The Electronic Music of Roberto Gerhard (2011-12)

Professor Monty Adkins was awarded an AHRC research grant of £146,202.40, (2011-12) for his project The Electronic Music of Roberto Gerhard. The project focuses on the tape archive of the composer now held at the Cambridge University Library resulting in outputs that include the book ‘The Roberto Gerhard Companion’ published with Ashgate, a CD of works, journal articles, conference papers and a complete catalogue of the tapes and electronic works.

The team led by Prof. Monty Adkins includes researchers Dr Carlos Duque and Dr Gregorio Karman who assisted on the extensive and challenging work of archiving and restoring tapes and other documents held in the archive. For more information about the project and the two related international conferences held in 2010 (Huddersfield) and 2012 (Barcelona), please see the Roberto Gerhard project website.


Gerhard Revealed (2020-21)

Prof Monty Adkins has been awarded £99,860 follow-on funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Council for the project: Gerhard Revealed. This one-year project will see Adkins along with two research assistants create a website and educational resources around Gerhard's electronic music. Adkins' original project digitised Gerhard's tape collection held at the Cambridge University Library and produced the first edited book on the composer's works. The digital archive is not currently available to researchers as it is stored on a hard-disk containing over 600 ProTools files. This project will see all of these files become part of a searchable database accompanied by annotated extracts from Gerhard's notebooks to explain his innovative thinking around the emerging genre of electronic music in the 1950/60.



Adkins, M. and Russ, M. (2017) Essays on Roberto Gerhard. Cambridge Scholars Publishing. ISBN-13:978-1-4438-1108-8 ; ISBN-10:1-4438-1108-4

Russ, Michael and Adkins, Monty (2015) Perspectives on Gerhard: Selected Proceedings of the 2nd and 3rd International Roberto Gerhard Conferences. University of Huddersfield, Huddersfield. ISBN 978-1-86218-128-1

Russ, M. and Adkins, M. (2013) The Roberto Gerhard Companion Ashgate . ISBN 9781409445159

Adkins, M., Duque, C. and Karman, G. (2012) ‘The electronic music of Roberto Gerhard’. In: International Computer Music Conference Proceedings. Ann Arbor, MI: MPublishing, University of Michigan Library. pp. 22-29.


Essays on Roberto Gerhard

For much of the mid-twentieth century, Roberto Gerhard found himself an outsider. He was airbrushed from much writing on contemporary music in Spain during the Franco regime, and was known in England more for his ‘commercial’ music for theatre, film and radio than his concert works. However, his significance as a musical innovator in developing serial technique and in the field of electro-acoustics is now being gradually recognised in both Spain and England, as well as further afield.

The volume explores an extensive range of Gerhard’s work from the early Wind Quintet and the Spanish ballets Pandora and Don Quixote with their overt political overtones, through to the late period Metamorphoses and a newly discovered chance-based composition Claustophilia written in response to a request by John Cage for his book Notations.

One of the key themes presented throughout the book is Gerhard’s innovative use of serialism. Gerhard’s development of Schoenberg’s technique led him to explore the serialization of both pitch and time. This volume suggests evidence for the first time that situates Gerhard’s idiosyncratic experiments alongside rather than after the total serialist works of his European counterparts Pierre Boulez, Olivier Messiaen and Karlheinz Stockhausen.


Perspectives on Gerhard: Selected Proceedings of the 2nd and 3rd International Roberto Gerhard Conferences

Perspectives on Gerhard expands several papers given at the 2nd and 3rd International Roberto Gerhard Conferences in 2012 and 2013. The book focuses on two aspects of Gerhard. Firstly, the pre-1939 period in which he was a student of Schoenberg and then, on returning to Catalonia, began to establish a reputation as a composer. Secondly, and more generally on the composer's stylistic and aesthetic evolution. This latter focus includes both Gerhard's approach to serialism both harmonically and melodically as well as the pivotal role the USA was to play in his later life. The book concludes with two personal reminiscences given at the conferences by Ferran Gerhard and Mariona Agustí Badia.


The Roberto Gerhard Companion

More than forty years after the composer's death, the music of Roberto Gerhard (1896-1970) continues to be recorded and performed and to attract international scholarly interest. The Roberto Gerhard Companion is the first full length scholarly work on this composer noted for his sharp intellect and original, exploring mind.

This book builds on the outcomes of two recent international conferences and includes contributions by scholars from Spain, the USA and UK. The essays collected here explore themes and trends within Gerhard¹s work, using individual or groups of works as case studies. Among the themes presented are the way Gerhard¹s work was shaped by his Catalan heritage, his education under Pedrell and Schoenberg, and his very individual reaction to the latter¹s teaching and methods, notably Gerhard¹s very distinctive approach to serialism. The influence of these and other cultural and literary figures is an important underlying theme that ties essays together. Exiled from Catalonia from 1939, Gerhard spent the remainder of his life in Cambridge, England, composing a string of often ground-breaking compositions, notably the symphonies and concertos composed in the 1950s and 1960s. A particular focus in this book is Gerhard's electronic music. He was a pioneer in this genre and the book will contain the first rigorous studies of this music as well as the first accurate catalogue of this electronic output. His ground-breaking output of incidental music for radio and the stage is also given detailed consideration.

Contents: Preface; Introduction, Monty Adkins and Michael Russ; Early works and life of Roberto Gerhard, Mark E. Perry; Unquestionably decisive: Roberto Gerhard’s studies with Arnold Schoenberg, Diego Alonso Tomás; Promoting and diffusing Catalonian musical heritage: Roberto Gerhard and Catalan folk music, Julian White; Roberto Gerhard’s ballets: music, ideology and passion, Leticia Sánchez de Andrés; Roberto Gerhard, Shakespeare and the Memorial Theatre, Samuel Llano; Music as autobiography: Roberto Gerhard’s Violin Concerto, Michael Russ; Two men in tune: the Gerhard-Camus relationship, Belén Pérez Castillo; Roberto Gerhard¹s serial procedures and formal design in String Quartets Nos 1 and 2, Rachel E. Mitchell; Composing with sets: Roberto Gerhard’s Concerto for Piano and String Orchestra, Michael Russ; Roberto Gerhard the serial symphonist, Darren Sproston; In search of a third way, Monty Adkins; The influence of electronic music on Roberto Gerhard’s Symphony No 4 New York, Carlos Duque; Roberto Gerhard¹s BBC sound compositions, Gregorio Garciá Karman; Select bibliography; Index.


About the editors:

Monty Adkins is Professor of Experimental Music at the University of Huddersfield. His writings deal extensively with the aesthetics and perception of experimental electronic music as well as proposing means of analysing this work. He has lectured on Gerhard¹s work in New York, Stockholm, Ljubljana and Montreal.

Michael Russ is Emeritus Dean and Professor of Music at the University of Huddersfield. He has published on composers including Bartok, Musorgsky and Webern as well as set theory and Schenkerian analysis. As a National Teaching Fellow he has also published on Teaching and Learning in higher education.