Professor Jonathan Cross

Professor of Musicology; Student and Tutor, Christ Church

BA (Bristol), PhD (London), MA, DLitt (Oxon), MAE


Research interests in 20th- and 21st-century music, especially Stravinsky and Birtwistle; spectral music; modernism; theory and analysis.


Jonathan Cross joined the Oxford Faculty of Music in 2003, where he is Professor of Musicology, and Student and Tutor in Music at Christ Church. He was previously Lecturer at the University of Sussex (1986–95) and Lecturer, later Reader, at the University of Bristol (1996–2003). He is also Research Associate in the research team Analyse des pratiques musicales at IRCAM, Paris.

He has written, lectured and broadcast widely on issues in twentieth-century and contemporary music, and in theory and analysis. His publications include the highly acclaimed The Stravinsky Legacy (Cambridge University Press, 1998); a study of the work of Harrison Birtwistle (Faber and Faber, 2000); and an edited companion to the music of Stravinsky (Cambridge, 2003). His monograph on Birtwistle’s landmark opera The Mask of Orpheus was published in 2009 (Ashgate). He was Associate Editor (1994–99) and Editor (2000–2004) of the journal Music Analysis, and currently serves on the Editorial/Advisory Boards of Music Analysis, Tempo, Analysis in Context (Leuven Studies in Musicology) and Circuit–musiques contemporaines. He is also an Associate Editor and Member of the Editorial Board of Grove Music Online (Oxford University Press). His new biography of Stravinsky (in the ‘Critical Lives’ series of Reaktion Press) appeared in September 2015.

He has supervised doctoral projects on, among other topics, modernity and Marxism, minimalism 1960–2001, British music and politics 1930–45, Stravinsky’s pianism, Russian émigré musicians in Paris, music and melancholy, Britten’s stage works, Hindemith’s theory, early Webern, and composition. His supervisees have gone on to hold academic positions in the UK, elsewhere in Europe, and further afield.

He speaks frequently at international events, most recently in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Serbia, South Africa, Switzerland and the USA. Aside from his academic work, he is committed to giving talks on a broad range of musical topics that engage with the interests of the wider public, including recently at English National Opera, Glyndebourne Opera, BBC Proms, Singapore International Festival of Arts, Aldeburgh Festival, Bath Bach and Mozart Festivals, South Bank Centre, Barbican Centre, Wigmore Hall, New Music Scotland, Gresham College London, and for the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, BBC Symphony and BBC Scottish Orchestras, and London Sinfonietta. He was Series Consultant to the Philharmonia Orchestra’s 2016 Stravinsky: Myths and Rituals series, which won the Sky Arts Award for classical music in 2017, as well as being shortlisted for a Royal Philharmonic Society music award. He also appears regularly on BBC Radio 3.

He offers undergraduate lecture courses in Expressionism, music in Vienna 1900–1935, music after 1945, musical experimentalism, Stravinsky, and musical analysis. He also teaches a seminar in theory and analysis as part of the MSt programme. Tutorial teaching includes topics in music history (18th to 21st centuries), analysis, and musical thought and scholarship.

He has held visiting positions at the Orpheus Institute Ghent, Cornell University, Ircam, and the Paris Conservatoire (CNSMDP). In 2015 he was elected a Member of Academia Europaea (the Academy of Europe).



The Stravinsky Legacy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998)
‘an ambitious undertaking’ (Journal of Music Theory)

Harrison Birtwistle: Man, Mind, Music (London: Faber & Faber/Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2000)
‘thoughtful, illuminating, accessible’ (Daily Telegraph)

(ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Stravinsky (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003)
‘a valuable guide for music students and scholars’ (Slavonic & East European Review)

Harrison Birtwistle: The Mask of Orpheus (Farnham & Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2009)
‘subtle, informative and provocative’ (Tempo)

Igor Stravinsky (London: Reaktion, 2015)
‘absolutely essential, a model of its kind’ (Classical Music)


‘The Challenge of Modern Music: Birtwistle’s Refrains and Choruses’, in A. Pople (ed.), Theory, Analysis and Meaning in Music (Cambridge: CUP, 1994), 184–94

‘Lines and Circles: on Birtwistle’s Punch and Judy and Secret Theatre’Music Analysis, 13/2-3 (1994), 203–25

‘Birtwistle’s Secret Theatres’, in C. Ayrey & M. Everist (eds.), Analytical Strategies and Musical Interpretation (Cambridge: CUP, 1996), 207–25

‘Modernism and the Challenges to Music Theory’, in W. Gruhn & H. Möller (eds), Wahrnehmung und Begriff (Kassel: Gustav Bosse Verlag, 2000), 35–56

‘Compositori e istituzioni in Inghilterra’, in J.-J. Nattiez (ed.), Enciclopedia della musica, Vol. 1: ‘Il Novecento’ (Turin: Giulio Einaudi, 2001), 471–91

‘Fünf Orchesterstücke op. 16’, in G. Gruber (ed.), Schönberg – Interpretationen seiner Werke (Laaber: Laaber Verlag, 2002), vol. 1, 216–28

‘Composing with Numbers: Sets, Rows and Magic Squares’, in J. Fauvel, R. Flood & R. Wilson (eds), Music and Mathematics: From Pythagorus to Fractals (Oxford: OUP, 2003), 131–46

‘Music Analysis in Britain Today: a Personal View’, Musiktheorie, 18/4 (2003), 297–301

‘Writing about Living Composers: Questions, Problems, Methods’, in P. Dejans (ed.), Identity and Difference: Essays on Music, Language and Time (Leuven: Leuven University Press, 2004), 9–40

Modernism versus Tradition, and the Traditions of Modernism’Muzikologija/Musicology: Journal of the Institute of Musicology of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, 6 (2006), 19–42

‘Paradise Lost: Neoclassicism and the Melancholia of Modernism’, in M. Milin and D.Despic (eds), Rethinking Musical Modernism (Belgrade: Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, 2008), 55–64

‘Le mythe, le modernisme, la mémoire: les relations entre musique, texte et drame dans The Mask of Orpheus de Harrison Birtwistle’, in G. Ferrari (ed.), La parole sur scène : voix, texte, signifié (Paris: L’Harmattan, 2008), 11–24

‘Stravinsky’s Petrushka: modernising the past, Russianising the future; or, how Stravinsky learned to be an exile’, in Pauline Fairclough (ed.), Twentieth-Century Music and Politics: Essays in Memory of Neil Edmunds (Farnham: Ashgate, 2012), 23–35

‘Rewriting The Rite: creative responses to Le Sacre du printemps’, in Hermann Danuser and Heidy Zimmerman (eds), Avatar of Modernity: The Rite of Spring Reconsidered (London: Boosey & Hawkes, 2013), 198–218

‘Stravinsky in exile’, in Tamara Levitz (ed.), Igor Stravinsky and his World (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2013), 1–17

Reflecting on Birtwistle at 80’, Tempo, vol. 68, issue 270 (2014), 85-7

‘Some thoughts on Stravinsky’s “Apotheosis”’, in Massimiliano Locanto (ed.), Igor Stravinsky: Sounds and Gestures of Modernism (Speculum Musicae, 25) (Turnhout: Brepols, 2014), 224–30

‘Of shadows and mirrors: reflections on Birtwistle in the new millennium’, in David Beard, Kenneth Gloag and Nicholas Jones (eds), Birtwistle Studies (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015), 293–303

‘How do you make an opera without a narrative? Journeying with Ulysses and Outis’, in Giordano Ferrari (ed.), Le théâtre musical de Luciano Berio, Vol. 2, ‘De Un re in ascolto à Cronaca del Luogo’ (Paris: L’Harmattan, 2016), 201–221

‘Staging the modern: musical spectra, l’espace sensible, and contemporary opera’, Twentieth-Century Music, 15/1 (2018), forthcoming


Video interview with Simon Russell Beale on Stravinsky’s Oedipus Rex, Philharmonia Orchestra Podcasts (September 2008)

Pre-concert talk on Stravinsky Orpheus for Scottish Chamber Orchestra, City Halls, Glasgow (March 2011)

Outis: comment faire un opéra sans récit?’, Le théâtre de Luciano Berio V, Université Paris VIII/Centre de documentation de musique contemporaine at the Cité de la Musique, Paris (November 2012)

Shadows and mirrors: Birtwistle in the new millennium‘, Poetry, Music, Drama: The Creation of Contemporary Opera, Institute of Musical Research, University of London (January 2013)

Stravinsky hits Paris’, lecture at Queen Elizabeth Hall, London, as part of The Rest is Noise Festival (February 2013)

A beginner’s guide to serialism’, lecture at Royal Festival Hall, London, as part of The Rest is Noise Festival (March  2013)

Britten, Stravinsky, and the idea of the classical past’, lecture at Gresham College London as part of the City of London Festival 2013 (July 2013)

Landscapes of melancholy: a tree of strings’, Hearing Landscape Critically, University of Stellenbosch, South Africa (September 2013)

Listen to this! Politics and Spirituality in Music‘, lecture at Royal Festival Hall, London, as part of The Rest is Noise Festival (November 2013)

De la science au mysticisme: “corps sonore” ramiste et métaphysique dans Body Mandala de Jonathan Harvey‘, Le savant et le praticien, IRCAM, Paris (November 2014)

‘Order and randomness’, Humanities and Science, TORCH, Oxford (February 2015)

Stravinsky: Myths and Rituals (2016) produced by the Philharmonia Orchestra, including ‘Stravinsky’s Journeys’ and ‘Neoclassicism and Myth’. See also the Philhamonia’s dedicated ‘Stravinsky’ website.

Franchir les seuils. Espace, temps, modernisme … et musique spectrale’, séminaire recherche IRCAM, Paris (July 2016)


Christ Church



Professor Jonathan Cross
Faculty of Music, St Aldates, Oxford OX1 1DB

telephone +44 (0)1865 276130