Joanna Bullivant


Twentieth-century British music; music and politics; modernism; opera; music and identity; Cold War studies; Alan Bush; Michael Tippett; Benjamin Britten; Hanns Eisler; Frederick Delius; digital musicology.




Joanna joined Oxford from the University of Nottingham, where she undertook a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship researching the music of the English communist composer Alan Bush. Before taking up that post, she was a doctoral student at Christ Church and Junior Research Fellow at Lecturer in Music at Worcester College. She has published widely on aspects of British music, modernism and politics. Her monograph, Alan Bush, Modern Music and the Cold War: The Cultural Left in Britain and the Communist Bloc, is forthcoming with Cambridge University Press. She has also taught a range of topics in both tutorial and lecture format, including Women Composers and a specialist module on Musical Modernism in Britain.


Her previous role in the Faculty (2015-16) involved the creation of a digital catalogue of the works of Frederick Delius. In October 2016 she takes up a new post as Lecturer in Music at Magdalen College.



Recent publications


Alan Bush, Modern Music and the Cold War: The Cultural Left in Britain and the Communist Bloc, Music since 1900 (Cambridge University Press, in press, forthcoming 2017).



‘New Sounds, New Beliefs: Modernism, Religion, and Theology’ in Björn Heile and Charles Wilson (eds.), The Ashgate Companion to Modernism in Music (Ashgate, forthcoming).

‘”Practical Jokes:” Britten and Auden’s Our Hunting Fathers Revisited’ in Kate Kennedy (ed.), Literary Britten (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming).

‘Trouble down t’pit: Marxist Politics, Industrial Stereotypes and Northern Sources in Alan Bush’s Opera, Men of Blackmoor (1954)’ (John Lowerson, with Joanna Bullivant) in Rachel Cowgill, Dave Russell and Derek Scott (eds.), Music and the Idea of the North (Ashgate, forthcoming).

‘The Socialist Composer in the “capitalist concert-hall:” Hanns Eisler and Alan Bush in 1930s England’, in Oliver Dahin and Erik Levi (eds.), Eisler and England, Eisler-Studien 5 (Wiesbaden: Breitkopf & Härtel, 2014), 33-50.

‘Black, White and Red: Communism and Anti-colonialism in Alan Bush’s The Sugar Reapers’, in Robert Adlington (ed.), Red Strains: Music and Communism Outside the Communist Bloc, Proceedings of the British Academy 185 (Oxford: British Academy/Oxford University Press, 2013), 193-212.

‘Tippett and Politics’, in Kenneth Gloag and Nicholas Jones (eds), The Cambridge Companion to Tippett (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013), 68-85.

‘“A world of Marxist orthodoxy”? Alan Bush’s Wat Tyler in Great Britain and the German Democratic Republic’, in Pauline Fairclough (ed.), Twentieth-Century Music and Politics: Essays in memory of Neil Edmunds (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2013), 7-21.

‘Modernism, Politics and Individuality in 1930s Britain: the Case of Alan Bush’, Music & Letters 90/3 (August 2009), 432-452.



‘Sing an Old Song to the Lord’ (co-authored with Stephen Bullivant), Pastoral Review 7/2 (March/April 2011), 58-65.

‘Review: The Correspondence of Alan Bush and John Ireland, 1927-1961, compiled and edited by Rachel O’Higgins’, Twentieth-Century Music 6/2 (2011), 255-260.

‘Who was Alan Bush?’, Clarion [Newsletter of the Alan Bush Music Trust] 12 (2010).

‘Alan Bush in the 1930s’, Clarion 10 (2007-8).



Contact info

Dr Joanna Bullivant

Faculty of Music

University of Oxford

St Aldates



Twitter: @BullivantJoanna