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Professor Rachel Cowgill
Professor of Music



Rachel is a cultural-historical musicologist whose current research focuses on these areas:

  • Mozart reception
  • opera studies
  • British music and musical cultures
  • musical internationalism, diplomacy and commemoration
  • music, gender and identity
  • digital musicology, archives and performance histories

Her publications include co-edited volumes on Music and Ideas of North (forthcoming for Routledge), The Arts of the Prima Donna in the Long Nineteenth Century (OUP, 2012), Art and Ideology in European Opera (Boydell & Brewer, 2010), Victorian Soundscapes Revisited (LCVS, 2007), Music in the British Provinces, 1690-1914 (Ashgate/Routledge, 2007/2017), and Europe, Empire and Spectacle in Nineteenth-Century British Music (Ashgate/Routledge, 2006/2017).

Her work has been supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council UK, Leverhulme Trust, British Academy, American Musicological Society, UK Government Community Renewal Fund, and by visiting fellowships from the Huntington Library
California, Clare Hall Cambridge, and the University of Cambridge Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH).

Rachel studied at Goldsmiths College and King’s College London, graduating with an MMus in Historical Musicology and PhD on the reception of Mozart’s music in late Georgian London. She joined the University of York in 2019, following professorships at Huddersfield (Head of Music and Drama, 2014-19), Cardiff (Head of School, 2013-14) and Liverpool Hope universities, and a senior lectureship at the University of Leeds.

Rachel has been a Vice-President of the Royal Musical Association (2012-17), Chair of the National Association for Music in Higher Education (2013-16; Vice-Chair, 2016-18), a Director of the North-American British Music Studies Association (NABMSA), and
Chair of the RMA’s LGBTQI Music Study Group. She is a former editor-in-chief of the Journal of the Royal Musical Association (2007-13) and founding co-editor (since 2006) of the Boydell and Brewer book series 'Music in Britain, 1600-2000', which now lists over thirty titles.

At York, Rachel is currently University Research Theme Champion for Creativity, Chair of the Faculty Promotions Panel for Arts and Humanities, and Co-Chair of the Committee for Partnerships and Engagement in the School of Arts and Creative Technologies. She is also Principal Investigator for the InterMusE project, ‘The Internet of Musical Events: Digital Scholarship, Community, and the Archiving of Performance’ (AHRC 2021-23), and project lead for ‘StreetLife: Using York’s Historic High Streets as Heritage Catalysts for Community Renewal’ (UK CRF and HEIF 2021-23).

Rachel is an experienced doctoral supervisor and mentor for early career research fellowships (Leverhulme Trust and Marie Sklodowska-Curie Global Actions schemes).

Professional fellowships and memberships:

  • Fellow of the Royal Historical Society (FRHistS)
  • Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA)
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA)
  • Member of the Chartered Management Institute (MCMI)
  • Member of the AHRC UK Peer-Review College
  • Member of the Executive Group of the York Culture Forum (by election)
  • Member of York Archaeological Trust




• Music and the First World War in Britain

• Music and Modernity in Early Twentieth-Century British Culture

• Blackface Minstrelsy in Britain

• Collective Performance and Negotiated Identities in Nineteenth-Century British Music

• Gender and Adaptation in Nineteenth-Century British Productions of Mozart’s operas

• The Victorian Reception of Mozart’s Requiem

• Operatic Femininities

• Music and Global Norths

• Archival Research and Digital Musicologies




  • Mozart Opera


  • MA Music Education: Leadership and Management in Music Education (module leader)
  • Contributions to MA Musicology
  • PhD and MA by Research
    • Current students include: Rachel Adie-Rhodes, Philip Boardman, Sophie Iddles

Contact details

Professor Rachel Cowgill
School of Arts and Creative Technologies
University of York
YO10 5GB

Tel: +44 (0)1904 32 2430