September Academic of the Month: Helen Coffey

Over the past couple of months I’ve been busy with a number of research projects, including working with Donald Burrows and John Greenacombe on the third volume of  G F Handel: Collected Documents, a series of five books to be published by Cambridge University Press. These volumes present transcripts of all documents from Handel’s lifetime concerning the composer and his music. The first two volumes are already published, and volume three will appear later this year. The third volume covers the period 1734 to 1742, including Handel’s stay in Dublin and the first performance of Messiah.

I’ve also been working on a book chapter on Handel’s predecessor as Kapellmeister of the Hanover court, Agostino Steffani (1654-1728). My chapter is based on a presentation given at the International Conference on Baroque Music held in Canterbury in July this year. It examines the role of the Duke of Hanover’s Venetian agent in the recruitment of opera singers for his court.

My other research has been for a new website on music in medieval Austria, a project based at the University of Vienna. Visitors to the website can read essays on various themes, listen to instruments in the online museum, and also learn about compositions from the late medieval period. One of my essays concerns the Innsbruck Court of Maximilian I. Next year I will be working on further essays for the website on instrumentalists in the Holy Roman Empire c. 1500.

Dance of the Nuremberg Butchers c. 1500: Schembartbuch UB of California Coll. 170 Ms 351

Dance of the Nuremberg Butchers c. 1500 (Schembartbuch UB of California Coll. 170 Ms 351)

Along with these research activities I’m a member of the module team for A342: Central questions in the study of music, which is just about to begin its second presentation. I’m also responsible for PhD students in the Music Department and look forward to welcoming students who will begin their studies with us in October. We have around 20 PhD students and hold two research days every year for staff and students. I’m currently preparing the programme for our next research day which will take place on 30 November. This will include a workshop on research practices and several research presentations. I will also soon announce the application deadline for PhDs beginning in October 2017, and look forward to receiving enquiries from prospective students.

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