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The University of Southampton
MusicPart of Humanities

Research Group: Music Performance Research

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Musical performance at Southampton is developed as a research activity by professional performers, and musicologists and music technologists whose study of performance and performance practice includes work with professional soloists, ensembles and institutions, particularly of European art music.

We have particular strengths in early music; keyboard performance; contemporary music; creating and implementing critical editions; and conductor studies. Our work includes films and live performance of music in historic houses and museums, in collaboration with heritage sector partners such as the National Trust, English Heritage, the Horniman Museum and the Museum of Sydney. Our research regularly features on BBC television (BBC2 and BBC4), radio (Radio 3 and 4) and ABC Classic FM.

David Owen Norris performs internationally on both modern pianos and ancient fortepianos. His recent CD releases include the complete Chamber Music of Grace Williams on Naxos; complete songs of Sir William Sterndale Bennett on EM Records, The Jupiter Project on Hyperion, and Mendelssohn’s Songs without Words for Prima Facie. These recordings are distinguished by their investigation into and reconsideration of nineteenth-century expression markings.

Francesco Izzo and Candida Mantica are experts in creating and implementing critical editions of operatic scores. Mantica had a central role in assembling and creating a performing version of Donizetti’s L'ange de Nisida, which was performed at the 2019 Donizetti Opera Festival in Bergamo, Italy. Izzo’s critical editions and work as a consultant have led to collaborations regularly with companies including Welsh National Opera, Royal Opera House, Glyndebourne Festival and Salzburg Festival. He is director of the Comitato Scientifico of the Festival Verdi at the Teatro Regio in Parma and has worked with renowned conductors, stage directors and singers. Emeritus professor Laurie Stras’s work as co-director of the early music ensembles Musica Secreta and Celestial Sirens has brought previously neglected music by and for Renaissance women to broad audiences through concert performance and a series of award-winning recordings.

In contemporary music, Jane Chapman was an affiliate artist to the AHRC Research Centre for Musical Performance as Creative Practice and regularly works with internationally leading composers and performers. Benjamin Oliver is conductor and director of Workers Union Ensemble, and Matthew Shlomowitz is co-director of Ensemble Plus Minus. Jeanice Brooks has collaborated on new compositions and installations with Aura Satz, Laura Bowler, Larry Goves and Leo Grant for museums and other heritage sites. Richard Polfreman and Benjamin Oliver’s Capturing the Contemporary Conductor project use motion capture technology to help in the development of tools for the modelling and analysis of contemporary conducting gesture both for conductor performance studies and real-time gesture control in electroacoustic music performance.

Work in performance is enhanced by the location on campus of Turner Sims, with a full calendar of professional concerts and workshops as well as University activities. Our keyboard collection includes an impressive range of historic and modern keyboard instruments; these and other departmental instruments are available for use by students researching performance topics.


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