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Professor Robin Stowell


Robin Stowell Position: Professor Email:
Telephone: +44(0)29 208 74171
Fax: +44(0)29 208 74379
Extension: 74171
Location: 33 Corbett Road (Annexe), Room 1.04

Professor Stowell was educated at the University of Cambridge (MA, PhD) and at the Royal Academy of Music, London (Recital Diploma, Marjorie Hayward Prize). He made his London solo debut as a violinist at the Purcell Room in 1974 and has performed throughout the UK as a soloist and chamber musician. He was also, for many years, a member of The Academy of Ancient Music, The English Concert and other period-instrument ensembles. In addition, he has participated in numerous radio and television broadcasts, as well as commercial recordings (Decca/L’Oiseau Lyre). Professor Stowell came to Cardiff as Lecturer in Music in 1976, becoming Senior Lecturer in 1984 and Professor in 1988, Acting Head of School (1994–96 and 1999) and Head of School (2000–2008). He was appointed an ARAM in 1990 and a Fellow of the Learned Society of Wales in 2012.

Professor Stowell has served as an assessor and consultant both within the university and conservatoire sectors and also for the HEFCE, the WJEC and grant-awarding bodies such as the AHRC (Music Review Panel, 2005), British Academy and Leverhulme Trust. He has also been a consultant to the NYO of Great Britain and has been a jury member for various competitions, including BBC Young Musician, Live Music Now and Young Musician of the Gulf (Bahrain). He has been a performance adviser for several ‘period’ ensembles and has participated in the outreach work of The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, the English Symphony Orchestra and the Welsh Sinfonia. He is co-editor of the Cambridge Handbooks to the Historical Performance of Music, a regular assessor for major publishing houses and journals, and a member of both the Advisory Committee for the publication of the Complete Works of Francesco Geminiani, and the Research-Editorial Council for the Henryk Wieniawski Collected Edition. He participated as co-investigator in a collaborative AHRC-funded project entitled ‘Nineteenth- and early twentieth-century annotated editions of string music: bibliographical problems, editorial content and implications for performance practice’ with the School of Music, University of Leeds (2008–12). From 2010, he has served as mentor to Claire Holden, AHRC Fellow in the Performing and Creative Arts. In 2004, he established the Centre for Research in Historically Informed Performance (CRHIP), of which he is director.




Stowell, Robin and with Colin Lawson (eds), The Cambridge History of Musical Performance (Cambridge: CUP, 2012)

(ed.) The Cambridge Companion to the String Quartet (Cambridge: CUP, 2003)

The Early Violin and Viola (Cambridge: CUP, 2001)

(ed.) The Cambridge Companion to the Cello (Cambridge: CUP, 1999; Chinese trans., Beijing: People’s Music Publishing House, 2008)

(ed.) The Violin Book (London and San Francisco: Outline Press and Miller Freeman, 1999)

(With Colin Lawson) The Historical Performance of Music: An Introduction (Cambridge: CUP, 1999; Spanish trans., Madrid: Alianza Editorial, 2005)

Beethoven: Violin Concerto (Cambridge: CUP, 1998)

(ed.) Performing Beethoven (Cambridge: CUP, 1994)

(ed.) The Cambridge Companion to the Violin (Cambridge: CUP, 1992; Chinese trans., Taipei: Mercury Publishing House, 1996)

Violin Technique and Performance Practice in the Late Eighteenth and Early Nineteenth Centuries (Cambridge: CUP, 1985)

Book Chapters, Journal Articles and Published Papers

‘The contribution of Geminiani’s “The art of playing on the violin” to “The improved state of the violin in England”’, in Christopher Hogwood (ed.), Geminiani Studies, Ad Parnassum Studies (Bologna: Ut Orpheus Edizioni, 2013), 257–300

‘Mozart’s “Viennese” Sonatas for Keyboard and Violin according to Ferdinand David: A survey of editorial and violin performance practices’, in Martin Harlow (ed.),  Mozart's Chamber Music with Keyboard (Cambridge: CUP, 2012), 69–103

‘Case Study: Richard Wagner, Tristan and Isolde’, in Colin Lawson and Robin Stowell (eds), The Cambridge History of Musical Performance (Cambridge: CUP, 2012), 696–722

(With Colin Lawson) ‘The Future?’ in Colin Lawson and Robin Stowell (eds), The Cambridge History of Musical Performance (Cambridge: CUP, 2012), 817–33

‘The Evidence’, in Colin Lawson and Robin Stowell (eds), The Cambridge History of Musical Performance (Cambridge: CUP, 2012), 63–104

‘Fantasising on Fault’, in M. Jablonski and D. Jasinka (eds), Henryk Wieniawski and the Bravura Tradition (Poznan: Henryk Wieniawski Musical Society, 2011), 23–45

‘Henryk Wieniawski (1835–80): the “true successor” of Nicolo Paganini? A comparative assessment of the two virtuosos with special references to their etudes/caprices’, in C. Bacciagaluppi, Roman Brotbeck and Anselm Gerhard (eds), Spielpraxis der Saiteninstrumente in der Romantik (Schliengen: Edition Argus, 2011), 70–90

‘Semblanzas de Compositores Espanoles: Pablo de Sarasate (1844–1908)’, Revista de la Fundacion Juan March, 401 (2011), 2–7

‘The Diabolus in Musica and Paganini Redivivus phenomena, with some thoughts on their relevance to the “German Paganini”’, in A. Barizza and F. Morabito (eds), Nicolo Paganini: Diabolus in Musica (Turnhout: Brepols, 2010), 3–22

‘Henryk Wieniawski (1835-80): Polish, French, Franco-Belgian, German, Russian, Italian or Hungarian?’, in M. Jablonski and D. Jasinska (eds), Henryk Wieniawski and the 19th-Century Violin Schools (Poznan: Rhytmos Publishing House, 2006), 9–28

‘The Viotti School of Violin Playing – Style and Influence’, in Massimiliano Sala (ed.), Giovanni Battista Viotti: A Composer Between the Two Revolutions (Bologna: Ut Orpheus Edizioni, 2006), 219–49

‘Performance Practice in the Eighteenth-Century Concerto’, in Simon P. Keefe (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to the Concerto (Cambridge: CUP, 2005), 192–226

‘Developments in Instruments, Bows and Accessories’, ‘Extending the Technical and Expressive Frontiers’ and ‘Traditional and Progressive Nineteenth-Century Trends: France, Italy, Great Britain and America’, in Robin Stowell (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to the String Quartet (Cambridge: CUP, 2003), 19–37, 149–74 and 250–65

‘Strings’, in Anthony Burton (ed.), A Performer's Guide to Music of the Romantic Period (London: ABRSM, 2002), 45–55

‘Viotti’s “London” Concertos (Nos. 20-29): Progressive or Retrospective?’, in David Wyn Jones (ed.), Music in Eighteenth-Century England (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2000), 282–98

‘Breaking with Tradition’, ‘Violin Teaching in History’, ‘Performers of the Romantic Period’ and ‘Violin Music of the 20th Century’, in Robin Stowell (ed.), The Violin Book (London; San Francisco: Outline Press and Miller Freeman, 1999), 40–1, 64–7, 80–5 and 110–17

‘The Sonata’, ‘Other Solo Repertory’ and (with David Wyn Jones) ‘The Concerto’, in Robin Stowell (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to the Cello (Cambridge: CUP, 1999), 116–36, 137–59 and 92–115

‘Paganini, the Violin Virtuoso in excelsis?’, Basler Jahrbuch für Historische Musikpraxis, 20 (1996), 73–93

‘The Violin Concerto op.61: Text and Editions’, in Robin Stowell (ed.), Performing Beethoven (Cambridge: CUP, 1994), 150–94

‘The Nineteenth-Century Bravura Tradition’, ‘Technique and Performance Practice’, ‘The Concerto’, ‘The Sonata’, ‘Other Solo Repertory’ and ‘The Pedagogical Literature’, in Robin Stowell (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to the Violin (Cambridge: CUP, 1992), 61–78, 122–42, 148–67, 168–93, 194–209 and 224–33

‘Leopold Mozart Revised: Articulation in Violin Playing during the Second Half of the Eighteenth Century’, in Peter Williams and R. Larry Todd (eds), Perspectives on Mozart Performance (Cambridge: CUP, 1991), 126–57

‘The Classical Era – Strings’ and ‘The 19th Century – Strings’, in Howard M. Brown and Stanley Sadie (eds), Performance Practice, vol.2 of Music after 1600 (London: Macmillan, 1989), 239–51 and 394–408

‘Good Execution and other Necessary Skills – the Role of the Concertmaster in the Late 18th Century’, Early Music, 16 (1988), 21–33

‘Building a Library: Bach’s Sonatas and Partitas for Violin Solo’, The Musical Times, 128 (1987), 250–6

‘Violin Bowing in Transition – a Survey of Technique as Related in Instruction Books c.1760–c.1830', Early Music, 12 (1984), 317–27

Other Output

  • Contributions to Universal Music Project, Oxford Composer Companion: Haydn (2002), The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, Second Edition (2001), Oxford Composer Companion: J. S. Bach (1999), The Mozart Compendium (1990).
  • Reviews of books, music and recordings for Eighteenth-century Music, Early Music, The Strad, Double Bassist, Early Music Today, Music & Letters, Piano International, Ad Parnassum, Haydn Society Newsletter, Haydn Yearbook and Vlaanderen.
  • Lecture-recitals (for example, Exeter Cathedral), pre-concert talks (for example, Queen Elizabeth Hall), radio broadcasts, CD booklet essays, programme notes (for example, Edinburgh International Festival, Wigmore Hall and other major venues).


Current Research

Professor Stowell is currently writing a monograph about the violin for Yale University Press and preparing (with C. Lawson) The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Historical Performance in Music. His research interests include Historically Informed Performance; Music of the 'long eighteenth century'; Performance Studies; Violins, violinists and violin playing through history; and Editions of music for stringed instruments.

Recent Research Papers, Public Lectures and Seminars

Annual Crees Lecture, Royal College of Music, London Thursday 21 February, 2013 5.15pm, ‘Chaconne à son goût’- performing J. S. Bach’s Ciaccona (from Partita no.2 in D minor for solo violin, BWV1004) 

CHASE 2012 Conference, Authorship and Authenticity in Composition, Editing and Performance, University of Leeds, 4-5 April 2012

BBC Radio 3 interview with Julian Lloyd Webber for 'The Cellists that Time Forgot', 28 January 2012

Workshop in historical performance for members of the Welsh Sinfonia, Cardiff, 12 January 2012

Workshop in historical performance for pupils from the William Mathias Music Service, Bangor, 16 December 2011

‘Mozart’s "Viennese" Keyboard/Violin Sonatas according to Ferdinand David’, conference ‘Music for Stringed Instruments: Music Archives and the Materials of Musicological Research in the 19th and Early 20th Centuries’ (AHRC), Cardiff University, 24 June 2010

‘Early 20th-century recordings and their significance as evidence for the study of issues of performance practice and style’, Jagiellonian University, Krakow, 17 May 2010

'Performance Practice in Beethoven', Study Day on Beethoven's Symphonies, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Purcell Room, London, 28 February 2010

‘Fantasizing on Faust’, conference ‘Henryk Wieniawski and the Bravura Tradition. Issues of Style, Technique and Performing Practice’, Poznan, 20 October 2009

‘The Diabolus in Musica and Paganini Redivivus phenomena, with some thoughts on their relevance to the ‘German Paganini’ [August Wilhelmj (1845-1908)]’, keynote paper, ‘Nicolò Paganini Diabolus in Musica’, La Spezia, 16 July 2009

'The Influence of Organological Developments on the String Quartet in the Late 18th Century: Technique, Style, Interpretation and Repertoire', Centre Européen de Musique de Chambre, Cité des Arts, Paris, 6 March 2007

‘Beethoven’s Violin Concerto Op. 61: A Franco-Austrian patchwork?’, Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester, 29 April 2005

‘Henryk Wieniawski: Polish, French, Franco-Belgian, German, Russian, Italian or Hungarian?’, Henryk Wieniawski Musical Society 2nd International Conference, Academy of Music, Poznan, 10 March 2005

‘Whither the String Quartet?’, Carnegie-Mellon University, Pittsburgh, 21 October 2004

‘The Significance of Early Recordings in 19th-century Performance-Practice Studies’, Queen’s College/CUNY, New York, 19 October, 2004

‘Beethoven's Violin Concerto Op. 61 and Joseph Joachim - a Case Study in Performance Practice’, Harvard University, Boston, 15 October 2004; Mannes College, New York, 18 October 2004

Current PhD Candidates

Owen Cox (PhD, Performance): ‘The Changing Aesthetics of String Quartet Performance in the Age of Recording’.

(with Prof. Rachel Cowgill) Annika Gray: ‘The Solo Sonata with Basso Continuo in the British Isles until 1716’.

Magda Kostka (PhD, Thesis): ‘Sonatas for violin and continuo by British composers c.1700-c.1750’.

(with Prof. Rachel Cowgill) Simone Laghi (PhD, Performance): ‘The Chamber Music of Venanzio Rauzzini’.

Nicola Loten (PhD, Performance): ‘The Flute/Recorder Sonatas of George Frideric Handel’.

Successful PhD Candidates

(with Dr Charles Wilson) Jeremy Huw Williams (PhD, Performance): ‘Serialism, modality and poetic rhetoric in Alun Hoddinott’s Five Poems of Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer, Op. 152 no. 2 (1994)’, 2013.

Keith Griffiths: ‘Hans Swarowsky's legacy to the art of conducting: the Swarowsky System, a manual of restraint’, 2009.

Eduardo Fargas: ‘The violoncello school of André Navarra’, 2008.

John Parsons: ‘Stylistic change in violin performance 1900-1960: with special reference to recordings of the Hungarian Violin School’, 2005.