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Dr Alexander Kolassa

Profile summary

Professional biography

I joined the Open University as a Lecturer in Music in October 2018, and in that time I have written teaching material on music theory and analysis, and on music in video games. I have also contributed to modules in music technology, performance, and the wider humanities, and I have given lectures on the blues, Mozart, and more. As Qualification Lead for Music I am closely involved in the running of our dedicated music degree.

I completed my PhD in music composition at the University of Nottingham in 2015, and before joining the OU I worked on research projects at University College London and the University of Cambridge. I also taught for a little while at the University of Nottingham, where I designed modules in composition and musicology for undergraduates and postgraduates. 

I have wide ranging musical interests and have toured Mexico as a conductor, bringing to life a little known local opera that I edited, rehearsed, and performed with students. My own work as a composer has been performed nationally by professional and amateur ensembles (including the Okeanos Ensemble, the Orlando Consort, and the University of Nottingham Philharmonia), and my multimedia score for the immersive drama 'The Memory Dealer' contributed to its winning a Royal Television Award in Digital Innovation. I research and write about a range of topics in music and media, publishing in books and peer-reviewed journals, as well as speaking at conferences around the world.

Research interests

My research at the moment concerns the intersections of musical modernism, medievalism (which is to say, the modern medieval imaginary), and popular culture: in the concert hall, on stage, and on screen. I co-edited the book Recomposing the Past: Representations of Early Music on Stage and Screen (Routledge 2018), and I have a second collection (History as Fantasy: Sound, Image, and Media) coming out soon. Further to this, I have published on an eclectic range of (interconnected) subjects in music: this includes authoring journal articles and chapters on subjects like British musical modernism and opera (including on composers Peter Maxwell Davies and Harrison Birtwistle), as well as on music and intertextuality, film (Ken Russell's The Devils; Aleksei German's Hard to Be a God), television (Game of ThronesChildre of the Stones), videogames (Bloodborne), and immersive New Media (The Memory Dealer). I am working on a book project about the influence of medievalism on British twentieth century musical modernism.  

Publications

‘A crazy clutter of the mediaeval, medical mind’: Ken Russell, Peter Maxwell Davies, and Modernist Medievalism in The Devils (2022-05-01)
Kolassa, Alexander
Journal of the Royal Musical Association, 147(1) (pp. 135-170)


[Book Review] The Oxford Handbook of Music and Medievalism. Ed. by Stephen C. Meyer and Kirsten Yri (2021-07-10)
Kolassa, Alexander
Music and Letters, 102(1) (pp. 143-145)


Hail the Nightmare: Music, Sound, and Materiality in Bloodborne (2020-08)
Kolassa, Alexander
The Soundtrack, 11(1-2) (pp. 23-38)


Composing for the Memory Dealer: New Paradigms for the Immersive Soundtrack (2015)
Kolassa, Alexander
Journal of Sonic Studies, 9


Haunted by the Past: Music and Folk Horror in Children of the Stones (2024)
Kolassa, Alexander
In: Cook, James; Kolassa, Alexander; Robinson, Alexander and Whittaker, Adam eds. History as Fantasy in Music, Sound, Image and Media. Music and Visual Culture
ISBN : 9781032271866 | Publisher : Routledge


Introduction: Beyond authenticity in music, history, and fantasy (2024)
Cook, James; Kolassa, Alexander; Robinson, Alexander and Whittaker, Adam
In: Cook, James; Kolassa, Alexander; Robinson, Alexander and Whittaker, Adam eds. History as Fantasy in Music, Sound, Image and Media. Music and Visual Culture
ISBN : 9781032271866 | Publisher : Routledge (In Press)


Beyond nostalgia: hearing anachronism in Westworld and television's new golden age (2024)
Kolassa, Alexander
In: Halfyard, Steve and Reyland, Nicholas eds. Palgrave Handbook of Music and Sound in Peak TV
Publisher : Palgrave MacMillan (In Press)


The medievalist origins of (British) modernist music (2022)
Kolassa, Alexander
In: Falconieri, Tommaso di Carpegna; Savy, Pierre and Yawn, Lila eds. Middle Ages without Borders: an international conversation on medievalism
ISBN : 978-2-7283-1493-5 | Publisher : École française de Rome | Published : Rome


Intertextuality and (modernist) medievalism in British post-war music (2021)
Kolassa, Alexander
In: Kostka, Violetta; Castro, Paulo Ferreira de and Everett, William eds. Intertextuality in Music: Dialogic Composition (pp. 114-128)
Publisher : Routledge | Published : London


The Past is a Different Planet: Sounding Medievalism in Aleksei German’s Hard to Be a God (2018-05-17)
Kolassa, Alexander
In: Fugelso, Karl ed. Studies in Medievalism XXVII: Authenticity, Medievalism, Music. Studies in Medievalism (pp. 227-250)
ISBN : 9781843845034 | Publisher : D.S.Brewer | Published : Cambridge


Introduction to Part III (2018-05-17)
Kolassa, Alexander
In: Fugelso, Karl ed. Authenticity, Medievalism, Music. Studies in Medievalism (27) (pp. 181-182)
ISBN : 1843845032 | Publisher : Boydell & Brewer | Published : Cambridge


[Introduction] Understanding the present through the past and the past through the present (2018-02-05)
Cook, James; Kolassa, Alexander and Whittaker, Adam
In: Kolassa, Alexander; Cook, James and Whittaker, Adam eds. Recomposing the Past: Representations of Early Music on Stage and Screen. Ashgate Screen Music Series (pp. 1-14)
ISBN : 9781138287471 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : Abingdon


Music in fantasy pasts: neomedievalism and Game of Thrones (2018-02-05)
Cook, James; Kolassa, Alexander and Whittaker, Adam
In: Kolassa, Alexander; Cook, James and Whittaker, Adam eds. Recomposing the Past: Representations of Early Music on Stage and Screen. Ashgate Screen Music Series (pp. 229-250)
ISBN : 9781138287471 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : Abingdon


Presentness and the past in contemporary British opera (2018-02-01)
Kolassa, Alexander
In: Cook, James; Kolassa, Alexander and Whittaker, Adam eds. Recomposing the Past: Representations of Early Music on Stage and Screen. Ashgate Screen Music Series (pp. 155-173)
ISBN : 9781138287471 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : Abingdon and New York


History as Fantasy in Music, Sound, Image and Media (2024)
Cook, James; Kolassa, Alexander; Robinson, Alexander and Whittaker, Adam eds.
Music and Visual Culture
ISBN : 9781032271866 | Publisher : Routledge (In Press)


Recomposing the Past: Representations of Early Music on Stage and Screen (2018-02-01)
Cook, James; Kolassa, Alexander and Whittaker, Adam eds.
Ashgate Screen Music Series
ISBN : 9781138287471 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : Abingdon and New York