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Professor David Rowland

Profile summary

Professional biography

David Rowland is Professor of Music and Director of Taught Postgraduate Studies at the Open University. He was Dean and Director of Studies for the Faculty of Arts from 2007-14. Before joining the Open University in 1989 he lectured at Glasgow University in 1981-2 and he has been Director of Music at Christ’s College, Cambridge since 1984.

Research interests

He is currently engaged in research into music and commerce in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries with a particular focus on the business career of Muzio Clementi (1752-1832). Publications in this area include the first scholarly edition of Clementi’s correspondence, chapters on the instrument-making and publishing aspects of Clementi’s firm and a history of Dussek’s commercial activities in London.
In addition to his Clementi research, David has published extensively on the history and performance practice of early keyboard instruments. His first book, A History of Pianoforte Pedalling, was published by Cambridge University Press in 1993 and the same publishers subsequently commissioned his Cambridge Companion to the Piano and Early Keyboard Instruments: A Practical Guide. He has also published a number of articles on performance practice issues relating to Chopin’s piano music and is currently editing Chopin’s rondos for the new Peters edition. He has also published chapters and articles on the performance history of the piano concerto, including a major chapter in  The Cambridge Companion to the Concerto.
David is Principal Investigator in a £0.75m collaborative AHRC-funded project with the Royal College of Music entitled the Listening Experience Database. The project is designed to investigate private individuals’ responses to their experience of listening to music of any style or historical period.
As well as his scholarly activities David performs widely on the harpsichord, organ and early piano. Having been Organ Scholar at Corpus Christ College, Cambridge from 1975 to 1978 and assistant to the Organ Scholar at King’s College, Cambridge in 1977 and 1978, he won the prestigious St Alban’s International Organ Competition in 1981 and was a major prizewinner at the Dublin International Organ Competition in the following year. He now records, broadcasts and performs regularly in London’s South Bank concert halls and in many other venues nationwide. He has conducted the choir of Christ’s College, Cambridge for the last twenty-eight years and from 2002-4 he was the conductor of the Welsh National Youth Choir.
Publications and Recordings
Early Keyboard Instruments: A Practical Guide, Cambridge University Press (2001), xi +154 pp., ISBN 0 521 64366 X (hardback); 0 521 64385 6 (p/bk)
A History of Pianoforte Pedalling, Cambridge University Press (1993), xi + 194 pp., ISBN 0-521-40255-2
The Correspondence of Muzio Clementi. Muzio Clementi Opera Omnia. Critical Edition, 14. Bologna: Ut Orpheus Edizioni (2010).
The Cambridge Companion to the Piano, Cambridge University Press (1998), xiv + 244 pp., ISBN 0 521 47470 1 (hardback); 0 521 47986 X (paperback). Chinese translation, 2003
Book chapters
(2011). Clementi as publisher. In: Kassler, Michael ed. The Music Trade in Georgian England. Farnham, Surrey and Burlington, VT: Ashgate, pp. 159–191.
(2011). Clementi's music business. In: Kassler, Michael ed. The Music Trade in Georgian England. Farnham, Surrey and Burlington, VT: Ashgate, pp. 125–157.
(2010). Chopin and early nineteenth century piano schools. In: Szklener, Artur ed. The Sources Of Chopin’s Creative Style: Inspirations And Contexts. Warsaw: Narodowy Instytut Fryderyka Chopina, pp. 83–96.
(2006). Viotti and Clementi: Friendship, publishing, the Philharmonic Society and the Royal Academy of Music. In: Sala, Massimiliano ed.Giovanni Battista Viotti: A composer between the two revolutions.Bologna, Italy: Ut Orpheus Edizioni, pp. 377–394.
(2005). Performance practices in the nineteenth-century concerto.In: Keefe, Simon ed. The Cambridge companion to the concerto.Cambridge Companions Series. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, pp. 227–246.
(2005). The Performance of Chopin's works for piano and orchestra.In: Szklener, Artur ed. Chopin in performance: History, theory, practice.Warsaw, Poland: Narodowy Instytut Fryderyka Chopina, pp. 169–183.
(2004). Clementi's early business career: new documents. In: Bösel, Richard and Sala, Massimiliano eds. Muzio Clementi. Cosmopolita della Musica. Atti del convegno internazionale in occasione del 250° anniversario della nascita (1752-2002). Roma, 4-6 dicembre 2002.Bologna, Italy: Ut Orpheus Edizioni, pp. 49–59.
(2002). Clementi and the British concerto tradition. In: Illiano, Roberto; Sala, Luca and Sala, Massimiliano eds. Muzio Clementi: studies and prospects. Muzio Clementi Omnia Opera (61). Bologna, Italy: Ut Orpheus Edizioni, pp. 179–190.
(1994). ‘Chopin’s tempo rubato in context’ in Samson, Jim and Rink, John eds. Chopin Studies 2, Cambridge University Press , pp. 199-213; translated into Spanish in Quodlibet, February 1997, pp. 5-20.
(1994). ‘Beethoven, pianoforte pedalling’ in Stowell, R. ed. Performing Beethoven, Cambridge University Press, pp. 49-69.
(1992). ‘The nocturne: development of a new style’ in Samson, Jim ed. The Cambridge Companion to Chopin, Cambridge University Press, pp. 32-49.
‘La Clementi & Co. e l’incendio del 1807’ [‘Clementi & Co. and the fire of 1807’; trans. Massimiliano Sala], Hortus Musicus 3/11 (2002), pp. 61-63.
‘Chopin and the extension of the piano’s compass’, Ostinato Rigore: Revue internationale d’etudes musicales 15 (2000), pp. 187-196.
‘Piano music and keyboard compass in the 1790s’, Early Music 27/2 (1999), pp. 283-93.
With Richard Maunder, ‘Mozart’s Pedal Piano’, Early Music 23/2 (1995), pp. 287-96.
‘Early pianoforte pedalling’, Early Music 13/1 (1985), pp. 5-27.
Conference papers
‘The interaction between the piano businesses in England and France’, International Symposium, ‘Existe-il une école française du piano (1780-1820)?’, Limoges, 27-29 April 2007
‘Chopin’s early piano style: Compass,notation and texture, VI International conference of the Narodowy Instytut Fryderyka Chopina, Warsaw, 30 November – 2 December 2006
‘John Field: a reputation for style’, Inaugural event of the John Field Institute, NUI Maynooth, 18 November 2006
‘Clementi & Co. in international markets’, International conference ‘Instrumental Music and the Industrial Revolution’, Cremona, 1-3 July, 2006
‘Chopin and early nineteenth century piano schools, V International conference of the Narodowy Instytut Fryderyka Chopina, Warsaw, 1-3 December 2005
‘The performance of Chopin’s works for piano and orchestra’, IV International conference of the Narodowy Instytut Fryderyka Chopina, Warsaw, 2-4 December 2004
‘Samuel Wesley’s harpsichord and piano music in context’, One-day Conference, ‘The Life and Music of Samuel and Samuel Sebastian Wesley’, Nottingham University, 15 December, 2003
‘Clementi and his company’, Royal Musical Association Study Day, ‘Longman, Broderip, Clementi & Co: Music Sellers and Instrument Makers’, Royal College of Music, 8 April, 2003
‘Clementi and the 1790s: New Documents’, Muzio Clementi, Cosmopolita della Musica, Convegno internazionale in occasione del 250° anniversario della nascita (1752-2002), Rome, 4-6 December, 2002
‘Chopin and the extension of the piano’s compass’ L’Oeuvre de Chopin, Colloque International, Université de Paris-Sorbonne, 1999
(in press) Rowland, David (2013). Chopin Rondos. Edition Peters, London.
Piano parts of Sonatas 1-6, 9 from Lefèvre’s Méthode de Clarinette[1802], Oxford University Press/Ricordi (1988)
Commercial recordings
Of a Rose: carol settings by Britten and Leighton, Director, Christ’s College Choir, (Regent Records, REGCD243, 2006).
Parry Songs of Farewell , Stanford Magnificat for Double Chorus and other works, Director, Christ’s College Choir, (Regent Records, REGCD204, 2004).
Howells and Britten choral music, Director, Christ’s College Choir, (Regent Records, REGCD169, 2002).
Antonio Vivaldi, early keyboard with Badinage (Meridian Records, 1998).
Jean Marie Leclair, early keyboard with Badinage (Meridian Records, 1997).
Funeral music and laments of the sixteenth to the eighteenth century, Director, Christ’s College Choir (Meridian Records, 1997).
Johann Joachim Quantz, early keyboard with Badinage (Meridian Records, 1997).
Georg Frederick Handel, early keyboard with Badinage (Meridian Records, 1996.)
Georg Phillip Telemann, early keyboard with Badinage (Meridian Records, 1996).
Joseph Bodin de Boismortier, early keyboard with Badinage (Meridian Records, 1995).
Michel Corrette, early keyboard with Badinage (Meridian Records, 1994).
François Devienne, early keyboard with Badinage (Meridian Records, 1993).
Significant performance
November 1992: Mozart Fantasia K475, Concerto K467. First modern performances with pedal fortepiano. Reviewed in The Times, 22 November 1992

Externally funded projects

Listening and British cultures: listeners' responses to music in Britain, c. 1700-2018
RoleStart dateEnd dateFunding source
Lead01 Mar 201628 Feb 2019AHRC Arts & Humanities Research Council

The study of music has typically focused on the work, the composer and the performer. More recently, interest has focused on the listener, but generally from the perspective of psychology or reception studies, which draw their evidence from experimentation, interview or musically informed critical opinion. The approach of this project is different: it places the listener at the heart of musical experience in Britain in the period c.1700-2018, emphasising the written testimony of the impact of music on 'ordinary' people. Typically the material is drawn from diaries, letters and memoirs. The evidence is all the more potent for being personal and often musically 'uninformed' or naïve. The team believes that such evidence facilitates a new way of studying how and what music communicates, and that it can, when gathered as a mass, inform novel approaches to musicology. The project will address three research questions: 1. What can personal accounts of listening to music in Britain tell us about how listeners recognise and identify with a common culture through music? 2. What can these accounts add to our understanding of the place of music in broader aspects of personal, community and national life in Britain? 3. What more can listeners' accounts tell us about the place in British musical life of particular repertoires and their associated performing and listening practices? The project aims to combine empirical research methods effectively with digital research methods. It does not aim merely at gathering 'big data', but sets out to use that data to support a traditional strength of humanities research - close reading of texts to underpin the writing of historical narratives. It builds on the AHRC-funded Listening Experience Database (LED) project (2013-15,, which established a methodology for collecting accounts of listening experiences in any period or culture, and a tool, in the form of a Linked Open Data database, for its storage and analysis. The objectives are: 1. To capture a mass of primary source evidence, and to make it available for analysis through an open-access database. 2. To use this data to inform new understandings of the place of music in British cultural life. 3. To develop a clear methodological framework for using digital content in humanities research, and an effective methodology for the mining and analysis of social media as primary source material for responses to music. 4. To develop the ways in which the database supports entry and analysis of data, and to use the database as a case study for research into the application of Linked Open Data. 5. To disseminate the findings to academic and non-academic audiences through a range of means including publications, social media, knowledge exchange events, seminars and a conference. New insights into the experience of listeners have the potential to inform not only historical musicology but also other research within and beyond the academic community - for example, in performance practice, social and cultural history, religious studies, Celtic studies, area studies, psychology and health studies, sociology and media studies. The project will benefit museums, libraries and archives - in particular, specific institutions with which the team will be working – by informing understanding of and increasing exposure to their collections. It will develop and document a clear methodology for using digital content in humanities research, including large-scale data sets such as social media archives that are currently difficult to use. It will establish data modelling practices transferable to other projects and create data assets of value to both academics and other users such as the media (for example, rich data about a wide range of music).