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About the Music in Nineteenth-Century Britain conference (MNCB)

Ninth Biennial Conference on Music in Nineteenth-Century Britain, Cardiff University, 24-27 June 2013


The biennial international conference on Music in Nineteenth-Century Britain was founded at the University of Hull in 1997 and will soon be celebrating its 10th meeting.  
For many years the MNCB conference has been a crucial gathering point for scholars from a wide range of disciplines including musicology, cultural, social, and economic history, politics, sociology, and cultural geography.  Work presented and honed at the conference has been published regularly in volumes of collected essays by Ashgate (see below) and in two seminal book series: ‘Music in Nineteenth-Century Britain’ edited for Ashgate by Bennett Zon, and ‘Music in Britain, 1600-1900’ edited for Boydell & Brewer by Rachel Cowgill and Peter Holman. 

Enriched by interdisciplinary dialogue and engaged with leading historians and cultural theorists, this body of work has made a major contribution to recent developments in musical scholarship and done much to overturn persistent notions of nineteenth-century Britain as a musical wasteland. Additionally it has long since squashed the notion that musicologists are not interested in the broad and deep contextualization of music and its significance as a cultural practice. Empire book cover

The conference celebrates the vitality and diversity of music-making across Britain in whatever form it took and wherever it was found, exploring its aesthetic dimensions alongside its meaning for contemporaries, its place in the global market, and its use in the promotion of political and social agendas.  

To date, MNCB conferences have been held in the UK, but venue and programme committee change every two years. MNCB conferences played a catalyzing role in the founding of the North American British Music Studies Association in 2004 and have enjoyed a long and fruitful partnership with the NABMSA membership: NABMSA meetings are held every other year and alternate with the Music in Nineteenth-Century Britain conference  

Edited collections arising from the Music in Nineteenth-Century Britain  conference

Zon, Bennett, ed., Nineteenth-Century British Music Studies Volume 1 (Aldershot: Ashgate, 1997)

Dibble, Jeremy, and Bennett Zon, eds, Nineteenth-Century British Music Studies Volume 2 (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2002)

Horton, Peter, and Bennett Zon, eds, Nineteenth-Century British Music Studies Volume 3 (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2003)

Cowgill, Rachel, and Julian Rushton, eds, Europe, Empire and Spectacle in Nineteenth-Century British Music (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2006)

Rodmell, Paul, ed., Music and Institutions in Nineteenth-Century Britain (Farnham: Ashgate, 2012)


Past MNCB conferences

1997: University of Hull (Timetable and abstracts)

1999: Durham University

2001: Royal College of Music

2003: University of Leeds

2005: University of Nottingham

2007: University of Birmingham

2009: University of Bristol

2011: Queen’s University, Belfast

2013: Cardiff University


Enquiries about the MNCB can be addressed to Rachel Cowgill, Cardiff University School of Music: