Latest News


West Gallery Music Association research meeting, 6 February 2016

Please see the event page for details.


AMS Award for CHOMBEC Founder, Prof. Stephen Banfield

Prof. Emeritus Stephen Banfield, CHOMBEC’s founding director has been elected a Corresponding Member of the American Musicological Society. Corresponding Members are those who at the time of their election are citizens of countries other than Canada or the United States and who have made particularly notable contributions to furthering the stated object of the American Musicological Society. Three other Corresponding Members were elected: Ismael Fernández de la Cuesta, Laurenz Luetteken, and Susan Rankin. Among Prof. Banfield’s many achievements, CHOMBEC was specifically highlighted by the AMS:

Stephen Banfield was recognized for his significant body of scholarly writings on British music in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries and on popular musical theatre and vernacular music of both Britain and the United States during the same period. We also wish to acknowledge Banfield's establishment of the Centre for the History of Music in Britain, the Empire and the Commonwealth at the University of Bristol, which encourages and supports ongoing research in this broad area. In his own publications, whether on English song, Gerald Finzi, Stephen Sondheim, or Jerome Kern, Banfield's scholarship has broken new ground, while his close analyses have provided readers with a deep understanding of the music. Whether performing or writing, he makes the music come alive.


Publication of Musica Britannica 99: Savoy Curtain-Raisers, edited by CHOMBEC contributor Christopher O'Brien

Shedding light on a little-known aspect of late-Victorian theatre, this volume offers full scores and librettos of two one-act operettas, produced at the Savoy Theatre and written to precede as curtain-raisers the main, full-length work of the evening. Richard D’Oyly Carte did much to cultivate the genre, initiated by Trial by Jury in 1875, and featured regularly at the Savoy Theatre between 1878 and 1908. Though all but forgotten today, the composers François Cellier (1849-1914) and Ernest Ford (1858-1919) had strong connections with Sullivan, and wrote a number of one-act works, of which only Captain Billy (1891) and Mr Jericho (1893) respectively are known to have survived.


Publication of The Music of Frank Bridge

CHOMBEC administrator Fabian Huss reported in the last CHOMBEC News that his book, The Music of Frank Bridge, was nearing publication. We can now announce that it has now been published and is available from Boydell & Brewer. CHOMBEC has a number of promotional 25% discount vouchers available, so please contact Fabian ( if you would like to avail of one.

The book traces Bridge’s remarkable development through its various phases, and seeks to integrate the different strands of his compositional activity into a coherent understanding. Alongside this discussion, there are considerations of many important trends in music, art and culture, in Britain and further afield, creating a wider context for Bridge and his music.



CHOMBEC News 19 is now out - see the Newsletter page. All issues of CHOMBEC News to issue 17 are now available to be downloaded as PDFs.


Funding success

CHOMBEC newsletter's designer and first editor, Philip Lancaster (BA and MA Bristol Music Department), has just been granted a British Academy postdoctoral award to work further on Gurney in the Exeter University English Department.


The News Archive


Robert Saxton scores Archive

A message from Wyndham Thomas:

The University Library has recently acquired a substantial collection of musical scores by Robert Saxton, the distinguished British composer (currently Professor of Composition at Oxford University and one time Lecturer in Bristol's Music Department). A display of a selection of his works, together with a newly published book on his opera /Caritas/, will be mounted on the Ground Floor of the Arts and Social Sciences Library during the month of October. Thereafter, access to the scores and book will be via the usual University Library processes.

Apart from their intrinsic value, these scores will provide a significant research resource and it is intended that the collection will be augmented in due course to become a comprehensive library of Saxton's existing (and future) compositions. The display will be of particular interest to members of CHOMBEC, students planning dissertations on British and/or Contemporary Music, and composers.


Summer 2012

Continued success for CHOMBEC students winning research funds.

Last year PhD candidate and CHOMBEC research student Makiko Hayasaka applied for and received over £4,000 (500,000 yen) in research funds; the award was made by the Konosuke Matsushita Memorial Foundation.  This year, and bridging 2012 and 2013, Makiko's research -- 'Developments in the secularisation and popularisation of organ culture in Britain, 1890-1945' -- will now benefit from a further generous award of £3,330 (400,000 yen) this time from the Kao Foundation for Arts and Sciences, Research Grant for Music.

January 2012


CHOMBEC News 11 is now out - see the Newsletter page.

Music of the Wesleys on Radio 3’s Music Matters

Following the successful launch of Music and the Wesleys, edited by CHOMBEC’s founding director, Stephen Banfield and Illinois University’s Nicholas Temperley, Steven and the book made it to Radio 3’s Music Matters on 12 March.  In the programme, Tom Service interviewed Stephen Banfield at Wesley’s Chapel in East London to discuss the roots of Methodist music-making (click here details about the programme).  Music and the Wesleys is now available from booksellers in the UK including

CHOMBEC Lectures 2011

The latter part of the winter has been a busy time for CHOMBEC.  In February and March three CHOMBEC Lectures were given by Yvette Staelens and Stephen Johnson, with a lecture recital given by Rupert Luck and Matthew Rickard.  We still have two CHOMBEC events before Easter: please visit the Events page.

New committee members

CHOMBEC has been pleased to welcome two new committee members over the winter months: Yvette Staelens and Steven Martin.  Yvette Staelens, who presented the CHOMBEC Lecture, 'The Singing Landscape - meet the ancestors' on 2 March, joins us from Bournemouth University where she is a senior lecturer in Heritage and Museum Studies.  Yvette’s experience with her Folk Maps and The Singing Landscape Project will bring invaluable experience and ideas to the committee.

Steven Martin also joins us as a recently-completed CHOMBEC research student.  Steven was the organiser of the very successful CHOMBEC study day, ‘”O Vision Entrancing”’: a British Opera Study-Day’ on 12th June 2010.

January 2011

Bristol postgraduate guests on Aled Jones's Radio 3 programme, The Choir

Postgraduate student David Bednall recently appeared as Aled Jones's guest on BBC Radio 3's The Choir. The 90 minute programme focused on Organist Composers and how this tradition, which stems back to Couperin and beyond, is still very much alive. David is currently studying for a PhD in Composition with Professor John Pickard and is Sub Organist at Bristol Cathedral; prior to this he was Assistant Organist at Wells Cathedral and Gloucester Cathedral and so has been immersed in the cathedral choral tradition for most of his life. Subjects discussed included the contrasts between cathedral music in Britain and Europe, influential composers for the church and the importance of the choral canon, both in historical terms and as a continuing inspiration to contemporary composers as part of a living tradition. The programme featured some of his own works (including Missa Sancti Pauli) and works by great representatives of the cathedral canon, including Finzi, Howells, David Briggs and Langlais.

November 2010

Music of the Wesleys - book launch

Music and the Wesleys edited by CHOMBEC's founding Director, Professor Stephen Banfield and Nicholas Temperley has been published by the University of Illinois Press.  This is CHOMBEC's first major publication and arose from the 2007 CHOMBEC conference, 'Music, Cultural History and the Wesleys'.  Copies may be bought from an other booksellers.

Music and the Wesleys was launched in the UK by Professor Banfield with a lunchtime concert.  This took place on 19 November 2010 at The New Room, Broadmead, Bristol.  Full details of the launch and concert can be found on the Events page.

July 2010


CHOMBEC News 9 (summer 2010) is now out: please click here for details.
All back-issues of CHOMBEC News to Issue 7 are available for download from the same page.

CHOMBEC study centre

CHOMBEC is to be provided with a study room within the Victoria Rooms at Bristol University.  This will provide much more convenient access to some of our archive materials, and will be equipped with audio facilities and a micro-fiche reader for researchers.  It is hoped that the study room will be completed over the summer.

Sounds of Stonehenge

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

February 2010


CHOMBEC News 8 (winter 2009/10) is now out: please click here for details.


CHOMBEC News 6 is now available to download as a PDF: please click here.

July 2009

Additions to the Archives

New archive sources on Edgar Hunt, Sir Michael Tippett, John Raynor, and a combined archive for Frank Merrick and Evelyn Hope Squire have all recently been added to the University's Special Collections: further details can be found at the Resources pages.

Special Book Offer

CHOMBEC has been donated a large stock of new copies of Edgar Hunt’s book on Robert Lucas Pearsall, privately published in 1977. We offer them for sale at £7.50 each. Secure your order with a cheque payable to the University of Bristol, adding £2.50 for each copy that needs to be mailed. (Copies will be sent surface mail to territories beyond Europe.) Proceeds will offset CHOMBEC’s general expenditure. Send your cheque and order to Stephen Banfield, Department of Music, University of Bristol, Victoria Rooms, Queens Road, Bristol, BS8 1SA, UK.

December 2007

December 2007: William Byrd project success

CHOMBEC’s research project co-hosted with LUCEM (Leeds University Centre for English Music), William Byrd: The Songs and English Church Music, has had its proposal for a two volume study of the English texted music of William Byrd accepted for publication by Boydell & Brewer.

December 2007: CHOMBEC receives the Bristol Madrigal Society archive

The American and British Musical: conference programmes for sale

10 April 2007

In March 2006, CHOMBEC held its first conference, titled The American and British Musical: An international colloquium on preserving the heritage and exploiting the sources. Copes of the conference programme are still available for sale at £2 each, inclusive of UK postage and packing. Programmes can also be dispatched overseas for a total charge of £3. Payment can be made by sending a cheque made payable to 'University of Bristol', to CHOMBEC Development Officer, Department of Music, University of Bristol, Queen's Road, Bristol BS8 1SA.

Another Archive for CHOMBEC

CHOMBEC has recently received the papers of freelance musicologist and translator Stanley Godman (1916-66). His surviving sister, Mrs Mary Stone, lives in Bristol and was happy to find a home for them; we are grateful to her for the donation and plan to have them accessioned, catalogued and used or archived in a combination of the Music Department’s Study and Resource Centre and the university Arts and Social Sciences Library. A small collection, they include valuable facsimile editions of J S Bach, copies of books Godman translated from the German, including Friedrich Blume’s Two Centuries of Bach, typescripts and offprints of Godman’s articles and radio broadcasts, correspondence with Reginald Redman (whose papers are also in the Bristol University library), a file of musicological work on Samuel Wesley, items relating to the recorder revival, and four signed letters from Vaughan Williams, one of them holograph. Godman, a man of many historical interests and much expertise, took a German honours degree at University College London and was teaching English at Berlin University just before war broke out in 1939; back in Britain, wartime uncertainties and evacuations in connection with various teaching posts led eventually to a freelance existence based in Brighton. We hope to report more fully in due course.

Forthcoming conference: Music, Culture and the Wesleys

CHOMBEC's second conference will be held on 9-10 July 2007.

British Academy Research Grant success for CHOMBEC Director

30 June 2006

CHOMBEC's Founding Director, Stephen Banfield, has been awarded a British Academy small research grant of £5199 for a part of his Empire project, Music in the British Empire: a documentary history through the general press, 1765-1965. This will be an annotated anthology of musical source readings found in newspapers from around the anglophone world over two centuries, ranging from advertisements and announcements to reviews and leading articles in which music features centrally or casually. The grant will mostly be spent on about 150 day visits, over the coming two years, to the British Library's amazing range of holdings at the National Newspaper Library in Colindale.

Centre acquires its first archive holdings

June 2006

CHOMBEC has acquired the manuscripts of the prolific English song composer, championed by Ralph Vaughan Williams, John Raynor (1909-1970). We hope to post further details about the collection on the Resources page of this site in due course