Graduate Research Colloquium: Kate Molleson in conversation with Prof. Jonathan Cross

Free to attend, those wishing to attend virtually should complete this sign-up form.

Sound Within Sound is the impassioned and exhilarating story of the composers who dared to challenge the conventional world of classical music in the twentieth century.

Traversing the globe from Ethiopia and the Philippines to Mexico, Jerusalem, Russia and beyond, journalist, critic and BBC Radio 3 broadcaster Kate Molleson tells the stories of ten figures who altered the course of musical history, only to be sidelined and denied recognition during an era that systemically favoured certain sounds – and people – over others.

A celebration of radical creativity rooted in ideas of protest, gender, race, ecology and resistance, Sound Within Sound is an energetic reappraisal of twentieth-century classical music that opens up the world far beyond its established centres, challenges stereotypical portrayals of the genre and shatters its traditional canon.

In this colloquium, in conversation with Jonathan Cross, Kate Molleson will discuss the origins of her project, will go into detail about some of the musicians she met and the music she writes about, and will reflect on the challenges, joys and pitfalls of writing a new kind of music history.

Kate Molleson is a journalist and broadcaster. She presents BBC Radio 3’s New Music Show and Music Matters. Her documentaries (BBC Radio 4, BBC World Service) have investigated music in Greenland, opera in Mongolia, lost recordings of Arabic classical music and the Ethiopian nun/pianist/composer Emahoy Tsegué-Maryam Guèbrou. Her articles are published in The Guardian, The Herald, BBC Music Magazine, Opera, Gramophone and elsewhere. She was commissioning editor of Dear Green Sounds, a history of Glasgow’s music venues commissioned by UNESCO. She teaches music journalism at Darmstadt and Dartington.  

Professor Jonathan Cross is Professor of Musicology, and Student and Tutor in Music at Christ Church. 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 (1998); a comprehensive study of the work of Harrison Birtwistle (2000); and an edited companion to the music of Stravinsky (2003). His monograph on Birtwistle’s landmark opera The Mask of Orpheus was published in 2009 (p/b edn 2019). His biography of Stravinsky (in the ‘Critical Lives’ series of Reaktion Press) appeared in 2015, and has subsequently been translated into Turkish and Mandarin Chinese. His current work focuses on issues in musical spectralism.

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. 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), and is a frequent presenter and curator of programmes for the London Sinfonietta. In 2021 he produced a series of podcasts with Stravinsky’s publisher Boosey & Hawkes Music Publishers to mark the 50th anniversary of the composer’s death. He also appears regularly on BBC Radio 3 programmes, and writes for Opera magazine.

About the series:
The Colloquia feature leading figures, as well as younger scholars, from across the world. They present their research in papers on all kinds of music-related topics. Graduate students Chuyu Zhang and Eugenie Dalgleish organise the series. Presentations are followed by a discussion and drinks reception. If you would like more information, please email Chuyu Zhang.