Professor Rachel Cowgill
Telephone: +44(0)29 208 70926
Fax: +44(0)29 208 74379
Location: 33 Corbett Road (Annexe), Room 1.01
Rachel Cowgill works in the area of cultural musicology, exploring the place, practice and meaning of music in its cultural, historical and political contexts. She has published widely on British music and musical life from the late eighteenth century to the early twentieth century; opera studies; music, conflict and memorialisation; Mozart reception and canon formation; and gender, sexuality and identity in music.
Rachel graduated from Goldsmiths College, University of London, with a first-class BMus (Hons) degree, and completed an MMus (Historical Musicology) and PhD at King’s College, London, where her research focused on the reception of Mozart in late Georgian London. She was appointed to a Chair in Musicology at Cardiff University in 2011, and taught previously at Huddersfield University (1996–2000), the University of Leeds (2000–09) and Liverpool Hope University (2009–11). Rachel became Head of School in August 2013.
Rachel’s research has been funded by the British Academy and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (UK), and she is currently a member of the Leverhulme International Research Network ‘Enchanted Modernities: Theosophy, Modernism and the Arts, c.1875–1960’, led by Sarah V. Turner (Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art and University of York).
Rachel has supervised a number of research degrees to completion, including dissertations on music in Victorian town halls (Dr Rachel Milestone), the composer Henry Rowley Bishop (Dr Ann Royle, AHRC), the audio-engineer in Jamaican popular music (Dr Ray Hitchins), DIY music as queer feminist resistance (Dr Julia Downes, ESRC), tonic sol-fa in nineteenth-century Britain (Sarah Taylor, MPhil), and women, agency and the soundtrack in RKO Radio Picture crime films, 1939–50 (Dr Catherine Haworth). Her current research students are working on opera as adaptation (Jennifer Daniel) and the poetics of the opera libretto (Adam Strickson), both as AHRC-funded embedded researchers at Opera North, and the early British violin sonata (Annika Gray) and string chamber music of Venanzio Rauzzini (Simone Laghi). She would like to hear from potential research/graduate students particularly with interests in opera studies, music and conflict commemoration, and British music and musical cultures.
Rachel appears regularly on TV and radio, and has provided programme notes and/or pre-performance lectures for Glyndebourne Festival Opera, Opera North, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, London Handel Festival, Leeds International Concert Series and the Southbank Centre. She co-edits the book series ‘Music in Britain, 1600–2000’ with Byron Adams and Peter Holman for Boydell & Brewer, and was Editor of the Journal of the Royal Musical Association from 2007 until 2012. Rachel is a Vice-President of the Royal Musical Association, an Associate of Leeds Centre for Victorian Studies, and a member of the North-American British Music Studies Association (NABMSA). She is also a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA), Chair of the National Association for Music in Higher Education (NAMHE), and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in 2012.
In 2012 Rachel was a Visiting Research Fellow at the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH) and Clare Hall, University of Cambridge. She was also a Visiting Research Fellow at the Huntington Library, San Marino, California, in Winter 2012/2013.
Music and the Idea of the North, ed. Rachel Cowgill, Dave Russell and Derek Scott. Farnham: Ashgate, forthcoming for 2014.
The Arts of the Prima Donna in the Long Nineteenth Century, ed. Rachel Cowgill and Hilary Poriss. New York: Oxford University Press, 2012. Publication supported by the Plamenac Endowment of the American Musicological Society. Shortlisted for the Ruth A. Solie Award (AMS) 2013.
Art and Ideology in European Opera: Essays in Honour of Julian Rushton, ed. Rachel Cowgill, David Cooper and Clive Brown. Woodbridge: Boydell & Brewer, 2010.
Music in the British Provinces, 1690–1914, ed. Rachel Cowgill and Peter Holman. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2007.
Victorian Soundscapes Revisited, Leeds Working Papers in Victorian Studies 9, ed. Martin Hewitt and Rachel Cowgill. Leeds: LCVS with LUCEM, 2007.
Europe, Empire, and Spectacle in Nineteenth-Century British Music, ed. Rachel Cowgill and Julian Rushton. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2006.
Book Chapters, Journal Articles and Published Papers (selected)
‘Mozart, Crotch and the Construction of Musical Prodigies in late Georgian London’. In Musical Prodigies: Interpretations from Psychology, Music Education, Musicology, and Ethnomusicology, ed. Gary E. McPherson. New York: Oxford University Press, in preparation.
‘“How shall we get rid of him?” Burlesquing the Don on the Early Nineteenth-Century London Stage’. In Mozart Studies 2, ed. Simon Keefe. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, in preparation.
‘“Discovering” North: Postcards from the Edge’. In Music and the Idea of the North, ed. Rachel Cowgill, Dave Russell and Derek Scott. Farnham: Ashgate, forthcoming for 2014. Also Editors’ Introduction (with Dave Russell and Derek Scott).
‘Performance Alfresco: Music-Making in London’s Pleasure Gardens’. In The Pleasure Garden, from Vauxhall to Coney Island, ed. Jonathan Conlin. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2012. 100-126.
‘“Attitudes with a Shawl”: Femininity, Performance, and Spectatorship at the Italian Opera in Early Nineteenth-Century London’. In The Arts of the Prima Donna in the Long Nineteenth Century, ed. Rachel Cowgill and Hilary Poriss. New York: OUP, 2012. 217-51. Also Editors’ Introduction (with Hilary Poriss). xxvii-xlvi.
‘On the Beat: The Victorian Policeman as Musician’. In Music and Institutions in Nineteenth-Century Britain, ed. Paul Rodmell. Farnham: Ashgate, 2012. 221-46. Earlier version published in Victorian Soundscapes Revisited, Leeds Working Papers in Victorian Studies 9, ed. Martin Hewitt and Rachel Cowgill. Leeds: LCVS with LUCEM, 2007. 191–214.
‘Canonizing Remembrance: Music for Armistice Day at the BBC, 1922–7’. First World War Studies 2, no. 1 (Special Issue: Music and Literature) (2011), 75–107.
‘New Light and the Man of Might: Revisiting Early Interpretations of Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte’. In Art and Ideology in European Opera: Essays in Honour of Julian Rushton, ed. Rachel Cowgill, David Cooper and Clive Brown. Woodbridge: Boydell & Brewer, 2010. 194–221. Also Editors’ Prologue (with David Cooper and Clive Brown) and bibliography of Julian Rushton’s works. 1–10 and 385–91.
‘Of Science and Nature: Mozart Versus the Modern Bel Canto in Early Nineteenth-Century London’. In Mozart, Marcos Portugal e o seu tempo [and their time], ed. David Cranmer. Lisbon: CESEM, 2010. 35–51 and 197–280 (Appendix: ‘Performances and Critical Reception of Productions of Operas by Marcos António Portugal and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in London, up to the end of 1817’).
‘Germondo and Vittorina: Genre and Politics in the London Reception of Goldoni’s Libretti in the 1770s’, as ‘Germondo e Vittorina: genere, politiche teatrali e ricezione dei libretti di Goldoni nella Londra del 1770’, trans. Marta Zoppetti. Problemi di Critica Goldoniana 14 (Numero Speciale: Terzo centenario della nascita di Carlo Goldoni e Secondo centenario della morte di Carlo Gozzi) (2007; pub. 2009), 231–65.
With Gabriella Dideriksen, ‘Opera Orchestras in Georgian and Early Victorian London’. In The Opera Orchestra in 18th- and 19th-century Europe. Vol. I: The Orchestra in Society, 2 vols, ed. N.M. Jensen and F. Piperno, Musical Life in Europe, 1600–1900: Circulation, Institutions, Representation. Berlin: Berliner Wissenschafts-Verlag, 2008. 259–321.
‘“Such scientific and profound harmonies”: The Italian Opera Orchestra and Early Performances of Mozart’s Don Giovanni in London’. In The Opera Orchestra in 18th- and 19th-century Europe. Vol. II: The Orchestra in the Theatre—Composers, Works, and Performance, ed. N.M. Jensen and F. Piperno, Musical Life in Europe 1600–1900: Circulation, Institutions, Representation. Berlin: Berliner Wissenschafts-Verlag, 2008. 1–20.
‘Elgar’s War Requiem’. In Elgar and His World, ed. Byron Adams. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2007. 317–62.
‘Disputing Choruses in 1760s Halifax: Joah Bates, William Herschel, and the Messiah Club’. In Music in the British Provinces, 1690–1914, ed. Rachel Cowgill and Peter Holman. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2007. 87–113. Also Editors’ Introduction (with Peter Holman). 1–7.
‘“Hence, base intruder, hence”: Rejection and Assimilation in the Early English Reception of Mozart’s Requiem’. In Europe, Empire, and Spectacle in Nineteenth-Century British Music, ed. Rachel Cowgill and Julian Rushton. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2006). 9–30. Also, Editors’ Introduction (with Julian Rushton), 1–5.
‘Mozart Productions and the Emergence of Werktreue at London’s Italian Opera House, 1780–1830’. In Operatic Migrations: Transforming Works and Crossing Boundaries, ed. Roberta Montemorra Marvin and Downing Thomas. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2006. 145–86. Volume shortlisted for the American Musicological Society’s Ruth A. Solie Award 2007.
‘An Unknown Handel Arrangement by Mozart?: The Halifax Judas’. Musical Times 143 (2002), 19–36.
‘“Wise Men from the East”: Mozart’s Operas and Their Advocates in Early Nineteenth-Century London’. In Music and British Culture, 1785–1914: Essays in Honour of Cyril Ehrlich, ed. Christina Bashford and Leanne Langley. Oxford: OUP, 2000. 39–64.
‘The Papers of C.I. Latrobe: New Light on Musicians, Music, and the Christian Family in Late Eighteenth-Century England’. In Music in Eighteenth-Century Britain, ed. David Wyn Jones. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2000. 234–58.
‘“The most musical spot for its size in the kingdom”: Music in Georgian Halifax’. Early Music 28 (2000), 557–75.
‘The London Apollonicon Recitals, 1817–32: A Case Study in Bach, Mozart, and Haydn Reception’. Journal of the Royal Musical Association 123 (1998), 190–228.
‘Re-Gendering the Libertine; Or, The Taming of the Rake: Lucy Vestris as Don Giovanni on the Early Nineteenth-Century London Stage’. Cambridge Opera Journal 10 (1998), 45–66.
With members of the Enchanted Modernities Leverhulme International Research Network:
Pioneering Spirit: Maud MacCarthy - Music, Mysticism and Modernity, Borthwick Institute for Archives, University of York, 7 February - 9 May 2014 (also online)
West Coast Mysticism, Nora Eccles Harrison Museum, Utah State University, USA, 16 April - 10 December 2014
Rachel has contributed entries to Grove Music Online, The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, ed. H.C.G Matthew and Brian Harrison (Oxford: OUP, 2004), The Routledge International Encyclopaedia of Queer Culture, ed. David A. Gerstner (London: Routledge, 2006), Oxford Composer Companions: Haydn, ed. David Wyn Jones (Oxford: OUP, 2002), The Reader’s Guide to Music: History, Theory, Criticism, ed. Murray Steib (Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn, 2000), and An Oxford Companion to the Romantic Age: British Culture 1776–1832, ed. Iain McCalman (Oxford: OUP, 1999). She has also reviewed books for Early Music.
Rachel Cowgill is currently at work on a monograph focusing on musical representations of the First World War soldier in British culture for Boydell & Brewer. She has two further book projects in progress: the first (The Rise and Fall of the Metropolitan Police Minstrels) is the history of an amateur blackface minstrel troupe active in London from 1872 to 1933; the second (Redeeming the Requiem: The English Reception of Mozart’s Last Work) explores changing attitudes in Britain towards Mozart’s Requiem, the myths that developed around the work, and its significance in the Victorians’ ‘idea’ of Mozart. She is also co-editing two collections of essays: Mediating Memory: Artistic Responses to European Conflict in the Twentieth Century, with Terry Phillips, Christopher Scheer and Guy Tourlamain, and Britain Beyond England: Non-English Identities in Nineteenth-Century British Music, with Aidan Thomson and Rachel Milestone, for which she is contributing the chapter ‘Borderland Views of the British Musical Renaissance: The Cultural Politics of the English Eisteddfod’.
Research Papers, Public Lectures and Performances
Keynote lectures (this academic year)
- Opening keynote, The Music of War: 1914-1918, British Library, 29–31 August 2014.
- Respondent to Music session, Internationalism and the Arts: Imagining the Cosmopolis at the Long fin de siècle, Tate Britain, September 2013.
- tbc, Durham University Guest Lecture Series (Music), 24 June 2014.
- tbc, Faculty of Music Colloquium, Cambridge University, 14 May 2014.
- ‘Doing the Right Thing for Fighting Men: Music, Morale and the Military at Ciro’s Club, London's West End, 1915-19’, International Association of Music Libraries, Archives and Documentation Centres, ASW, Cambridge, 13 April 2014; Royal Academy of Music, closing talk for ‘War Music’ exhibition, 2015.
Forthcoming conference papers
- ‘Music and Film in Commemorative Television: Experiments in Broadcasting for Armistice Day at the BBC in the Late 1930s’, All Quiet? Film Music and the First World War, 9th Symposium on Film Music Studies, Humboldt University with Kieler Gesellschaft zur Filmmusikforschung, Berlin, 25-27 July 2014.
- ‘Somewhere in France’: Popular Song, Innocence and Experience among British Troops at the Western Front’, Languages and the First World War, British Library & University of Antwerp, 18-20 June 2014.
Recent (by theme)
1. Music and the First World War Soldier in Britain
‘Music, Morale and the Military Body in London’s West End Nightclubs’: International Conference on Music Since 1900, Liverpool Hope University, 12–15 September 2013; and RMA Annual Conference 2013, 19–21 September 2013. Also forthcoming for International Association of Music Libraries, Archives, and Documentation Centres, ASW 2014, April 2014, and as closing seminar for the War Music exhibition, Royal Academy of Music, London, March 2015.
'Doing the Right Thing for Fighting Men: Music, Morale and the Military in West End Night Clubs, 1914–19': Birmingham Conservatoire, 20 November 2012, and Bristol University Music Research Seminar, 6 November 2012.
‘Filling the Void: Theosophy, Modernity, and the Rituals of Armistice Day in the Reception of John Foulds’s A World Requiem’: Research Seminar, Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, 17 April 2012; Annual Meeting of the American Musicological Society, San Francisco, US, November 2011; Colloquium, Enchanting Modernity: Theosophy and the Arts in the Making of Early Twentieth-Century Culture, Liverpool Hope University, 3 December 2010.
‘Canonizing Remembrance: Music for Armistice Day on the BBC in the mid 1920s’: Dept of Music Research Seminar, University of Southampton, 23 November 2010; Colloquium, Conflict, Memory and Memorialisation: War and European Culture in the Twentieth Century, Liverpool Hope University, 17 July 2010
‘Britten and the Culture of Remembrance’: Britten in Context, Liverpool Hope University, 10–12 June 2010.
2. Rethinking Musical Modernism in early Twentieth-Century British Culture
With Karen Arrandale, ‘Institutionalising Alternatives: Arthur Eaglefield Hull, E.J. Dent, and the Promotion of Internationalist Musical Modernism in Post-First World War Britain’: Alternative Modernisms, Cardiff University, 16 May 2013, and Internationalism and the Arts: Imagining the Cosmopolis at the fin de siècle, Tate Britain, 5–6 September 2013.
With Karen Arrandale, ‘La Musique sans Frontières: Arthur Eaglefield Hull, Edward J. Dent and the Reconstruction of Music in Post WWI Britain’: Expressions of Britishness: Music and the Arts in the Twentieth Century, Institute of Musical Research, University of London, 13 January 2013.
3. Collective Performance and Negotiated Identities in Nineteenth-Century British Music
‘Borderland Views of the British Musical Renaissance: The Cultural Politics of the English Eisteddfod’: International Association of Music Libraries, Archives, and Documentation Centres, ASW 2012, Cardiff University, 16 April 2012; John Bird Seminar, School of Music, Cardiff University, 13 December 2011; Seminar: ‘Directions in Musical Research’, Institute of Musical Research, University of London, 20 October 2011.
‘Borderland Views of the British Musical Renaissance: The Invention and Reinvention of the Workington Eisteddfod’: Eighth International Biennial Conference on Music Since 1900, Queen's University, Belfast, 21–24 July 2011.
‘“Woman’s Work (Music)”: Mary Wakefield and the Competitive Music Festival in Britain’: Oxford University History Faculty/Elgar Society Seminar: English Musical Vernaculars, 1850–1950, 28 October 2011.
‘The Rise and Fall of the Metropolitan Police Minstrels’: American Musicological Society Annual Meeting, Philadelphia, US, 13 November 2009.
4. Gender and Adaptation in Nineteenth-Century British Productions of Mozart
‘“How Shall We Get Rid of Him?”: Burlesquing Don Giovanni on the Early Nineteenth-Century London Stage’, Canterbury Research Seminars in Music, Canterbury Christ Church University, 31 January 2013.
‘Burlesquing the Don on the Early Nineteenth-Century London Stage’: Love to Death: Transforming Opera (incorporating the RMA Annual Conference 2012), School of Music, Cardiff University, 31 May – 3 June 2012; Don Juan: An Interdisciplinary Symposium, Open University Literature and Music Research Group, Institute of Musical Research, 23 September 2011.
‘New Light and the Man of Might: Revisiting Early Interpretations of Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte’: After The Magic Flute, University of California, Berkeley, US, 5–7 March 2010.
‘Crime and Punishment in Don Giovanni’: Lecture for Study Day on Jonathan Kent’s production of Don Giovanni, Glyndebourne Festival Opera, 4 July 2010.
5. Opera and Femininities
‘Women in Opera’, presentation for Queens, Heroines and Ladykillers: Celebrating Women in Music and Opera, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment Study Day, Purcell Room, Southbank Centre, 2 December 2012.
‘The Painter and the Nightingale: Discerning the Diva in Late Georgian Portraits of Female Opera Singers’: The Diva: An Interdisciplinary Conference, Liverpool Hope University, 5–8 July 2011.
‘“Une leçon de grace”: Performance, Femininity and Spectatorship at the Italian Opera in Early Nineteenth-century London’: Femininities: 10th Annual Cultural History conference, York University. 22–25 April 2010.
6. Postgraduate Research Training Seminars
‘Reaching Your Public: From Viva to Publication‘: Institute of Musical Research (SAS, University of London), postgraduate research-training session, 21 March and 24 October 2011, 22 October 2012.
‘Preparing for Publication’, RMA Research Students Conference, Hull University, 6 January 2012.