Professor John Whenham BMus MA (Nott), DPhil (Oxon), FRSA

Professor John Whenham

Department of Music
Emeritus Professor of Music History

Contact details

Bramall Music Building
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

I am a specialist in Italian music of the late 16th and early 17th centuries and, in particular, on the music of Claudio Monteverdi.


My Master’s thesis was on the music of Elizabeth Lutyens in the 1960s, and my doctorate on Italian Secular Duets and Dialogues of the early seventeenth century.


I have published the books Duet and Dialogue in the Age of Monteverdi (UMI), Monteverdi, 'Orfeo' (Cambridge University Press), and Monteverdi, Vespers (1610) (Cambridge University Press). With Richard Wistreich (Newcastle University) I recently published The Cambridge Companion to Monteverdi (Cambridge University Press, 2007).  I am currently working on a project with colleagues at Heidelberg and Rome, and with former students now lecturing on music at universities in Greece, to produce an online series of editions of Italian vocal music from the first half of the seventeenth century. I am also currently working on a bibliographical study of Monteverdi’s Selva morale e spirituale (1641). My edition of the second book of madrigals (1640) by Giovanni Rovetta (Monteverdi’s assistant choirmaster at St. Mark’s Venice) is available online ( and may be freely downloaded for study and performance. I have worked extensively with Anthony Rooley, Emma Kirkby and The Consort of Musicke, particularly on their series of recordings of Monteverdi madrigals, and with The King's Consort on recordings of Monteverdi's sacred music. For five years I was co-editor of the Oxford journal  Music & Letters and remain a member of its editorial board.


My teaching ranges from the music of pre-Reformation and Reformation English music, through the work of Monteverdi to the music of Sir Michael Tippett.