CHOMBEC events


There are no CHOMBEC events in the online diary at present.


The following events may be of interest to CHOMBEC members:

Pastoralism and modernity in the Southern mountains: a centenary symposium on Cecil Sharp's 1916 Appalachian journey

Call for papers.

To commemorate the centenary of Sharp and Karpeles expedition to the Appalachian mountains, the English Folk Dance and Song Society is organising a conference on 16 July 2016, to take place at Cecil Sharp House in London.


Deadline, 18 March 2016


All university seminars are free and are held in Victoria's Room, Victoria Rooms, Queens Road, Bristol BS8 1SA, unless otherwise stated.
A full list of the Music Department's Research Seminars can be seen here: Music Research Seminars and Events

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Archive of past events

West Gallery Music Association research meeting, 6 February 2016

6 February 2016.

The meeting will begin at 10.45 and end at 4.00, no registration is required.

Funny Tones. Music in British Film and Television Comedy

7th July 2015

Taking British Music(s) Abroad: Soundscapes of the Imperial Message

16 June 2015


The State We're In: Directions in Researching post-1900 British Music

A two-day  interdisciplinary conference convened by Dr Joanna Bullivant and Dr Christopher Mark

16-17 April 2015, University of Surrey, Guildford

Georgian Pleasures: A two-day  interdisciplinary conference organised by the Centre For Musical Research and the Centre for History and Culture, Bath Spa University

12-13 September 2013, Holburne Museum, Bath

Music Histories/Theatre Histories series seminar: 'What the military did for music in the long nineteenth century'

Prof Trevor Herbert (Open University)

Wednesday, 27 February 2013, 1.00 - 1.50pm

Research seminar: 'The Moment we’ve been waiting for: Representing post-war British identity in six operas from the Festival of Britain'

Prof. Nathaniel Lew, Benjamin Meaker visiting professor

Tuesday 8 May 2012, 4.30 - 5.30pm

Music Histories/Theatre Histories series seminar: 'Revitalising the prom: popular history and performance at the seaside'

Dr Jane Milling (University of Exeter)

Tuesday, 1 May 2012, 1.00 - 1.50pm


Spring 2011 CHOMBEC lectures & Music Research Seminars

Spring 2011 - CHOMBEC lectures & the Music Research Seminar Series

Research seminar - Matthew Spring (Bath Spa University): 18th-century music in Bath

Tue, 03 May 2011, 16:30 - 17:30
Victoria's Room, Victoria Rooms

Evening concert: Bristol University Choral Society and Symphony Orchestra

Please note details - below - of the introductory talk by Michael Butterfield, Chairman of the Great Western Branch of the Elgar Society at 11.00 am.

Saturday 26 March 2011, 19:30 - 22:00
Auditorium, Victoria Rooms

Marianne Cotterill (soprano)
Cari Searle (alto)
Elliot Goldie (tenor)
Conducted by John Pickard

The spectre at the feast

  • Elgar: The Black Knight
  • Mahler: Das Klagende Lied (revised version)

These two cantatas are both early pieces in their composers' output and are both based on old German tales of the supernatural. Premiered in 1893, Elgar's 'Choral Symphony' was his first large scale work. It sets a poem by Longfellow, telling of a mysterious stranger who rides into a royal court to wreak destruction. Mahler's astonishing cantata (composed when he was just 18) is the story of two brothers who quarrel over the hand of a princess. One murders the other and marries the princess. The wedding feast is in full swing, until a minstrel arrives carrying a flute fashioned from a human bone... Join us for a rare opportunity to enjoy these spooky tales!

This event will be preceded by a talk by Michael Butterfield, Chairman of the Great Western Branch of the Elgar Society about the work from 11.00 to 12.30 in the Victoria Rooms.

Michael Butterfield is chairman of the South Western branch of the Elgar Society, and is one of their most experienced speakers.  His talk will take the form of a Powerpoint presentation with CDs and examples on the piano.  He will show how Elgar illustrates the story of The Black Knight through his music, making particular reference to his use of leitmotifs and the Wagnerian influence.  He will also show how this early work looks ahead to the great works that follow, and will consider the cantata as a choral symphony.

CHOMBEC lecture: 'The Singing Landscape - meet the ancestors', Yvette Staelens (Senior Lecturer in Heritage and Museum Studies, Bournemouth University)

Wed, 02 March 2011, 17:15 - 18:30
Auditorium, Victoria Rooms

This lecture examines the Singing Landscape Project, which seeks to research and rediscover the folk singers of England and to reconnect families with their singing ancestors through folk mapping, exhibitions and engagement in museums, galleries and community spaces. Freely distributed Folk Maps for Somerset, Gloucestershire and Hampshire have now been published and will be available after the lecture.

CHOMBEC lecture: 'Conservatism and English music', Stephen Johnson (writer and broadcaster)

Wed, 23 February 2011, 17:15 - 18:30
Auditorium, Victoria Rooms

English music in the first half of the 20th century has a reputation for conservatism. While continental modernists surged forward, many of their English contemporaries seemed unable to disentangle themselves from pastoral nostalgia. But there are notable exceptions, and the more one looks below the stylistic surface, the more original some of these allegedly backward-looking composers reveal themselves to be.

CHOMBEC Lecture-recital: 'A Gem of Purest Ray Serene' - exploring the Sonata for Piano and Violin of Arthur Bliss

Wed, 16 February 2011, 17:15 - 18:30
Auditorium, Victoria Rooms

‘A Gem of Purest Ray Serene’ - exploring the Sonata for Piano and Violin of Arthur Bliss

The Sonata for Piano and Violin by Arthur Bliss has languished in Cambridge University Library for almost one hundred years.  Rupert Luck and Matthew Rickard gave the World Première of the Sonata at the 2010 English Music Festival and their recording is due for release on E.M. Records early in 2011; this lecture-recital is a fascinating account of the process of editing the manuscript for performance and the issues surrounding its practical realisation.  Their description of this remarkable work will be lavishly illustrated with musical examples, including the first-ever live performance of its original version.

Lunchtime concert: Gemini

Wed, 09 February 2011, 13:15 - 14:00
Auditorium, Victoria Rooms

Ian Mitchell (clarinets)
Sophie Harris
Huw Watkins (piano)

  • Anthony Powers: Trio   
  • Huw Watkins: Double
  • Ian Gardiner: Trio 
  • John Pickard: Snowbound (first performance)

The versatile and exciting contemporary music group Gemini (currently our ensemble-in-residence) has enthralled audiences and critics the world over with the sheer brilliance and exuberance of its performances. Since its formation thirty-five years ago, it has energetically championed the finest music of our time; four of its CDs have been voted critics’ Disc of the Year, including a recent recording of Maxwell Davies’ chamber music. Today’s programme showcases four exciting British compositions for clarinet, cello and piano, including a new work by Professor John Pickard.

Music and the Wesleys  - book launch and  lunchtime concert

19 November, 2010

1.20pm, The New Room (John Wesley's Chapel), Broadmead, Bristol

Music and the Wesleys will be launched in the UK at The New Room, Broadmead by its co-editor, Professor Stephen Banfield on 19 November, 2010.  The launch will be accompanied by a concert of music by the Wesleys and will be feature a choir from the University of Bristol conducted by Tom Williams.  The programme will include organ voluntaries by Charles and Samuel Wesley and Samuel Sebastian Wesley's magnificent and little-known anthem 'To my request and earnest cry'.

Worlds to Conquer: the travelling virtuoso in the long 19th century
(4th CHOMBEC Conference)

Stephen Banfield's Worlds to Conquer conference, 5-7 July, 2010. 
Conference book and programme details (closed), click here.

CHOMBEC Workshops

John Pickard (CHOMBEC Director) discusses his new orchestral work, Tenebrae.

27 April, 2010
4:30pm, Victoria Rooms, Bristol.  Admission free.

Stephen Banfield (CHOMEBC founding Director): Research into Music in the West Country.

11 May, 2010
4:30pm, Victoria Rooms, Bristol.  Admission free.

British Opera Study-Day

12 June, 2010, Victoria Rooms, Bristol.  For details click here.

7th Conference on Music in 19th-Century Britain (2009)

23-26 July, 2009

CHOMBEC is supporting the conference which is being held at the Department of Music, University of Bristol, 23-26 July, 2009.
For full details of the conference and the programme of events, please see the Conference web page.

The Sounds of Stonehenge

 - Papers from the ‘Sounds of Stonehenge’ conference have now been published: please contact our administrator, James Hobson.

Friday, 28 November, 2008

A one-day CHOMBEC workshop at the Department of Music, Bristol University.

Hardy’s Tess encounters it unseen, as nocturnal sound, the humming of an aeolian harp. What other soundscapes has Stonehenge generated, suggested or inspired in the 5000 years since construction began? Come to this workshop and explore the cultural history of Stonehenge, from the acoustics and musical instruments of Neolithic England to the representation of megaliths in 20th-century British art music, Stonehenge’s film music, and its rock music - in the most recent sense.

The following speakers will contribute:

  • Ronald Hutton: ‘The cultural history of Stonehenge’.
  • Tim Darvill: ‘Stonehenge in rock’.
  • Aaron Watson and John Crewdson: ‘Instruments of ritual’, a multimedia presentation of music and visuals.
  • Simon Wyatt: ‘Soul music: instruments in an animistic age’.
  • Guido Heldt: ‘Stonehenge and its film music’.
  • Stephen Banfield: ‘Megaliths in 20th-century English art music’.
  • Joshua Pollard: ‘Stonehenge: notes towards an acoustic archaeology’.

Spring 2010 - CHOMBEC lectures

Bristol University Singers: music by Gibbons, Tallis, Howells and Walton

3 March, 2010

3rd CHOMBEC Lecture - Paul Harper-Scott: Post-war women in Britten's operas

Wednesday 17 March 2010

Guest speaker: Paul Harper-Scott (Royal Holloway, University of London).
Women's roles in society and the workplace expanded enormously after 1945 in Britain, but pre-war attitudes to the nature of women were resistant to change. From Ellen Orford in Peter Grimes through Lucretia to Albert Herring's mother, women figure in important roles in Britten's operas of the 1940s. This talk will examine their sometimes challenging presentation and reflect on Britten's sympathy for the underdog.

Autumn 2009 - CHOMBEC lectures & the Music Research Seminar Series

Alexandra Buckle (University of Oxford): ‘Fit for a King’: Music and Iconography in the Beauchamp Chapel, Warwick

Tues. 27 October, 2009, 16:3 - 17:30

Guido Heldt: What did the Germans ever do for us? Reflections on an uneasy musical relationship

Guido Heldt has been Lecturer in Music at Bristol University since 2004, and before that taught at the Free University Berlin and at Wilfrid Laurier University, Ontario. A book on English tone poems in the early 20th century and forthcoming articles on Haydn and musical urbanity and on the 1942 film The Great Mr. Handel have led to a few ideas about Anglo-German musical relationships which will be explored in the lecture.

Wednesday 25 November 2009, 17:15 - 18:30

CHOMBEC lecture - Tom Sutcliffe: Can opera become habit-forming in the English-speaking world?

Tom Sutcliffe was editor of Music and Musicians from 1968 to 1973. He was music, opera, and drama critic in Vogue from 1975 to 1987, and opera critic in The Guardian from 1973 to 1996, and in Evening Standard from 1996. He wrote the book Believing in Opera (1996) and is currently working on a Leverhulme Research Fellowship project concerned with the ecology of opera and spoken theatre.

Wednesday 28 October 2009, 17:15 - 18:30

Music Research Seminar Series, Spring 2010

A Tuesday afternoon series of seminars held at the Victoria Rooms, 16:30-17:30.
Admission is free and all are welcome.

Nicholas Nourse and Douglas Stevens (University of Bristol): work in progress papers

Tuesday, 16 February 2010, 16:30 - 17:30

Fabian Huss (University of Bristol): Frank Bridge and a French hexachord

Tuesday, 9 February 2010, 16:30 - 17:30

Music Research Seminar Series, Autumn 2008/09

Rachel Milestone (University of Leeds): ‘A New Impetus to the Love of Music’: The Role of the Town Hall in Nineteenth-Century English Musical Culture
Tue, 17 November, 2009, 16:30 - 17:30

Research Seminar - Sally Harper: Wales, the true remnant of the ancient Britons? English perceptions of late medieval Welsh musical culture
Tue, 04 November 2008, 16:30 - 17:30

Research Seminar - Wyndham Thomas: Tom Moore - Making Music with the Nobility in Wiltshire and beyond (c.1820-1850)
Tue, 11 November 2008, 16:30 - 17:30

Research Seminar - Sue Cole: Traditions and revivals: continuity and change in the late nineteenth-century reception of the English virginalists
Tue, 02 December 2008, 16:30 - 17:30

Research Seminar/Lecture-Recital - Raymond Clarke and Professor Anthony Powers: Elliott Carter's Piano Sonata and Night Fantasies
Tue, 09 December 2008, 16:30 - 17:30
We will hear complete performances of the two major piano works by America’s most senior composer, Elliott Carter, who celebrates his 100th birthday on 11th December and is still actively composing. Carter describes Night Fantasies as 'a piano piece of continuously changing moods, suggesting the fleeting thoughts and feelings that pass through the mind during a period of wakefulness at night', a work in which he wanted 'to capture the poetic moodiness that, in an earlier romantic context, was enjoyed in works of Robert Schumann like Kreisleriana, Carnaval and Davidsbündlertänze'.

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Rubbra Revived: Sinfonia Sacra and Beyond

Saturday 15 March 2008
An afternoon workshop preceding a rare performance of Edmund Rubbra's Ninth Symphony. An event not to be missed!
Click here for full details.

Vaughan Williams, Hardy and the Ninth Symphony

Saturday 9 February 2008
14:00-16:30, Victoria Rooms. Concert 19:30.

2008 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the death of Ralph Vaughan Williams.
This CHOMBEC workshop precedes an all-Vaughan Williams concert given the same evening by the Bristol University Singers, conductor Glyn Jenkins, performing the Mass in G minor and the Bristol University Symphony Orchestra, conductor John Pickard, performing the Ninth Symphony.
New insights into this, Vaughan Williams’s most enigmatic symphony, especially its hidden associations with Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the d’Urbervilles, were revealed in Alain Frogley’s authoritative 2001 account (Oxford University Press). The workshop will reflect on these associations in papers by David Manning and John Pickard. Mark Asquith, author of Thomas Hardy, Metaphysics and Music (Palgrave Macmillan, 2005) will consider the wider issue of Hardy and music and Diana McVeagh will discuss the reception of Vaughan Williams’s later music in the years immediately after his death.

To book tickets for this concert, please contact the Concerts Office.

Music Research Seminar Series, February-May 2008

A Tuesday afternoon series of seminars held at the Victoria Rooms, 16:30-17:30.
Admission is free and all are welcome.

Tuesday 5 February 2008
'Seeking Otto: uncovering the life of a professional musician in Edwardian Bath through musicological research and original composition'
Richard Barnard (Bristol)

Tuesday 19 February 2008
'The guitar and iconography'
Andrew Britton (Royal Holloway)

Tuesday 26 February 2008
'E J Moeran: a twin heritage'
Barry Marsh (Newton Abbot)

Tuesday 11 March 2008
'William Sterndale Bennett: his influence on 19th-century music in Britain'
Barry Sterndale-Bennett (Trinity College of Music)

Tuesday 18 March 2008
'Why did the vicar remove the organ? Work in progress on music in the British Empire'
Stephen Banfield (University of Bristol)

Tuesday 22 April 2008
'19th-century Leipzig, a centre for study and performance: musical fact or myth?'
Christopher Fifield (University of Bristol)

Tuesday 6 May 2008
'The land without opera? Investigating 20th-century British operatic culture'
Alexandra Wilson (Oxford Brookes University)

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Bristol University Singers: works by Britten and Pickard

Wednesday 5 December 2007
7.30pm. Victoria Rooms.
Benjamin Britten A Boy was Born; John Pickard Ave Maris Stella and A better time than ours.
Conducted by Glyn Jenkins

Bristol University Symphony Orchestra: Elgar/Payne Symphony No.3

Saturday 1 December 2007
7.30pm. Victoria Rooms.
performed with Richard Strauss Death and Transfiguration.
Conducted by John Pickard

Music Research Seminar. Paul Rodmell (University of Birmingham): 'Damned ugly me bhoy: Sir Charles Stanford and modernism'

Tuesday 6 November 2007
16:30 - 17:30. Victoria's Room (G16), Victoria Rooms.

Music Research Seminar. John Irving (University of Bristol): 'The Mobbs Keyboard Collection II: Playing the Viennese classics'

Tuesday 30 October 2007
16:30 - 17:30. Victoria's Room (G16), Victoria Rooms.

Music Research Seminar. Kenneth Mobbs (Bristol): 'The Mobbs Keyboard Collection I: its formation and research potential'

Tuesday 9 October 2007
16:30 - 17:30. Victoria's Room (G16), Victoria Rooms.

Music, cultural history and the Wesleys: a conference to mark the 300th anniversary of Charles Wesley's birth

9-10 July 2007
Victoria Rooms, University of Bristol.

The conference programme is available. Follow the link to get full details and to book your place at CHOMBEC's 2nd annual conference.

Music Research Seminar. Aidan Thomson (Queen’s University, Belfast): 'Mysticism and narrative in The Dream of Gerontius'

Tuesday 1 May 2007
16:30 - 17:30. Victoria's Room (G16), Victoria Rooms.

Music Research Seminar. Tim Barringer (Yale University): 'The Audio-Visual Nexus: London-Delhi 1911-12'

Tuesday 8 May 2007
16:30 - 17:30. Victoria's Room (G16), Victoria Rooms.

Celebrating George Dyson

17 March 2007

George Dyson’s rarely heard choral work, The Canterbury Pilgrims, will be performed by University of Bristol Choral Society and Symphony Orchestra directed by Glyn Jenkins, at 7.30pm on Saturday 17 March 2007. To book tickets for this concert, please contact the Concerts Office. A poster advertising the event can be downloaded from here: Dyson poster (Microsoft Word, 0.5 Mb).

This concert will be preceded by a CHOMBEC afternoon workshop titled ‘Geoffrey Chaucer, George Dyson and The Canterbury Pilgrims’. The contributors include Freeman Dyson (Princeton University), who is the composer’s son and has written about his father and The Canterbury Pilgrims in his well-known essays as a nuclear physicist who worked with Robert Oppenheimer and others; Lewis Foreman (University of Birmingham), who has been closely associated with many professional recordings of Dyson’s music; John Burrow (University of Bristol), Emeritus Winterstoke Professor in the Department of English and an erstwhile collaborator with Nevill Coghill in his work on Chaucer; and Stephen Banfield (CHOMBEC, University of Bristol). The workshop runs from 1.30 to 4.30 pm, and is followed by the annual reception for CHOMBEC Friends at 4.45 pm. (Friends will be notified separately about this in due course.) Tickets are free to CHOMBEC Friends, or can be purchased at £10 each. The ticket charge includes membership of the CHOMBEC Friends scheme until summer 2008.

To book your place on the workshop, email or write to: CHOMBEC Development Officer, Department of Music, Victoria Rooms, Queen’s Road, Clifton, Bristol BS8 1SA. Payment can be made by cheque, payable to ‘University of Bristol’.

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Music Research Seminar. Ed Venn (University of Lancaster): ' "Singing the blues for Mr. Charlie": Blues, metaphor and archetype in Michael Tippett's The Knot Garden'

Tuesday 6 February 2007
16:30 - 17:30. Victoria's Room (G16), Victoria Rooms.

Music Research Seminar. Corissa Gould (Royal Holloway, University of London): 'Unmasking the Masquerade: Elgar, Imperialism and Masculinity'

Tuesday 12 December 2006
16:30 - 17:30. Victoria's Room (G16), Victoria Rooms.

Music Research Seminar. James Hobson (University of Bristol): 'Robert Lucas Pearsall and the West Country connection'

Tuesday 28 November 2006
16:30 - 17:30. Victoria's Room (G16), Victoria Rooms.

Dayschool: Robert Pearsall - Bristol's Forgotten Composer

Saturday 11 November 2006

Stephen Banfield MA DPhil FRCO
Richard Crewdson BA
James Hobson BA PGDipLaw
Jonathan Small

The historical and musical significance of Bristol-born composer, Robert Lucas Pearsall (1795-1856), is becoming far better appreciated as new research brings to light many previously unpublished manuscripts and scores. Following the Bristol premiere of his Requiem Mass in November 2006, this dayschool will explore Pearsall's life and music, focussing particularly on the madrigals and part-songs, and evaluating his role as founding member of the Bristol Madrigal Society.

Dayschool from 10.00 am to 4.00 pm, Fee £21.00

Music Research Seminar. Sarah Street (University of Bristol): ‘Got to dance my way to heaven’: Jessie Matthews and the British film musical of the 1930s

Tuesday 31 October 2006
16:30 - 17:30. Victoria's Room (G16), Victoria Rooms.

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