Dr James Savage-Hanford

Supervised by

Educational background

MA Music - Emmanuel College, University of Cambridge (dissertation 'Investigating the 'Spanishness' of Hugo Wolf's Spanisches Liederbuch', supervisor Dr. Benjamin Walton)

MMus Musicology - Royal Holloway, University of London (dissertation 'Emic and Etic: Perspectives on the Music of Karol Szymanowski', supervisor Prof. Jim Samson)

PGDip Music Performance (Voice) - Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama

Personal profile

James completed his PhD at Royal Holloway (where he was also the recipient of a fully-funded IMR-Reid Scholarship) in 2019, under the supervision of Professor Julian Johnson. His thesis ('Memory, Enchantment, Dream: The Later Chamber Works of George Enescu') investigated philosophical, phenomenological, analytical and hermeneutic conceptions of memory, time, enchantment and dreaming in Enescu's works, and within modernity more broadly. Specifically, his research interrogated the ways in which Enescu’s music might encapsulate and re-construct various mnemonic modes (both within a broader structural and temporal context, and more locally in terms of the experiential effects of remembering); how it employs ‘strategies of enchantment’ (including drawing on a childlike way of ‘seeing’ the world) as a means of counteracting the common understanding of modernity as heralding a ‘decline in mystery’; and the ways in which it might evoke a ‘dream-logic’ and thereby conform with the aesthetic notion that music might itself represent a mode of dreamlike translation. Throughout, his thesis endeavoured to draw these strands together through a broader consideration of questions relating to musical modernism, embodiment, and a phenomenology of listening.

While at Royal Holloway, James assisted on core undergraduate courses in Theory and Analysis, Historical Musicology, and Practical Musicianship, and was also the administrator for the Institute of Musical Research from 2015–2018. He is also a professional tenor (and has worked with companies and ensembles such as the Academy of Ancient Music, Opera Holland Park, Grange Park Opera, and the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra), and is a published translator of several articles and books (from Polish to English), with clients including the Adam Mickiewicz Institute and Warsaw-based publishers Rosikon Press.

Research interests

George Enescu; memory; temporality; phenomenology; modernism; French musical and aesthetic thought; music and philosophy; enchantment; dream; reverie; pastness; ineffability; aesthetics; Vladimir Jankélévitch; Gaston Bachelard; Henri Bergson; Maurice Merleau-Ponty; twentieth-century music


James has been a Visiting Tutor (TA) and Marking Assistant (MA) at Royal Holloway for the core undergraduate courses MU1111 Practical Musicianship; MU1114 A Very Short History of Music; MU1115 Introduction to Historical Musicology; andMU1110 Theory and Analysis.

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