature. While at Columbia, she studied in France at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales and at the École normale supérieure. She has a working knowledge of twelve languages.

She also has her own publication, Oxford Dawn, on Substack. For Oxford Dawn, she received a full scholarship to the CUNY-Newmark School of Journalism’s 2023 Entrepreneurial Journalism Creators Program. In addition to working as a researcher and writer, Mary Lucia is a filmmaker and an active classical musician and opera director. In 2023, she was Distinguished Fellow with the Richmond International Film Festival and the Richmond Arts Institute.

With Eric Foner of Columbia University

Longer biography below

As a filmmaker, Mary Lucia worked for the Moving Picture Institute (MPI) as an intern (research capacity, Smock Media). She also worked as Production Coordinator for MPI’s short film Moving Violation.Since then, she has returned to MPI three separate times as a fellow for their screenwriting, cinematography, and editing workshops.

At Oxford, she was technical officer and then vice-president of the Oxford University Filmmaking Foundation (OUFF), the university’s filmmaking arm, directing her own work and producing films for other members of the university. She participated in the London Film School (LFS)’s Directors’ Workshop with Udayan Prasad in summer 2022. For participating in the LFS workshop, she also received the Cameron Mackintosh Drama Fund grant, an award to fund the development of Oxford University students in the dramatic arts.

Mary Lucia produces short showcase films for classical artists and is in pre-production on a project with Michael Altman and Danny Darst. Mary Lucia is a 2023 Distinguished Fellow with the Richmond International Film Festival (RIFF) and the RIFF Arts Institute (RAI) in Richmond, VA.

Raised in a musical family, Mary Lucia studied the violin for ten years before officially switching to viola. She has served as Principal Viola for the Washburn University Orchestra, performed in viola masterclasses and chamber ensembles, and was a guest musician with the Piccadilly Symphony. As an orchestral fellow, she served as Music Librarian for the International Conductors’ Festival and participated in outreach programs that brought classical music concerts to the central Kentucky area. In summer 2021, Mary Lucia was assistant director for the Berlin Opera Academy’s productions of Gianni Schicchi and Suor Angelica.

Along with her sister, Mary Lucia is co-owner of Mythoi Music, an American music and film consultancy and publishing company.

As a writer and researcher, Mary Lucia has interned and worked for notable think tanks in Washington, DC, and Vienna, Austria, including the First Amendment Partnership (an organization that specializes in issues regarding free speech), Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, and Austrian Economics Center. Mary Lucia has also been published in online forums including articles for The Market for Ideas and Values4Europe, as well as reprinted in RealClearEducation.

Matriculation at Oxford University

A triple major during her undergraduate studies, Mary Lucia graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Music in Viola Performance and a dual Bachelor of Arts in History and French. She went on to study at Columbia University, where she spent a year at Reid Hall in Paris and as a visiting student at the École normale supérieure and the École des hautes études en sciences sociales. After graduating with an MA in History and Literature from Columbia, she continued to University of Oxford, where her research specialties include the economics of music and historical dramaturgy.

Mary Lucia has studied German at the Goethe Institut, Italian at the Middlebury School of Languages, and both languages at the Oxford University Language Centre. An avid polyglot, Mary Lucia is fluent in French, German, Italian, Latin, and Greek. She is currently studying Japanese, Mandarin, and Russian at the Oxford University Language Centre, Korean at the School of Oriental Studies (SOAS) in London, and Hungarian and Vietnamese privately.

Mary Lucia is a member of the Royal Musical Association, Broadcast Music Incorporated (BMI), the American Musicological Society (AMS), the American Society for Eighteenth Century Studies (ASECS), and the Society for Global Nineteenth Century Studies (SGNCS). She presented her research at the 2023 ASECS annual conference, and the SGNCS first international congress in Singapore.

She is a life member of the Oxford Union and the Oxford Hayek Society. She was Captain of the Oxford University Pistol Club (OUPC) in 2021 – 2022 and is an active member of the Oxford University Society of Bibliophiles and the Oxford University Photographic Society. She trained in classical and historical fencing at the Linacre School of Defence in Oxford.

Historical and classical fencing training at the Linacre School of Defence in Oxford

Born in Hanoi, Vietnam, Mary Lucia was adopted and raised in Kentucky alongside her older brother and younger sister (Korean and Chinese adoptees respectively). The daughter of Actor-Composer, Danny Darst (Silence of the Lambs, Cookie’s Fortune, Short Cuts), Mary Lucia and her siblings were homeschooled in order to cultivate their individual academic interests and musical pursuits. Mary Lucia frequently collaborates in chamber concerts with her younger sister. As a teenager, Mary Lucia appeared with her siblings in the biographical documentary, American Songwriter, produced by Michael Altman and Danny Darst and winner of four Best Film awards at US film festivals.

Mary Lucia has an avid interest in technology and technological development. In addition to exploring the history of technology, she has researched extensively on social and philosophical issues surrounding technology for think tanks.

She is founder and co-owner of Mythoi, a startup specializing in integrating Web3 technologies into the arts. Mythoi is a spin-off of Mythoi Music, the music publishing and film consultancy company Mary Lucia owns with her sister Natalie Darst Xia.

With FCC Chairman (2017 – 2021) Ajit Pai at the Oxford Union to discuss the digital divide.

In her spare time, Mary Lucia actively enjoys pursuing her love of attending opera performances, travelling, reading and book collecting, spoiling her cats and dog Schatzi and is always in search of the perfect cup of coffee.