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Dr Catherine Tackley (née Parsonage)

Catherine Tackley joined the OU as Lecturer in Music in July 2008 and was appointed Senior Lecturer in February 2011. She read music at the University of York and then worked as a secondary school music teacher in Newcastle-upon-Tyne and London, studying for the PGCE with the OU. During this time, she also worked and performed with the National Youth Music Theatre and was a founder member of Payback, one of London’s leading function bands. She completed her PhD on early jazz in Britain at City University, London in 2002. Catherine held various posts at Leeds College of Music between 2001-2008, culminating in two years as Head of the Centre for Jazz Studies UK with responsibility for a portfolio of collaborative research and artistic projects, as well as teaching in the areas of critical musicology, popular music and jazz on undergraduate and postgraduate courses. At the OU, Catherine is currently Director of Research for Music. She is module team chair and author of several units for A224 ‘Inside Music’ and is currently writing units on performance, audiences and recording for the Department’s new level 3 module. She is the supervisor of PhD students in the areas of music history, performance practice and jazz and improvised music and welcomes enquiries from prospective doctoral students with interests in these areas.

Catherine’s research interests include historical and critical musicology with particular reference to jazz and popular music, early and European jazz, recording, jazz influenced music, and performance practice. Most recently, she has published a monograph on Benny Goodman’s Famous 1938 Carnegie Hall Jazz Concert (Oxford University Press, 2012) and has chapters forthcoming on Duke Ellington and jazz and race. Her first book The Evolution of Jazz in Britain 1880-1935, published by Ashgate in 2005, was hailed as ‘the definitive history of jazz in Britain’ by Professor Krin Gabbard and Digby Fairweather commented that ‘very few jazz books anywhere can surpass this one for excellence’. In 2006-7 Catherine was Visiting Edison Fellow at the British Library National Sound Archive, researching the performance history of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. Catherine was co-investigator on the AHRC-funded project ‘What is Black British Jazz?’ where she developed particular interests in in jazz and dance, jazz in Cardiff and West Indian musicians. Some of this work will be published by Ashgate in a volume which Catherine is also co-editing. She is currently Principal Investigator of the AHRC Research Networking project ‘Atlantic Sounds: Ships and Sailortowns’.

Catherine is recognised internationally as an expert on British jazz, contributing chapters on this subject to major publication projects on the history of jazz in the European Union and women in European jazz funded by UNESCO. She has also been interviewed for several BBC television documentaries, has been heard on BBC Radio 3 and 4, and played a leading role in co-ordinating the British Showcase for the International Association for Jazz Education Annual Conference 2008.

Catherine is a co-editor of the Jazz Research Journal (Equinox), a member of the editorial board of Studies in Musical Theatre (Interim Publications) and has served as a specialist reviewer for several journals and publishing companies. She is a member of the Board of Jazz Services (the UK national organisation for jazz, funded by the Arts Council) and an Advisor to Jazz Heritage Wales. Catherine is active as a conductor and instrumentalist in both classical and popular styles. She is currently Musical Director of Dr Jazz and the Cheshire Cats Big Band and conducts the North Cheshire Wind Orchestra.

Follow this link for details of Catherine Tackley’s publications



Catherine Tackley photo