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Dr Caroline Rae MA, DPhil (Oxon), Dipl Mus (Hanover), ARCM

Dr Caroline Rae

MA, DPhil (Oxon), Dipl Mus (Hanover), ARCM

Reader, Director of Postgraduate Research

School of Music


Caroline Rae is a Reader in music, pianist, writer and broadcaster. She is a programming consultant to the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and was Series Advisor to the Philharmonia Orchestra’s international festival of French music ‘City of Light: Paris 1900-1950’. While her research centres on French music since Debussy, she also works on twentieth-century music in Latin America and has particular interests in Franco-Hispanic interactions as well as performance practice and music criticism. She gives recitals and lecture-recitals relating to her research interests and has given numerous papers, including keynotes, at international conferences. Recent public talks include at the BBC Proms, The Royal Festival Hall, Barbican and Royal College of Music.

She was a piano pupil of Dame Fanny Waterman from childhood, later studying in France with Yvonne Loriod-Messiaen (French Government Scholarship) and in Germany with David Wilde and Karl-Heinz Kämmerling at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater Hannover. She is a graduate of Somerville College Oxford University.

Previous Academic Positions

  • Oxford University
  • Oxford Polytechnic (now Oxford Brookes University)
  • Visiting Lecturer: Universities of Rouen, Paris 8, Paris-Sorbonne (Paris IV), Cologne
  • Visiting Scholar: St John’s College Oxford University.

External Examining

  • Queen’s University Belfast
  • Keele University
  • Sheffield University
  • City University
  • Open University
  • Université d’Aix-Marseille
  • University of Adelaide
  • University of Melbourne





























At undergraduate level, her teaching has included modules on French music since Debussy, Piano Music and Pianism from Liszt to Ligeti, Schenkerian Analysis, Tonal and Post-Tonal Analysis, Debussy and Bartók (specialist modules), harmony and counterpoint, and Advanced Performance Class (seminars for public recitalists). In addition she supervises dissertations on a wide range of topics and some Analysis projects.

Her contribution to the postgraduate taught MA programmes include modules on 20th-Century French Music with particular reference to Messiaen, Dutilleux and Ohana, Repertory Studies, Organology and Technique (piano, violin, viola, cello, clarinet, French horn, flute), performance practice, cultures of performance and performance masterclasses. She has supervised dissertations on a wide range of topics and contributed to composition and ethnomusicology as well as to musicology and performance pathways.

PhD Topics Supervised and Examined (including PhD in Performance)

  • French women composers (supervisor)
  • French performance practices in the piano music of Ravel (supervisor)
  • Maurice Duruflé and the organ (supervisor)
  • The piano music of Maurice Ohana (supervisor)
  • The 20th century harpsichord (co-supervisor)
  • The piano music of John Ireland (supervisor)
  • Ravel’s Daphnis et Chloé at the piano (examiner)
  • The cello method of André Navarra (examiner)
  • Spanish Music and its Representation in London, 1878-1930 (examiner)
  • Harmonic Resonance in Oliver Messiaen (examiner)
  • Alejo Carpentier and Music (examiner)
  • Clara Wieck-Schumann composer-pianist (examiner)
  • The Hungarian violin school (examiner)

My research focuses on French music since Debussy, notably the composers Ohana, Jolivet, Dutilleux and Messiaen, but I also have particular interests in the Hispanic aspects of music in France and cosmopolitanism in interwar France.

These wider interests have led me to develop interdisciplinary research on twentieth-century Cuban, and other Latin American, music and literature.

My interests in the Hispanic aspects of French music and the Parisian interactions between French, Latin American composers and writers have been developed for my interdisciplinary second monograph, Magic Realism, Music and Literature: the French – Latin American Axis since 1920 (Ashgate, 2009) for which I received an AHRC grant.

I am also investigating the reception of new music in Cuba, the Debussyian connections of Marius-François Gaillard and preparing a new study of the music of Jolivet.