Dr Mark Berry

Research interests

Mark Berry read History at the University of Cambridge, continuing there to study for an MPhil and PhD, before being elected in 2001 as a Fellow of Peterhouse, where he remained until 2009, upon his appointment as Lecturer in Music at Royal Holloway. In Cambridge, he was a Research Fellow at Peterhouse, a Temporary Assistant Lecturer in Modern European History, a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow, and a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow. He has lectured on subjects ranging from political culture at Louis XIV’s Versailles to European Marxism and music after 1945. His research has tended to draw upon his interests in both History and Music, as well as upon other disciplines, such as Philosophy, Theology, Art and Architectural History, and Literature. Treacherous Bonds and Laughing Fire: Politics and Religion in Wagner’s ‘Ring’ was published by Ashgate in 2006. For his work on Wagner he has received the Prince Consort Prize and the Seeley Medal. He has recently written a number of articles for the Cambridge Wagner Encyclopaedia, published in 2013; they range from short biographical pieces to essays on topics such as 'German History', 'Morality', and 'Politics'. Dr Berry is also co-editor with Professor Nicholas Vazsonyi of the forthcoming Cambridge Companion to Wagner's 'Der Ring des Nibelungen'.

Whilst maintaining and furthering his interests in Wagner, subsequent research has also looked back towards the eighteenth century, including treatment of Bach, Mozart, and Haydn, and forward to the twentieth century. Recent articles, of which further details may be found in the list of publications, include essays on Parsifal, Schoenberg’s Moses und Aron, Theodor Adorno and Wilhelm Furtwängler’s conceptions of Bach, Haydn and the Enlightenment, and power and patronage in Mozart’s La clemenza di Tito and Die Zauberflöte.

Dr Berry has recently written and published an historical treatment of politics, aesthetics, and music-drama from Parsifal onwards, whose concerns include Richard Strauss, Schoenberg, Luigi Dallapiccola, Hans Werner Henze, Luigi Nono, and operatic staging. His interest as an intellectual historian of idealist and Marxist traditions thus combines with his musicological interest in post-Wagnerian musical drama and in how we might treat with the performance history of operas, especially their staging, in such a context. Ultimately, the question revolves around the very possibility of writing, performing, and emancipating ‘opera’ in late-capitalist society. After Wagner: Histories of Modernist Music Drama from 'Parsifal' to Nono was published by Boydell and Brewer in 2014.

He has recently, as the recipient of a British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship (2017: 'Arnold Schoenberg and Intellectual Biography') written a critical life of Arnold Schoenberg, to be published this year (2018) by Reaktion Books.

Mark Berry regularly reviews concert and opera performances, both in London and abroad, especially in France, Germany, and Austria. These often attempt to combine his research interests with imperatives of live performance and theatrical production, and may be found, alongside other material, on his blog ('Boulezian', on which, as its name suggests, the work and example of Pierre Boulez is a not unimportant theme). He writes regularly for The Wagner Journal, which he has guest edited (November 2013), as well as Times Higher Education, Music and Letters, and various other journals. Other musical engagements include regular broadcasts on BBC Radio 3 (Night Waves, Opera Bites, Proms, etc.), speaking engagements (e.g. British Library, English National Opera Study Day, Seattle Opera Ring, the Netherlands Opera, BBC Symphony Orchestra), and writing of programme notes for, amongst others, the Royal Opera House, the Wigmore Hall, the London Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Salzburg Festival, as well as record companies such as Warner Classics and Hyperion. He has also written a chapter on post-war Germany and Austria for the forthcoming Cambridge History of Music Criticism.

Current PhD students are studying topics ranging from Berlioz's aesthetics and national identity in Die Meistersinger to the marketing of music with special reference to social media marketing. Applications from interested doctoral students are of course always welcome.  

View all (147) »

View all (1) »

ID: 8300