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Professor Rachel Cowgill
Professor of Music



Rachel joined the University of York as Professor of Music in 2019. Previously she held professorships at Huddersfield (Head of Music and Drama, 2014-19), Cardiff (Head of School, 2013-14) and Liverpool Hope universities, following a senior lectureship at the University of Leeds. She studied for her first degree at Goldsmiths College and for a Masters and PhD in musicology at King’s College, focusing on the reception of Mozart’s music in late Georgian London.

Currently, Rachel is University Research Theme Champion for Creativity, Principal Investigator on the AHRC-funded project, ‘The Internet of Musical Events: Digital Scholarship, Community, and the Archiving of Performance’ (InterMusE) (2021-23), and lead for the UK CRF-funded StreetLife project (2021-22).

Rachel's research focuses on music in cultural history, encompassing Mozart; opera studies; British music and musical cultures; musical internationalism, diplomacy and commemoration; performance and reception histories; and music, gender and identity. Her publications include the co-edited volumes Music and Ideas of North (forthcoming for Routledge), The Arts of the Prima Donna in the Long Nineteenth Century (OUP, 2012), and Art and Ideology in European Opera (Boydell, 2010), and her current monograph projects draw partly on the John Foulds-Maud MacCarthy archive held here at the University of York. Rachel’s work has been supported by the AHRC, Leverhulme Trust, British Academy, American Musicological Society and fellowships from the Huntington Library California, Clare Hall Cambridge and CRASSH.

Rachel has been a Vice-President of the Royal Musical Association (2012-17) and Chair of the National Association for Music in Higher Education (2013-16; Vice-Chair, 2016-18). She is a former editor-in-chief of the Journal of the Royal Musical Association (2007-13) and co-founding editor of the book series 'Music in Britain, 1600-2000' for Boydell & Brewer (from 2006).

Rachel is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society (FRHistS), Royal Society of Arts (FRSA), and Higher Education Academy (FHEA); a member of the AHRC Peer-Review College (Strategic Reviewer); chair of the Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion in Music Studies (EDIMS) Resource Development Working Group; and a Director of the North American British Music Studies Association.



• 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
Professor of Music
School of Arts and Creative Technologies
University of York
YO10 5DD

Tel: +44 (0)1904 322430