Jeanice Brooks

Primary position:
Head of Department
Other positions:
Professor of Music


The University of Southampton
Professor Jeanice Brooks's photo

I am currently head of the department of Music, with a term extending to the summer of 2015. Although this means I am doing less classroom teaching than usual, I enjoy the opportunities the role provides for working with students in other ways: for example on large performance projects, in modifications to our curriculum, and more generally in helping to ensure that students have a rewarding and stimulating experience during their time at Southampton.

I enjoy teaching at all undergraduate levels, and in recent years have mainly led modules on early music topics: The Antique Music Roadshow (a first year core course), and more specialised year two/three modules, with recent topics including Monteverdi, Chanson and Madrigal, and Music in Renaissance France. I also teach masters courses in research methodology and critical practice.

My main research interests are in French music and culture of the 16th and 20th centuries, domestic music-making in Georgian Britain, and music and gender. I've written two books, one on music and courtly mentalities in early modern France and one on Nadia Boulanger's performing career in the interwar period. My next book project deals with domestic music-making at the time of Jane Austen. I currently supervise about half a dozen PhD students: several are working on topics in 20th-century musical culture, and a few others are exploring 16th- and 18th-century subjects. I am happy to supervise doctoral work in early modern topics, in 20th-century French and British music, on domestic music-making and in music and gender, and I welcome informal approaches from potential master's and PhD students who would like to discuss topics in these areas. I'm also happy to work with potential students to help devise research and funding proposals in advance of application to one of our programmes.


Research Interests

Jeanice Brooks is a cultural historian of music. Her main interests include music and culture in Renaissance France; musical culture of the mid-twentieth century, especially the career of Nadia Boulanger; domestic music-making in Britain c. 1800; and song and gender. She gained a PhD in musicology with a minor in French literature, and continues to develop interdisciplinary research topics that draw on literary as well as musical sources. Her research on domestic music performance includes projects in collaboration with the National Trust and other heritage bodies.

Jeanice's most recent book, The Musical Work of Nadia Boulanger: Performing Past and Future Between the Wars (Cambridge University Press, 2013) uses the case of the famous French pedagogue to explore how modernist concepts of the musical work affected performance culture in the interwar period. Her Courtly Song in Late Sixteenth-Century France (Chicago, 2000) – a monograph on music and courtly ideologies in the Renaissance – won the 2001 Roland H Bainton prize for the best book of the year in music or art history. Her articles have appeared in the Journal of the American Musicological Society, Early Music History, Early Music, Revue de musicologie, Journal of the Royal Musical Association and Revue belge de musicologie. From 1999–2004 she was co-editor of Music & Letters.

Current projects include research for a new monograph, At Home with Music: Domesticity and Musical Culture in Georgian Britain, which will examine the role of music in new concepts of home and family developing in Britain in the late-eighteenth and early-nineteenth centuries. She is also working on a project, “Gossiping to Music in Sixteenth-Century France,” in the context of an AHRC-funded research network on gossip and nonsense in the early modern period, and an article on three newly-discovered Jane Austen songs.


Affiliate research groups:  Musicology and Ethnomusicology, Music Performance Research

Research projects

The Austen Family Music Books

A major study of domestic music making in Jane Austen's family.

musicSpace - Dormant

The recently concluded AHRC-EPSRC-JISC-funded 'musicSpace' project was an interdisciplinary collaboration between Music and Electronics and Computer Science.

At Home with Music: Domestic Music-Making in Georgian Britain

Before the advent of large concert halls, the way most people experienced music – as performers or listeners – was in domestic settings. And after the explosion of the British music printing trade in the late eighteenth century, a vast amount of sheet music was published for use by amateurs in the home. Yet today we know very little about how people made music behind closed doors. How did listening to and performing music help to construct individual and collective identities, and how did music shape contemporary understandings of home and domestic space?


Jeanice Brooks is Professor of Music at the University of Southampton (UK). She studied singing and music education in the U.S. and in France before completing the PhD in Musicology and French Literature at the Catholic University of America. She taught at Georgetown University (Washington, DC) before arriving at Southampton, and has held visiting appointments at the Université Libre de Bruxelles and the University of Melbourne.

Her doctoral dissertation treated musical settings of poetry by the sixteenth-century writer Pierre de Ronsard. Since then she has continued to work on aspects of French music and culture in the Renaissance; her book on the strophic air de cour in the context of court culture, Courtly Song in Late Sixteenth-Century France (University of Chicago Press, 2000), received the 2001 Roland H. Bainton prize for the best book in music or art history. She also works on twentieth-century French music, especially the career of Nadia Boulanger; her monograph The Musical Work of Nadia Boulanger: Performing Past and Future Between the Wars was published by Cambridge University Press in 2013.

Her articles have appeared in the Journal of the American Musicological Society, Early Music History, Early Music, Revue de musicologie, Journal of the Royal Musical Association and Revue belge de musicologie. From 1999 to 2004 she was co-editor of Music & Letters. She has received fellowships and research awards from the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the American Musicological Society and the British Academy, and in 1996 was co-recipient of the American Musicological Society’s Noah Greenberg Award for the best project combining scholarly research and performance practice.


Professor Jeanice Brooks
Building 2 Department of Music University of Southampton Highfield Southampton SO17 1BJ UK

Room Number: 2/2007

Telephone: (023) 8059 2115
Facsimile: (023) 8059 3197