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Mervyn Cooke

Professor, Faculty of Arts

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Biography

Mervyn was educated at Dover Grammar School for Boys, the Royal Academy of Music, and King's College, Cambridge, where he held an Open Scholarship and subsequently completed a PhD thesis on Asian influences in the music of Benjamin Britten. He was for six years Research Fellow and Director of Studies in Music at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge, before moving to Nottingham to take up a lectureship in Music in 1993. At the University of Nottingham he has served as both Head of the Department of Music and Vice-Dean (Undergraduate) of the Faculty of Arts.

Expertise Summary

Life and music of Benjamin Britten; film and television music; jazz; twentieth-century opera; traditional music of Japan and Indonesia; Frank Martin; Stephen Sondheim; Astor Piazzolla and tango nuevo; composition; performance (keyboard); conducting

Teaching Summary

At undergraduate and Master's levels, recent teaching has included modules in film music, music on stage and screen, jazz, fusion and crossover styles, composition, dissertation and research… read more

Research Summary

Mervyn's primary research interests are the music of Benjamin Britten, film music, and jazz. He is the author of a handbook on Britten's War Requiem (CUP, 1996) and the monograph Britten and the Far… read more

At undergraduate and Master's levels, recent teaching has included modules in film music, music on stage and screen, jazz, fusion and crossover styles, composition, dissertation and research techniques.

At postgraduate level, PhD and MPhil theses supervised have included projects devoted to Britten, film music, videogame music, jazz, early twentieth-century music, and composition.

Applications for PG research places are warmly welcomed in any of the following subject areas: Benjamin Britten; early twentieth-century music; film music; jazz; and music on stage and screen (including topics relating to film, theatre, radio, television, opera and ballet, with a special interest in stage and film treatments of Shakespeare's plays).

Please note that I will be on study leave in the autumn semester of 2018/19. The supervision of research students will be unaffected, but I will not be teaching on undergraduate or Master's modules during this period.

Current Research

Mervyn's primary research interests are the music of Benjamin Britten, film music, and jazz. He is the author of a handbook on Britten's War Requiem (CUP, 1996) and the monograph Britten and the Far East (The Boydell Press, 1998), and editor of The Cambridge Companion to Benjamin Britten (CUP, 1999); he also co-edited (with Philip Reed) an Opera Handbook on Billy Budd (CUP, 1993) and worked for The Britten-Pears Foundation as co-editor (with Donald Mitchell and Philip Reed) of the multi-volume edition of Britten's correspondence, of which the sixth and final instalment was published in 2012. As part of Britten's centenary celebrations in 2013, he organised and performed (as pianist) in premiere recordings of two of Britten's unpublished theatre scores from the 1930s, which were released on the CD Britten to America, an NMC disc nominated for a Grammy Award in 2014. He edited The Cambridge Companion to Twentieth-Century Opera (CUP, 2005), to which he contributed a chapter on opera and film. He has authored two illustrated books on the history of jazz for Thames & Hudson -- The Chronicle of Jazz and Jazz (World of Art) -- and co-edited with David Horn The Cambridge Companion to Jazz (2003). His books on jazz and film music have variously been translated into French, German, Spanish, Czech, Polish, Chinese and Korean. He is the author of the New Grove article on film music, and has written book chapters on the film music of Bernard Herrmann and Duke Ellington. His substantial History of Film Music was published by CUP in 2008, and his Hollywood Film Music Reader by OUP in 2010. His most recent books are The Cambridge Companion to Film Music (co-edited with Fiona Ford; CUP, 2016) and an analytical monograph on the ECM recordings of jazz guitarist Pat Metheny (OUP, 2017). He has recently published essays on music in ocean documentaries, Britten's collaborations with his librettists, and George Fenton's score to the film Dangerous Liaisons; present projects include book chapters on John Williams's film music, music in British war films, Dave Grusin's score to The Fabulous Baker Boys, and the co-editing (with Christopher Wilson) of a major new symposium devoted to Shakespeare and Music.

Department of Music

The University of Nottingham
Lakeside Arts Centre
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

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