Peter Atkinson

Department of Music
Doctoral researcher

Contact details

PhD Title: British Music and Wagnerism: 1880-1930
Supervisor: Dr Ben Earle and Dr Matthew Riley
PhD Musicology

Qualifications

  • BMus (1st Class) University of Sheffield (2012)
  • MA Music (Distinction) University of Birmingham (2013)

Biography

I graduated with a first class honours degree in music from the University of Sheffield in 2012 and subsequently studied for an MA in music (specialising in British music studies) at the University of Birmingham, which I completed with distinction in September 2013.

Teaching

  • Postgraduate Teaching Assistant, University of Birmingham (September 2013-Present):
    • Romantic and Twentieth-Century Music: History and Analysis, (first-year undergraduate module, seminar leader).
    • Baroque and Classical Music: History and Analysis (first-year undergraduate module, seminar leader).
    • Critical Musicology (second-year undergraduate module, lecturer on Ecomusicology).
  • Postgraduate Workshop Leader for the College of Arts and Law Academic Writing Advisory Service (September 2015-Present):
    • I run workshops and individual tutorials to assist undergraduate students with essay writing skills, study techniques and effective interpretation of marking criteria and feedback.

Research

My AHRC-funded doctoral research is concerned with the pervasive and multifaceted influence of Wagner’s music, aesthetics and politics on British composers during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The thesis includes, among other things, an in-depth study of Hubert Parry’s unpublished (and largely unperformed) mid-1880s opera Guenever; a discussion of musical ekphrasis, interart aesthetics, intermediality and Pre-Raphaelitism in relation to the Scottish composer William Wallace’s Wagnerian symphonic poem The Passing of Beatrice (1892); an examination of Granville Bantock’s 1892 opera Caedmar and Wagnerian-influenced ‘Celtic’ conceptions of nature; a new perspective on Elgar’s Wagnerism, looking at the notion of community (‘Gemeinschaft’) and fellowship in a number of his works and their relationship with Wagner’s Die Meistersinger; a Hepokoskian analysis and hermeneutic reading of Arnold Bax’s tone picture Tintagel (1917–19) in relation to Irish Wagnerism, Republicanism, Theosophy and the 1916 Easter Rising; and finally a consideration of Joseph Holbrooke’s operatic trilogy and the music dramas and politics of Rutland Boughton.

Other Research Interests 

  • I am interested in the historiography of British music, analysis (especially Classical form, and the application of Hepokoski and Darcy’s Sonata Theory to later repertoires) and hermeneutics, musical criticism and journalism, the reception of musical modernism in Britain, musical ‘Celticism’, interart relationships (and related concepts of intermediality and ekphrasis), and music and nature (ecomusicology). 
  • My master’s thesis focussed on the reception of the works of Cyril Scott (1879–1970), and aimed at elucidating what musical modernism actually meant to critics and audiences in the years before the First World War. 
  • In addition to work already published, I have written a chapter on Scott’s reception for a planned multi-authored book on the composer. I am also currently writing an article, based on part of my doctoral research, on the composer William Wallace, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, musical ekphrasis and intermediality. 
  • I would be happy discuss any aspect of my research with interested parties. Please contact me at pja263@bham.ac.uk, or via Twitter: @peterjatkinson.

Other activities

Between January 2014 and January 2016, I was the Student Representative for the Royal Musical Association (RMA), and acted as chair of the RMA Student Committee from January 2015. I was co-editor of the RMA Student Blog.

I have been on the programme committee, or been involved in the organisation of the following conferences and study days: North-West Postgraduate Music Exchange Conference, Bangor University, 16 March 2013; Royal Musical Association’s Research Students’ Conference, University of Birmingham, 6–8 January 2014; ‘The State We’re In: Directions In Researching Post-1900 British Music’, University of Surrey, 16–17 April 2015; ‘Music and Mobilities’, A Joint Study Day of the Royal Musical Association and the British Forum for Ethnomusicology, University of Oxford, 15 May 2015; BFE/RMA Research Students’ Conference, Bangor University, 6–8 January 2016.

Funding/Awards

  • Royal Musical Association Small Research Grant, £170, 2016.
  • University of Birmingham, College of Arts & Law Graduate School PG Research Support Fund, £195, 2015.
  • Musica Britannica, Louise Dyer Award, £100, 2015.
  • AHRC BGP Doctoral Award, maintenance grant starting at £13,726 per annum, and fees of £3900 per annum, 2013-16.
  • University of Birmingham, College of Arts and Law Fees Scholarship (Research Preparation Masters), £4950, 2012-13.
  • University of Sheffield, Thomas Beecham Scholarship (for highest overall marks in academic year), £750, 2010.

Publications

Journal Articles

  • ‘“An Ireland Built Anew”: Bax’s Tintagel and the Easter Rising’, Music & Letters, 97 (Feb. 2016).
  • ‘The Royal Musical Association’s 51st Annual Conference’ [Conference Report], Newsletter of the Royal Musical Association, 19/2 (Nov. 2015), 16-18.
  • ‘The State We’re In: Directions in Researching Post-1900 British Music’ [Conference Report], Newsletter of the Royal Musical Association, 19/2 (Nov. 2015), 8.
  • ‘Richard Henry Walthew (1872-1951): Composer, Conductor, Pianist and Teacher’, Journal of the British Music Society, 35 (2013), 53-69.

Conference Papers

  • ‘Pre-Raphaelitism and British Wagnerism in the 1890s: William Wallace’s The Passing of Beatrice as Musical Ekphrasis’, to be presented at the Music and Visual Cultures International Conference, Maynooth University, Ireland, 21–23 July 2016.
  • ‘“Pre-Raphaelite Music”: William Wallace’s The Passing of Beatrice and British Wagnerism in the 1890s’, presented at the British Forum for Ethnomusicology and Royal Musical Association’s Research Students’ Conference, Bangor University, 7 January 2016.
  • ‘Another Strand of Elgar’s Wagnerism: Community, C major and the C/Eb Pairing’, presented at the 10th biennial international conference on Music in Nineteenth-Century Britain, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Glasgow, 10 July 2015.
  • ‘“An Ireland Built Anew”: Bax’s Tintagel and the Easter Rising’, presented at ‘The State We’re In: Directions in Researching Post-1900 British Music’, University of Surrey, 16 April 2015.
  • ‘Another Strand of Elgar’s Wagnerism: Community, C major and the C/Eb Pairing’, presented at the Royal Musical Association’s Research Students’ Conference, University of Bristol, 10 January 2015.
  • ‘“Experimenting for his Planet”: The Reception of Cyril Scott’s “Ultra-Modern” Music, 1900–1909’, presented at the Royal Musical Association’s Research Students’ Conference, University of Birmingham, 6 January 2014.
  • ‘A Reassessment of Anthony Payne’s Elaboration of Elgar’s Sketches for a Third Symphony: Music, Methods, Motives and Morals’, presented at the North-West Postgraduate Music Exchange Conference, Bangor University, 16 March 2013.

Pre-Concert Talks

  • Talk on the British composer Cyril Scott (1879–1970) before a performance of his Violin Sonata No. 1, Op. 59, by Andrew Kirkman (violin) and Clipper Erikson (piano), University of Birmingham, 18 March 2013.