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Meet our PhD supervisors: Professor Robin Stowell

Robin StowellMA Cambridge, PhD Cambridge, Recital Diploma Royal Academy of Music

Research Interests:
Historically Informed Performance
Music of the 'long eighteenth century'
Performance Studies
Violins, violinists and violin playing through history
Editions of music for stringed instruments

Professor Robin Stowell is Professor of Music and Director of the Centre for Research into Historically Informed Performance at Cardiff University.

He has performed throughout the UK as a solo violinist 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, and he has participated in numerous radio and television broadcasts, as well as commercial recordings. He was appointed ARAM in 1990.

He is co-editor of the Cambridge Handbooks to the Historical Performance of Music, a member of the Advisory Committee for the forthcoming publication of the Complete Works of Francesco Geminiani (2012), and serves on the editorial committee of the Henryk Wieniawski Collected Edition. He has also served on the editorial board of Eighteenth-Century Music.

Transforming historical performance
Robin has performed with and acted as a performance adviser to several period-instrument ensembles and historically informed performance has long been a research interest. He is currently mentor to Claire Holden, the School’s AHRC Fellow in the Creative and Performing Arts and a leading violinist in the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. The research associated with this Fellowship aims to transform historical performance by establishing and communicating the information that string players need to understand and assimilate in order to reproduce the techniques that would have been second nature to the performers of Beethoven’s time.

Current book projects

Meet our staff: Professor Robin Stowell from Cardiff School of Music on Vimeo.

Selected research/publications

•     Geminiani’s The Art of Playing on the Violin and 'the improved state of the Violin in England' (2012)–This book chapter discusses briefly the background and content of Geminiani’s The Art of Playing on the Violin and evaluates the influence of its technical and expressive principles on the wide variety of pedagogical publications that succeeded it in England until the eventual ascendancy of Spohr’s Violinschule.
•     ‘Mozart’s 'Viennese' Sonatas for Keyboard and Violin according to Ferdinand David: a survey of editorial and violin performance practices’ (2012)– This book chapter focuses on Ferdinand David’s edition of the sonatas that Mozart composed in Vienna between 1781 and 1788, examining some of its implications principally for violin technique and performance practice.
•     The Cambridge Companion to the String Quartet (2003) – Edited by Robin Stowell, this was the first book to provide a comprehensive view of the string quartet. This survey by ten chamber music specialists focuses on four main areas: the social and musical background to the genre's development; celebrated ensembles and their significance; string quartet playing; and the string quartet repertory.


Professor Stowell would be happy to consider applications from students considering postgraduate research in the following areas:
Historically Informed Performance
Performance Studies
Violins, violinists and violin playing through history
Chamber Music
Stringed instruments and string performance
Early Recordings
Editorial Techniques


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: