Dr Timothy Coombes

Stipendiary Lecturer in Music at St Hugh’s College, Organizing Tutor in Music at Exeter College (University of Oxford)

PhD (Oxon)


Tim Coombes is a Stipendiary Lecturer in Music at St Hugh’s College and Organizing Tutor in Music at Exeter College. His broad research interest is in the cultural history of nineteenth- and twentieth-century French music. Within this field of inquiry, he is currently interested in two different subjects: the idea of childhood, and the embodied nature of musical experience. His doctoral project, completed in 2018, considered how music shaped and exhibited understandings of childhood in French culture from roughly 1880 to 1914. His postdoctoral research has begun to investigate the corporealities of French music in the 1920s, the models of listening staged by ballet in 1920s France, and the significance of the body in musical modernism more generally. Other research interests include the relation between popular song and lyric poetry in 1930s Britain, and contemporary opera’s preoccupation with children’s stories.

He teaches undergraduate courses on subjects from the late eighteenth century to the present day, on both art music and popular music.


‘The Nursery as Circus: Dancing the Childlike to Fauré’s Dolly Suite, 1913’, Journal of the Royal Musical Association, Vol. 142, No. 2 (2017), 277-325.

‘Auden’s imaginary song’, in Delia da Sousa Correa (ed.), The Edinburgh Companion to Literature and Music (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2020).

‘The Mysterious Souls of Hellé and Debussy’s Toys’, Music & Letters (2021).