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Professor Rachel Cowgill is Head of Music and Drama in the School of Music, Humanities and Media. She graduated from Goldsmiths, University of London, with a first-class BMus (Hons) degree, and completed an MMus (Historical Musicology) and PhD at King’s College London, where her research focused on the reception of Mozart’s music in late Georgian London. She began her career at the University of Huddersfield (1996–2000) and returned to the University in her new role as Head of Music and Drama in 2014. In the interim she taught at the University of Leeds (2000–09), and was appointed to professorships at Liverpool Hope University (2009–11) and Cardiff University (2011–14; Head of School, 2013–14).
Rachel works in the area of cultural musicology, exploring the place, practice and meaning of music in its cultural, historical and political contexts. She has published widely on British music and musical life from the late eighteenth century to the early twentieth century; opera studies; music, conflict and memorialisation; Mozart reception and canon formation; and gender, sexuality and identity in music. Rachel’s research has been funded by the British Academy and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (UK), and she was a member of the Leverhulme International Research Network Enchanted Modernities: Theosophy, Modernism and the Arts, c.1875–1960, led by Sarah V. Turner (Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art and University of York). Currently she is principal investigator for In Concert: Towards a Collaborative Digital Archive of Musical Ephemera, part of the AHRC’s Digital Transformations project, Transforming Musicology, led by Lancaster University, and a member of the Romantic National Song Network funded by the Royal Society of Edinburgh led by Kirsteen McCue (Glasgow University). Rachel’s current research addresses the following themes:
Cowgill, R (2016) ‘Proofs of Genius: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and the Construction of Musical Prodigies in Early Georgian London’. In: Musical Prodigies: Interpretations from Psychology, Education, Musicology, and Ethnomusicology. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 511-549. ISBN 9780199685851
Dix, A., Bashford, C., Cowgill, R., McVeigh, S. and Ridgewell, R. (2016) ‘Spreadsheets as User Interfaces’. In: Proceedings of AVI 2016 (the International Working Conference on Advanced Visual Interfaces), 7-10 June 2016. Italy: Bari: ACM. pp. 192-195. ISBN 978-1-4503-4131-8
Dix, A., Cowgill, R., Bashford, C., McVeigh, S. and Ridgewell, R. (2014) ‘Authority and Judgement in the Digital Archive’. In: Proceedings of the 1st International Digital Libraries for Musicology Workshop (DLfM 2014), ACM/IEEE Digital Libraries Conference. London: City University. pp. 33-40.
Turner, S., Mansell, J., Scheer, C. and Cowgill, R.(2014) Pioneering Spirit: Maud MacCarthy - Music, Mysticism and Modernity [Show/Exhibition]
Cowgill, R (2012) ‘On the Beat: The Victorian Policeman as Musician’. In: Music and Institutions in Nineteenth-Century Britain. Farnham: Ashgate. pp. 221-246. ISBN 9781409405832
Cowgill, R (2012) ‘'Attitudes with a Shawl': Femininity, Performance, and Spectatorship at the Italian Opera in early nineteenth-century London’. In: The Arts of the Prima Donna in the Long Nineteenth Century. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 217-251. ISBN 9780195365870
Cowgill, R. and Poriss, H. (2012) The Arts of the Prima Donna in the Long Nineteenth Century . New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780195365870
Cowgill, R (2012) ‘Performance Alfresco: Music-Making in English Pleasure Gardens’. In: The Pleasure Garden: From Vauxhall to Coney Island. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. pp. 100-126. ISBN 9780812244380
Cowgill, R (2011) ‘Canonizing Remembrance: Music for Armistice Day at the BBC, 1922-7’ First World War Studies: Journal of the International Society for First World War Studies , 2 (1), pp. 75-107. ISSN 1947-5020
Cowgill, R., Cooper, D. and Brown, C. (2010) Art and Ideology in European Opera: Essays in Honour of Julian Rushton . Woodbridge: Boydell & Brewer. ISBN 9781843835677
Cowgill, R (2010) ‘New Light and the Man of Might: Revisiting Early Interpretations of Mozart's Die Zauberflöte’. In: Art and Ideology in European Opera: Essays in Honour of Julian Rushton. Woodbridge: Boydell & Brewer. pp. 194-221. ISBN 9781843835677
Cowgill, R (2010) ‘Of Science and Nature: Mozart versus the Modern Bel Canto in early nineteenth-century London’. In: Mozart, Marcos Portugal e o seu tempo [Mozart, Marcos Portugal and their Times]. Lisbon: Edições Colibri/Centro de Estudos da Sociologia e Estética Musica, Universidade Nova de Lisboa. pp. 35-51. ISBN 9789727729593
Cowgill, R (2009) ‘Barthelemon family; Burney, Charles; Crotch, William; Gardiner, William; Horn family; Latrobe, Christian Ignatius; Novello; Peploe, Mrs’. In: Oxford Composer Companions: Haydn. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. . ISBN 9780199554522
Cowgill, R (2009) ‘Germondo and Vittorino: Genre and Politics in the London Reception of Goldoni's Libretti in the 1770s’ Problemi di Critica Goldoniana , 14, pp. 231-265. ISSN 1127-2570
Cowgill, R. and Dideriksen, G. (2008) ‘Opera Orchestras in Georgian and Early Victorian London’. In: The Opera Orchestra in 18th-and 19th-Century Europe: Vol. I The Orchestra in Society. Berlin: Berliner Wissenschafts-Verlag. pp. 259-321. ISBN 9783830514879
Cowgill, R (2008) ‘'Such scientific and profound harmonies': The Italian Opera Orchestra and Early Performances of Mozart's Don Giovanni in London’. In: The Opera Orchestra in 18th-and 19th-Century Europe: Vol. II The Orchestra in the Theatre - Composers, Works, and Performance. Berlin: Berliner Wissenschafts-Verlag. pp. 1-20. ISBN 9783830514886
Cowgill, R (2007) ‘Disputing Choruses in 1760s Halifax: Joah Bates, William Herschel, and the Messiah Club’. In: Music in the British Provinces, 1690-1914. Aldershot: Ashgate. pp. 87-113. ISBN 9780754631606
Cowgill, R. and Holman, P. (2007) Music in the British Provinces, 1690-1914 . Aldershot: Ashgate. ISBN 9780754631606
Cowgill, R (2007) ‘Elgar's War Requiem’. In: Elgar and His World. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. pp. 317-362. ISBN 9781400832101
Hewitt, M. and Cowgill, R. (2007) Victorian Soundscapes Revisited . Leeds Working Papers in Victorian Studies. Leeds: Leeds Trinity & All Saints/Leeds Centre for Victorian Studies/Leeds University Centre for English Music. ISBN 0954015983
Cowgill, R (2006) ‘'Hence, base intruder, hence': Rejection and Assimilation in the Early English Reception of Mozart's Requiem’. In: Europe, Empire, and Spectacle in Nineteenth-Century British Music. Aldershot: Ashgate. pp. 9-30. ISBN 9780754652083
Cowgill, R. and Rushton, J. (2006) Europe, Empire, and Spectacle in Nineteenth-Century British Music . Music in 19th-Century Britain. Aldershot: Ashgate. ISBN 9780754652083
Cowgill, R (2006) ‘Mozart Productions and the Emergence of Werktreue at London's Italian Opera House, 1780-1830’. In: Operatic Migrations: Transforming Works and Crossing Boundaries. Aldershot: Ashgate. pp. 145-186. ISBN 9780754650980
Cowgill, R (2006) ‘Callas, Maria; Female cross-dressing; Lang, k.d.; Opera; Opera queens; Sutherland, Joan’. In: The Routledge International Encyclopaedia of Queer Culture. London: Routledge. . ISBN 9780415306515
Butler, P., Cowgill, R., Duffy, C., Hand, R. and Price, D. (2006) ‘Multi-Disciplinary Perspectives on the British Library's Archival Sound Recordings Project’ Performance Research , 11 (4), pp. 117-126. ISSN 1469-9990
Cowgill, R (2005) ‘The Cradle of Music in Ireland, review of Barra Boydell, A History of Music at Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin’ Early Music , 33 (3), pp. 514-515. ISSN 03061078
Cowgill, R (2004) ‘Billington, Elizabeth; Stephens, Catherine’. In: Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. . ISBN 9780198614111
Bashford, C., Cowgill, R. and McVeigh, S. (2003) ‘The Concert Life in Nineteenth-Century London Database Project’. In: Nineteenth-Century British Music Studies. Aldershot: Ashgate. p. 1 -12. ISBN 9780754636144
Cowgill, R (2002) ‘Review of Brian Robins, The John Marsh Journals: The Life and Times of a Gentleman Composer (1752-1828)’ Early Music , 30 (3), pp. 470-471. ISSN 0306-1078
Cowgill, R (2002) ‘The Business of Music in Late Georgian and Victorian Halifax’ Transactions of the Halifax Antiquarian Society , 10, pp. 77-95. ISSN 1351-5705
Cowgill, R (2002) ‘An Unknown Handel Arrangement by Mozart?: The Halifax Judas’ Musical Times , 143, pp. 19-36. ISSN 0027-4666
Cowgill, R (2001) ‘Braham, John; Catalani, Angelica; Corri family; Crouch, Anna Maria; Harrison family; Kelly, Michael; Linley family; Mara, Gertrud Elisabeth; Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus; Ries, Ferdinand; Singing’. In: An Oxford Companion to the Romantic Age: British Culture 1776-1832. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. . ISBN 9780199245437
Cowgill, R (2001) ‘Savage, Jane; Weichsel, Charles’. In: New Grove Dictionary of Music & Musicians. London, UK: Macmillan. . ISBN 9780333608005
Cowgill, R (2000) ‘'Wise Men from the East': Mozart's Operas and their Advocates in Early Nineteenth-Century London’. In: Music and British Culture, 1785-1914: Essays in Honour of Cyril Ehrlich. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 39-64. ISBN 9780198167303
Cowgill, R (2000) ‘The Papers of C.I. Latrobe: New Light on Musicians, Music, and the Christian Family in Late Eighteenth-Century England’. In: Music in Eighteenth-Century Britain. Aldershot: Ashgate. pp. 234-258. ISBN 9781840146882
Cowgill, R (2000) ‘'The most musical spot for its size in the kingdom': Music in Georgian Halifax’ Early Music , 28 (4), pp. 557-575. ISSN 0306-1078
Cowgill, R (1999) ‘Burney, Charles; Opera, English’. In: The Reader's Guide to Music: History, Theory, Criticism. Chicago, USA: Fitzroy Dearborn/Routledge. . ISBN 9781579581435
Cowgill, R (1998) ‘The London Apollonicon Recitals, 1817-32: A Case Study in Bach, Mozart, and Haydn Reception’ Journal of the Royal Musical Association , 123 (2), pp. 190-228. ISSN 0269-0403
Cowgill, R (1998) ‘Re-Gendering the Libertine; or, The Taming of the Rake: Lucy Vestris as Don Giovanni on the Early Nineteenth-Century London Stage’ Cambridge Opera Journal , 10 (1), pp. 45-66. ISSN 0954-5867
Cowgill, R (1992) ‘Le nozzi di Figaro voor het voetlicht te London, 1786-1813’ Musica Antiqua , pp. 168-177.
Rachel is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society (FRHistS), of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA), and of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA). She is a member of the AHRC Peer-Review College (Strategic Reviewer), an External Adviser to the Arts & Humanities Board of the Open University, and a member of the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education.
Rachel was a Vice-President of the Royal Musical Association (2012-17) and Chair of the National Association for Music in Higher Education (2013-16) – she continues as a member of the NAMHE Committee.
Rachel co-edits the book series ‘Music in Britain, 1600–2000’ with Byron Adams and Peter Holman for Boydell & Brewer, and was Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of the Royal Musical Association, 2007–12.
- Keynote Addresses and Plenaries
- Invited lectures (forthcoming and most recent)
- Visiting Fellowships (most recent)
- Appointments as External Examiner
- Media Appearances (most recent)
Rachel has supervised and co-supervised a number of research degrees to completion, including dissertations on:
Rachel supervises Clare Wheat in a PhD on performance practice in British light opera, operetta and musical comedy, and Richard Piatak in a PhD on the soundtracks of Derek Jarman’s films. Rachel has contributed to the Oxford University Digital Humanities Summer School, and panels and training sessions at the Royal Musical Association Research Students Conference and at the Institute of Musical Research, University of London. With Dr Lisa Colton (University of Huddersfield) and Prof. Jo Wainwright (University of York) she devised and coordinated the AHRC-funded Music Archival Research Skills programme in 2005–07.
Rachel is a member of the Academy for British and Irish Studies, and was co-founder of the Northern Opera Research Network (NORN) with Dr Kara McKechnie (University of Leeds) and Dr Sarah Hibberd (University of Nottingham).
Rachel would like to hear from potential research/graduate students particularly with interests in opera studies, music and conflict commemoration, and British music and musical cultures.
Professor Cowgill appears regularly on TV and radio, and has provided programme notes, lectures and/or preconcert talks for Glyndebourne Festival Opera, Leeds International Concert Series, London Handel Festival, London Symphony Orchestra, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, the National Portrait Gallery, Opera North, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, the Southbank Centre, Welsh National Opera, Music in the Round, The Three Choirs Festival, Huddersfield Choral Society and Halifax Choral Society. Most recently, with members of the Enchanted Modernities Leverhulme International Research Network, she has co-curated the exhibition Pioneering Spirit: Maud MacCarthy – Music, Mysticism and Modernity, Borthwick Institute for Archives, University of York, 7 February – 9 May 2014 (online at http://hoaportal.york.ac.uk/hoaportal/pioneering-spirit.jsp) and authored exhibition text to accompany prints from Annie Besant and C.W. Leadbeater, Thought-Forms (1901), as part of Enchanted Modernities: Mysticism, Landscape and the American West, Nora Eccles Harrison Museum, Utah State University, USA, 16 April – 10 December 2014
Head of Department of Music and Drama, and member of the University Teaching and Learning Committee.
Music on Stage: Opera and Musical Theatre from Orfeo to Matilda
Music, Gender and Identity (team-taught)
Masters thesis and PhD supervision