Robert Samuels to give OAE pre-concert talk on 4 February

The next event in the Department’s partnership with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment (OAE) is their concert at the Royal Festival Hall in London’s Southbank Centre on Monday 4 February.

Henry Tong of the OAE

The concert has the title Love and Duty, and interleaves the movements of Mozart’s Symphony No. 40 in G minor K550 with vocal works by Mozart himself and by his contemporaries Haydn and Gluck. This kind of concert format, unusual today, was common in the eighteenth century; there are some similar examples in our module A342: Central Questions in the Study of Music.

Robert Samuels will give a pre-concert talk entitled Symphonies: played with love or doing their duty? at 6:00 pm, before the concert at 7:00 pm.

Student ticket offer

The concert and talk should appeal to OU students on any of our modules, and the OAE has a student ticket price of just five pounds. This can be obtained via the Southbank Centre website (choose any seat except the top-price ones, a booking fee will be added to the order), or directly via the OAE box office (telephone 020 7239 9375, no booking fee).

The Southbank Centre web page for the concert is at

The OAE page for the season of concerts is at

The following event in our partnership is the Music Study Day at the Southbank Centre on Tuesday 19 March.

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Works from Elaine Moohan’s forthcoming critical edition to be performed at Glasgow University Memorial Chapel

Two works by the Scottish composer Robert Johnson (fl. 1520s-1550s) edited by Elaine Moohan will be included in the celebration of Choral Evensong at the Glasgow University Memorial Chapel on Tuesday 4 December at 6 pm (the Chapel calendar can be accessed here). The Chapel Choir will sing Johnson’s setting of the Magnificat and Nunc dimittis, which are standard liturgical items sung at every celebration of Evensong. The music was probably written in the 1550s, and is homophonic throughout, allowing the English texts to be heard clearly by the congregation. These works are included in Elaine’s forthcoming edition of the complete works of Robert Johnson, to be published by Musica Scotica.

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PhD Studentships in Music at the Open University

The Music Department invites applications for October 2019 entry to its PhD programme.

Our research was rated 1st in the UK in the Guardian’s analysis of the last Research Excellence Framework, and 8th in the Times Higher Education table.

We have a wide range of expertise, from music of the medieval period to the present day including film music, electronic music and non-Western music. Specialisms in the Music Department cover historical musicology, the social and cultural study of music, music analysis, editing, performance practice, iconography, ethnomusicology, music and literature studies and musical acoustics.

For further details of staff and student research interests see: and


Successful applicants to the Music PhD programme will have the opportunity to apply for an Open-Oxford-Cambridge AHRC studentship. Awards for UK residents cover all tuition fees and provide a maintenance grant at the standard RCUK rate (£14,777 p.a. in 2018/19). Awards for students ordinarily resident in an EU country other than the UK are fees-only.

Open-Oxford-Cambridge is an exciting new doctoral training partnership, funded by the AHRC. The three participating universities share extensive expertise in delivering successful doctoral training, developed in collaboration with our students and a wide range of non-HEI partners. For more information about the Open-Oxford-Cambridge partnership, please visit

How to apply

Informal enquiries about studentships and PhD studies in Music should be made to Helen Coffey ( in the first instance. Potential applicants are encouraged to e-mail a draft research proposal at least one month before the deadline.

Further details of PhD studentships at the OU and the application process can be found here:

Initially, applications for studentships will be assessed for a place on the Music PhD programme. Successful applicants will then be forwarded to studentship panels for further assessment and ranking.

Please note that the deadline for all postgraduate research degree applications, including for studentships, is noon 11 January 2019.


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Listening Experience Database one-day conference: Digital methodologies for understanding musical experience

21 November 2018, 9.30-16.30
School of Advanced Study, University of London
Speakers include Jane Winters, David de Roure and Tim Crawford.

The event is free, but please register via Eventbrite, where you will find the full programme.

The Music Department’s AHRC-funded Listening Experience Database (LED) Project ( is collating people’s private experiences of listening to music. Exploring a wide variety of sources, the project has collected over 10,000 unique experiences into its database. This data is open for consumption by software applications and by people, and it is published using the open standards of Linked Data, such as RDF for representation and SPARQL for querying (available at

The LED project is focusing on approaches to generating new and innovative methods of visualizing the data within the LED database, and the event will include presentations on several aspects of innovative approaches of exploring musical data at scale, and the supporting infrastructures this research requires: can music accomplish the levels of access and ease of discovery and retrieval which can be taken for granted in text-based digital disciplines? What are the collaborations and developments that are required to foster this?

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The Classical Music Lover’s Companion to Orchestral Music

A new  – and epic – book is about to appear, written by ex-member of the music department, and before that of the BBC at the OU, Dr Robert Philip. Robert’s Classical Music Lover’s Companion to Orchestral Music, thirteen years in the writing, will be published by Yale University Press on 30 October. It’s a masterful attempt to write about music in a way which is accessible to every lover of music without sacrificing deeper layers of complexity. At nearly 1000 pages, it turns out to be on the very limit of what can be bound in a single volume!


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Welcome to Dr Alexander Kolassa

Dr Alexander Kolassa

OU Music is delighted to announce the appointment of Dr Alexander Kolassa to the position of Lecturer in Music. Alex received his PhD in Music Composition at the University of Nottingham in 2015. Since then, he has taught composition and musicology at Nottingham and held an early career fellowship at the Institute of Musical Research. He has conducted opera in Mexico and composed music for ensembles up and down the country, both professional and amateur. His multimedia score for the immersive theatre piece The Memory Dealer contributed to it winning a Royal Television Award for digital innovation.

His research focusses on the intersections of musical modernism, medievalism, and popular culture in the concert hall, on stage, and on screen. He recently co-edited Recomposing the Past: Representations of Early Music on Stage and Screen (Routledge 2018), to which he contributed research on, among other things, music in Game of Thrones. His chapter on sound in the Russian film Hard to be a God appeared in Studies of Medievalism XXVII in May. He is currently developing a research project on medievalism and musical modernity.

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OU presents Study Day at Oxford Lieder Festival

For the fourth year in a row, the Literature and Music Research Group at the OU is presenting a Study Day as part of the Oxford Lieder Festival, on Sunday 14 October 2018.

This year’s festival is called The Grand Tour: A European Journey in Song, and the Study Day reflects this theme with its title, Reaching Out: European Song across Borders. The day will take place in the Oakeshott Room, Lincoln College, Oxford. It will consist of six papers from scholars and writers on literature and music, with a lunchtime recital in the Holywell Music Room.

Student Offer

Students can attend the day free of charge, with a £5 charge for the lunchtime recital.

Full details and booking

Details of the day and ticket booking are available from the festival website.


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First graduate of OU BA (Hons) in Music

Christian Day (centre) with OU Music lecturers Byron Dueck (left) and Robert Samuels (right) at the Open University graduation at the Barbican Centre, London on 22 September 2018.

On September 22, Christian Day participated in the degree ceremonies at the Barbican Centre in London as the very first graduate of the new OU Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Music programme.

Christian, originally from Shropshire but now living in Twickenham, started playing trombone and piano at the age of nine. After completing his GCSEs, he joined the Band of the Royal Air Force College and performed with their many and varied ensembles. In 2000, he joined the Prince of Wales’s Division (Clive) Band, performing with them for six years. A further six years with the Band of the Scots Guards in London preceded a three-year tour as Staff Piano Accompanist at the Royal Military School of Music. He returned to the Scots Guards Band in 2016.

Christian began studying with the Open University in 2011 because he was seeking a personal and professional challenge that would provide him with an educational benchmark for future employment. He is married to Joanne and has two adult children.

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ConductIT is launched

This week saw the launch of ConductIT – an EU funded project to build an open access MOOC on conducting. As an ERASMUS+ strategic partnership, ConductIT will develop an innovative online and distance-learning approach to teaching a subject that is fundamentally practical. We in the OU music department will have a primarily advisory role, but OU students will ultimately benefit from being able to access the MOOC once it goes live in two years’ time. Any musician who has had to lead an ensemble, whether at the level of a local church choir, school wind band or even a semi-professional orchestra will be able to develop their knowledge and understanding of conducting from a theoretical, philosophical and practical point of view by studying the MOOC at their own pace.

The port of Stavanger, Norway


The launch meeting was hosted by the lead institute, the University of Stavanger, and was attended by representatives from all the partners in the project – the Royal Northern College of Music, the Universidade de Aveiro and the Open University music department. A ConductIT website will be available soon so that news about the project can be disseminated more widely. We are delighted to be part of this venture and we look forward to sharing its benefits with our global community of students as it develops over the next three years.


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Certificate: The Practice of Music Making Live Q&A


Friday 13 July, 19.00

Join us live on Facebook on Friday 13th July at 19.00 for a Q&A with the Certificate: The Practice of Music Making (CPMM) Programme Leader, Aleks Szram.



This is your chance to ask questions about this innovative distance-learning programme for all musicians before the application deadline on 28 August.

The CPMM was designed and written by Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in collaboration with the Music Department of The Open University, and is part of the Open University BA in Music degree.

To find out more before the event, visit

If you would like to submit a question in advance of the event, email or post it to the event page on Facebook.

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