Music research opportunities


The Department of Music is home to a vibrant research culture; central to this is the work of the academic staff, all of whom are internationally recognised scholars and practitioners in their respective fields. Academic staff are active in producing original written and practice-led research which they present regularly in concert, at conferences and seminars, and in broadcasts, and which is published in books, articles, critical editions, and recordings. The department offers a broad range of expertise in musicology, composition and performance, and remarkable diversity of repertory and approaches within four broad specialisms:

  • Music, Space and Place: Vietnam; the Far East; medieval and renaissance cities; 18th-century Naples; 19th-century London, Paris, Weimar; digital heritage 

  • Music–Text—Image: Opera; film and TV; music and visual cultures; pervasive media; manuscripts; music and alabasters; composer biography 

  • Musical Creativity and Communities: Jazz; popular music in the Far East; 18th-century pedagogy; musical networks; contemporary performance practice; performance with new technologies; music and health 

  • Music, Politics and identity: Music and conflict; revolution; composer identity; music and social mobility; music and democracy; music and socialism.

The department enjoys strong cross-disciplinary links with a number of other schools in the University. There have been collaborations with colleagues in computer science, English studies, history of art, modern languages, philosophy, film and television studies over recent years. Staff also work with non-academic partners locally, nationally and internationally, including Nottingham Lakeside Arts, the Royal Concert Hall, Nottingham Contemporary, Museum of Nottingham Life at Brewhouse Yard, Opera North, the Royal Opera House, the British Film Institute, the BBC, and a wide range of professional performers and record labels. Such relationships offer research students in music significant potential for fruitful intellectual exchange and career development.

Research activities

The University of Nottingham regularly leads major musicological conferences and cultural events.

  • In 2016-17, Elizabeth Kelly and Xenia Pestova launched a series of concerts, seminars and workshops titled “Nottingham Forum for Artistic Research” (NottFAR). The Forum events feature performances by internationally-renowned interpreters and feature the music of some of the leading composers working in the UK today.
  • In April 2015 the department hosted a conference on Mapping the Post- Tridentine Motet. In July 2013 Mervyn Cooke organised the Benjamin Britten on Stage and Screen Centenary Conference.
  • In 2014, the department successfully hosted the 40th international Medieval- Renaissance Music Conference. In January 2011 Robert Adlington organised an international conference at The British Academy, London, on Red Strains: Music and Communism outside the Communist Bloc after 1945.
  • In July 2011 Nanette Nielsen co-convened an international conference at King’s College London on Music and Philosophy.
  • Other recent events include a conference at the National Gallery, London, organised by Sarah Hibberd, titled Correspondences: Exchanges and Tensions between Art, Theatre and Opera in France, c.1750-1850 and an RMA Study Day on Image, Music, Identity. 

Recent research projects 

Recent funded research projects in the department include:

  • Nottingham Forum for Artistic Research
  • Alan Bush: Music and Politics in Modern Britain
  • Music Anthology of Hermann Pötzlinger
  • Music and the Melodramatic Aesthetic
  • Wollaton Antiphonal
  • Britten Letters
  • Tomás Luis de Victoria
  • French Opera and the Revolutionary Sublime
  • Haydn, Solfeggio, and the Art of Melody
  • Musical Minorities
  • Extended Performance Practice

Key facts

  • The department regularly hosts major academic conferences, organises a regular series of music colloquia featuring distinguished guest speakers and research students, and has a vibrant performance culture.
  • In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF), 49% of our publications were judged world-leading, with the remainder judged internationally excellent and internationally recognised. 100% of our impact and environment submissions were judged world-leading and internationally excellent, a result that places us 7th out of 56 UK music departments.
  • Excellent practical and technical facilities including an on-site music library, a dedicated postgraduate study room, an iMac suite, a recording studio, practice rooms, and an orchestral-size rehearsal hall.


Department of Music 
University of Nottingham 
University Park 

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