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Meet our PhD supervisors: Professor Rachel Cowgill

Rachel Cowgill
BMus Goldsmiths College, University of London, MMus (Historical Musicology) King’s College, London, PhD (focused on the reception of Mozart in late Georgian London) King’s College, London

Research Interests:

Cultural musicology
Opera studies
Music and memorialisation
Mozart reception and canon formation
Gender, sexuality and identity in music
British music and musical cultures

Professor Cowgill’s work explores the place, practice and meaning of music in its cultural, historical, and political contexts.  She has particular expertise in archival research.

She was appointed to a Chair in Musicology at Cardiff in 2011, and taught previously at Huddersfield University, the University of Leeds, and Liverpool Hope University.

Rachel is Editor-in-chief of the Journal of the Royal Musical Association and co-edits the book series ‘Music in Britain, 1600-1900’ for Boydell & Brewer. Her research has been funded by the British Academy and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (UK). She appears regularly on TV and radio, and has provided programme notes and/or pre-performance lectures for Glyndebourne Festival Opera, Opera North, London Handel Festival, Leeds International Concert Series and the Southbank Centre. She is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA).

Current book projects

Arts of the Prima Donna
Selected publications:

Full list of publications online at:

Canonising Remembrance
One of Rachel’s research interests is the repertoire selected for Armistice Day broadcasts, what it reveals about the role of music, and certain works in particular, in defining remembrance rituals following the First World War.
Watch Rachel discuss an aspect of this research:

Armistice Day music in the interwar period from Cardiff University on Vimeo.


Dr Cowgill has successfully supervised six postgraduate research students and is currently supervising three students working on opera-related and interdisciplinary topics.  She would be happy to consider applications from students considering postgraduate research in the following areas:

The Eisteddfod and musical negotiations of Welsh identity in nineteenth-century Britain
Female vocality and embodiment in operatic performance
Music in Victorian coastal resorts and ports
Transatlantic connections in music before 1950
British music, war and memorialisation


Postgraduate funding:
Interested in pursuing postgraduate research at one of the largest and most diverse music schools in the UK? The School of Music is currently offering three competitive Studentships that cover tuition fees at the Home/EU rate. More information on our funding opportunities is available at: