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Dr Helen Coffey

Profile summary

Professional biography

Helen Coffey joined the Open University as a Research Assistant in 2007 and was appointed Lecturer in January 2012. She studied for a BA in German and Music at Royal Holloway, University of London, subsequently completing her MMus there in Advanced Musical Studies (Historical Musicology) with German. Following this, she read for a DPhil in Music at the University of Oxford. She spent two separate years in Germany as part of her university education: for her BA degree she studied for a year at the University of Constance, and research for her DPhil was carried out during a year’s residence in the south of the country while affiliated to the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg.

Research interests

 Collected Documents, vol. 1Helen’s research concerns music in Britain and the Holy Roman Empire from the fifteenth to the eighteenth century. Recent projects have focused on musical patronage in the Empire of Maximilian I (1459-1519), the Hanover court c.1680-1750, and the career of George Frideric Handel.

She is currently contributing to Musikleben des Spätmittelalters in der Region Österreicha project based at the University of Vienna, and will begin a Leverhulme Fellowship in 2020 to carry out further research on music in the Holy Roman Empire under Maximilian I. Helen was awarded a British Academy Small Research Grant in 2012 to carry out research in Hanover on musical patronage at the electoral court there. She is co-editor of the five-volume work George Frideric Handel: Collected Documents (CUP, 2013-) and of the essay collection Handel in Context ​(CUP, forthcoming). She is a council member of the Handel Institute and co-chair of the OU's Medieval and Early Modern Research Group.

For details of Helen's publications please see her publications page.

Teaching interests

Helen has authored materials for A111 Discovering the Arts and Humanities​, A342 Central Questions in the Study of Music ​and both parts of the MA in Music. She is currently writing for A113 Revolutions​ and A234 Understanding Music​. Helen previously taught as an Associate Lecturer on A179, A870 and A877.


Wind instrumentalists in the churches of Maximilian I’s Augsburg (2012)
Green, Helen
Historic Brass Society Journal, 24 (pp. 25-35)

Defining the city “trumpeter”: German civic identity and the employment of brass instrumentalists, c.1500 (2011)
Green, Helen
Journal of the Royal Musical Association, 136(1) (pp. 1-31)

City life and music for secular entertainment during the reign of Maximilian I (2017-03)
Coffey, Helen
In: Biddle, Ian and Gibson, Kirsten eds. Cultural Histories of Noise, Sound and Listening in Europe, 1300–1918 (pp. 171-185)
ISBN : 978-1-4094-4439-8 | Publisher : Routledge

Opera for the House of Brunswick-Lüneburg: Italian Singers at the Hanover Court (2017)
Coffey, Helen
In: Kaufold, Claudia; Strohmann, Nicole K. and Timms, Colin eds. Agostino Steffani: European Composer, Hanoverian Diplomat and Bishop in the Age of Leibniz (pp. 107-122)
ISBN : 978-3-8471-0709-5 | Publisher : Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht | Published : Goettingen

Meetings of City and Court: Music and Ceremony in the Imperial Cities of Maximilian I (2009)
Green, Helen
In: Hartmann, Sieglinde and Müller, Ulrich eds. Kaiser Maximilian I. (1459 bis 1519) und die Hofkultur seiner Zeit. Jahrbuch Der Oswald Von Wolkenstein Gesellschaft (pp. 261-274)
ISBN : 978-3-89500-664-7 | Publisher : Reichert

George Frideric Handel: Collected Documents, Volume 4. 1742-1750 (2020)
Burrows, Donald; Coffey, Helen; Greenacombe, John and Hicks, Anthony eds.
ISBN : 9781107080218 | Publisher : Cambridge University Press

George Frideric Handel: Collected Documents. Volume 3. 1734–1742 (2018-10-31)
Burrows, Donald; Coffey, Helen; Greenacombe, John and Hicks, Anthony eds.
ISBN : 9781107019553 | Publisher : Cambridge University Press

George Frideric Handel: Collected Documents: Volume 2: 1725-1734 (2015-06-30)
Burrows, Donald; Coffey, Helen; Greenacombe, John and Hicks, Anthony eds.
ISBN : 9781107019546 | Publisher : Cambridge University Press | Published : Cambridge

George Frideric Handel: collected documents: volume 1 1609-1725 (2013)
Burrows, Donald; Coffey, Helen; Greenacombe, John and Hicks, Anthony eds.
ISBN : 9781107019539 | Publisher : Cambridge University Press

Music for an Elector and King: the Hanover Hofkapelle during the reigns of George I and II (2015)
Coffey, Helen
In : Händel und die Musikgeschichte des Hauses Hannover (10-11 Jun 2014, Halle, Saale) (pp. 135-152)

Music and ceremony in Maximilian's Innsbruck (2019-11)
Coffey, Helen
Musikleben des Spätmittelalters in der Region Österreich