Professor Katharine Ellis

Personal profile

Katharine Ellis studied at University College Oxford and, as a violinist, at the Guildhall School of Music. She held posts at St Anne's College Oxford and the Open University before coming to Royal Holloway in 1994.

Katharine is a cultural historian of music in nineteenth-century France, author of two monographs (Music Criticism in Nineteenth-Century France (CUP, 1995) and Interpreting the Musical Past (OUP, 2005)), and joint editor with David Charlton of a collection of essays on Berlioz (The Musical Voyager, Peter Lang, 2007). In her research she seeks to explain what different kinds of music meant to those who experienced them, used them and avoided them, and to probe how music and musicians operated in light of cultural, social and regulatory frameworks. Books in press embrace music and words (edited with with Phyllis Weliver), and the politics of plainchant revival. Current projects include a book on musical life in regional France 1848 – 1914, and a cultural history of music in nineteenth-century Paris.

From 2006 to 2009 Katharine was inaugural Director of the Institute of Musical Research at the School of Advanced Study, University of London, where she also acted as Deputy Dean of the School. She is a former editor of both Music & Letters and the Journal of the Royal Musical Association.

Currently Katharine co-directs an international network of scholars working on Francophone Music Criticism, 1789-1914. In addition she serves as a Series Editor for the Boydell & Brewer ‘Music in Society & Culture’ monographs and as an Advisory Board member for Nineteenth-Century Music Review. She is also Chair of the Royal Musical Association's Proceedings [Events] Committee. In 2010 she was elected to membership of the Academy of Europe. From 2012 she whas served on the Council of the American Musicological Society.

Katharine has supervised over a dozen PhDs on subjects as diverse as Portuguese conservatoires, and on subsidy for contemporary music in twentieth-century London. She is always happy to talk to prospective students about new projects.

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