Dr Emily MacGregor

Personal profile

Emily MacGregor is a Marie Curie Fellow in Music at Royal Holloway. As part of the same fellowship, she spent 2016 to 2018 as a postdoc at Harvard University. Her broad research interests centre on music and the politics of space and subjectivity in Germany and North America in the first half of the twentieth century, particularly the early 1930s. 

Emily completed her AHRC-funded doctorate in musicology at Oxford University in 2016, supervised by Daniel Grimley. She also has an MSt in Music (distinction) from Oxford, and a BA in Music and Drama from the University of Manchester. From 2012 to 2013 she held a DAAD visiting fellowship at the Freie Universität in Berlin, and in 2014 she was a Kluge Fellow at the Library of Congress. 

Emily’s teaching covers nineteenth- and twentieth-century topics, as well as critical issues in musical thought and scholarship.

Research interests

Twentieth-century musical culture in Germany and North America; modernism; music and technology; critical theory; acoustic space.

Emily is currently working on a book, titled The Symphony in 1933. The project uses a transnational frame to explore the symphonic genre in Germany, France, and the US, at a time when politics challenged the genre’s Enlightenment narratives of self-determining subjectivity. Taking symphonic works from Kurt Weill, Hans Pfitzner, Aaron Copland, Roy Harris, and Arthur Honegger as case studies, the aim is to isolate localised social and political issues shaping symphonic commentary at the time.

Her European Commission-funded postdoctoral research, 'Music, Technologies, and Modern Selfhood: Austro-German Exile in the US, 1930-45', focuses ideas of experience, memory, and displacement through the overlapping lenses of musical and technological discourses. In particular, the project examines musical collaborations, spectacles, and events by German-speaking musical émigrés that engage with technological modernity.

Emily has research published on German and Americanist twentieth-century topics, and on musicology and academic freedom. Her article in The Musical Quarterly, titled 'Listening for the Intimsphäre: Recovering Berlin 1933 through Hans Pfitzner’s Symphony in C-sharp Minor', was awarded the 2019 Jerome Roche Prize by the Royal Musical Association for 'a distinguished article by a scholar at an early stage of his or her career'. For a wider readership, she has contributed to 30-Second Classical Music (ed. Joanne Cormac, 2017).

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