Dr David Beard BA (Hons) Dunelm, MMus (theory and analysis) KCL, DPhil Oxon

Dr David Beard BA (Hons) Dunelm, MMus (theory and analysis) KCL, DPhil Oxon

Senior Lecturer in Musicology, Director of Postgraduate Research

+44 (0)29 2087 4388
0.21, 37 Corbett Road

I studied music at Durham University before completing an MMus in music theory and analysis at King’s College London, and a DPhil at the University of Oxford on the early instrumental music of Harrison Birtwistle. 

My book Musicology: The Key Concepts (Routledge, 2005; second revised edition 2016), which I co-authored with Kenneth Gloag, reflects the learning environment at Cardiff, especially the MA courses in Musicology, and in Music, Culture and Politics. 

I have given research papers at UK universities as well as in Germany, Switzerland, Serbia and the USA, contributed programme notes, essays and articles for the London Sinfonietta, BBC Proms, Music Theatre Wales, the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, and numerous music festivals, including Aldeburgh, Bregenz, Cheltenham, Salzburg, and Wexford Opera. 

I am currently a member of the American Musicological Society (AMS), the Society for Music Analysis (SMA), and the North American British Music Studies Association (NABMSA). I sit on the editorial board of the leading peer-review journal Music & Letters (Oxford University Press).

I am Director of Postgraduate Research Studies and Subject Lead for Cardiff University on the Creative and Critical Subject Panel of the South, West and Wales Doctoral Training Programme. At an undergraduate level, I currently teach ‘British Music in the 20th Century’ (Year 2) and ‘The Birth of Modernism’ (Year 3), and supervise final-year dissertations. At a postgraduate level, I contribute seminars to 'Practising Musicology', 'Disciplining Music', 'Music and Politics', and ‘Research Skills’.

Previous academic positions

Tutor for Christ Church, Jesus College, St Edmund Hall and St Peter's, University of Oxford.

Speaking engagements

Public conversation with Harrison Birtwistle at the 'Open Circuit' contemporary music festival, Liverpool University, 5 March 2016.

“Out of the Air”: Judith Weir’s emergence in 1970s Britain’, part of themed session: ‘When was British musical modernism? Post-war perspectives, 1945-1980’, 51st annual RMA conference, University of Birmingham Department of Music, 9 September 2015 

David Beard in conversation with Judith Weir (Master of the Queen’s Music), University of Nottingham Department of Music Colloquium Series, 24 March 2015 

“The mystery of the kiosk composer”: Harrison Birtwistle's creative processes explained’, invited talk for ‘Birtwistle at 80’, a Study Day jointly run by the Institute of Musical Research and the BBC, Barbican Centre, London, 25 May 2014 

“Stand back and light the fuse”: Harrison Birtwistle and the redistribution of authorial subjectivity’, invited talk at Liverpool University, Department of Music, 18 February 2014 

‘Instinctive interventions: Birtwistle at the National Theatre and beyond’, talk at ‘Poetry, Music, Drama: the creation of contemporary opera’, a one-day conference bringing together poets, composers, producers and academics to discuss the collaborative processes involved in the creation of contemporary opera, Institute of Musical Research, University of London, 16 January 2013 

‘Wagnerian Opera Transformed: Birtwistle’s Io Passion’, paper delivered at the ‘Love to Death’ opera conference, Wales Millennium Centre, 31 May 2012

An invited talk to commemorate the 30th anniversary of Peter Hall’s 1981 production of the Oresteia, organized by the APGRD, Classics Faculty, University of Oxford, held in the Taylorian Main Hall, Ashmolean Museum (other speakers included Tony Harrison and Oliver Taplin), 19 November 2011 

Invited academic and public talks and participation in workshops on emotion communication in music, with emphasis on the vocal functions underlying the production of affect bursts and speech prosody, in conjunction with singers and instrumentalists performing Daniel Kramer’s award winning production of Birtwistle’s Punch and Judy. The Swiss Center for Affective Sciences, the University of Geneva, and the Grand Théâtre de Genève, 4–5 April 2011

‘When Actors Meet Musicians: The Music for Peter Hall’s Oresteia and “the Agamemnon Experiments”’, invited lecture and seminar, University of Aberdeen, 19 March 2010

“Incidental” Music? Settings of Greek Tragedy by Judith Weir and Harrison Birtwistle’, invited lecture, The Faculty of Classics and The Archive of Performances of Greek and Roman Drama, Ioannou Centre for Classical and Byzantine Studies, University of Oxford, 27 October 2008 

‘From Heroische Bogenstriche to Waldeinsamkeit: Gender and Genre in Music by Judith Weir’, invited paper, ‘Dichotonies: a Workshop on Gender and Music’, Cologne University (part of the Klang.Körper Festival for Contemporary Music and Gender), 15 June 2008

‘Escaping the Labyrinth: Deciphering the “scene-agent ratio” in Harrison Birtwistle and Tony Harrison's Yan Tan Tethera’, Second Biennial Conference of the North American British Music Studies Association, Saint Michael's College, Colchester VT, 4 August 2006; also given as an invited lecture at Bristol University, 2 May 2006 and University of Cambridge, 29 March 2006 

‘A Theatre of Sculptural Sound: Birtwistle’s Concept of a Secret Drama in Gawain’, invited lecture, Centre for Research in Opera and Music Theatre, University of Sussex, 24 November 2004 

‘The Music of The Second Mrs Kong’, invited talk and round-table discussion with the composer and librettist, BBC SO, Royal Festival Hall, London, 6 November 2004

‘Meta-Narratives and Multidimensional Opera: Harrison Birtwistle’s The Mask of Orpheus’, invited paper, Music and Networking Conference, University of Belgrade, 14-17 April 2004

‘Subject Position, Style and Genre in Contemporary Electronica and Dance Music’, invited lecture, University of Surrey, November 2003; also presented as an invited lecture at the University of Durham, October 2003, and at the Third Biennial Conference on Twentieth-Century Music, University of Nottingham, June 2003

My teaching is focused on music since c. 1890 to the present, and embraces a range of historical, cultural, political and music-analytical perspectives on European cultural centres (The Birth of Modernism), on the one hand, and the varied topography of British music since 1900 (Topics in Musicology 2B). I devised a module on Ambient music (Sounded Out) and supervise dissertations on a range of topics, including popular music, concert programming, and experimental contemporary art music. 

My Masters teaching includes seminars on academic reading and writing, early modernism, ecomusicology, and music and race, ethnicity and identity. I am Director of Postgraduate Research and, as such, oversee the progress of all doctorates in MUSIC. 

My own current PhD students are working on the emergence of the avant-garde in West Germany in the 1940s, virtual bands and vocaloids, and the music of Pavel Haas.

My research is focused on intersections between cultural, music-analytical and critical-theoretical perspectives on music since 1945, with a particular focus on living British and American composers, with an additional interest in popular music, especially electronica and Robert Wyatt. 

My current projects include the first book on the music of Judith Weir (Master of the Queen's Music), and studies of Simon Holt's concertos, Steve Reich's music dramas, and concert programming under state socialism. I have published numerous articles in peer-reviewed journals, including Music Analysis, Cambridge Opera Journal, Twentieth-Century Music and the Journal of the Royal Musical Association. 

I am the author of Harrison Birtwistle's Operas and Music Theatre (CUP 2012), co-editor of Harrison Birtwistle Studies (CUP 2015), and co-author of Musicology: The Key Concepts (Routledge, revised second edition 2016). I also have chapters in Peter Maxwell Davies Studies (CUP 2009), Ancient Drama on the Modern Stage (OUP 2010), and Dichotonies: Gender and Music (Heidelberg 2009).