Delius, Modernism, and the Sound of Place

Professor Daniel Grimley (Principal Investigator)


Dr Joanna Bullivant (Research Assistant)


Frederick Delius is among the most powerfully evocative and inventive voices in early twentieth-century music. Critical appreciation of his achievement, however, has been stubbornly unforthcoming in the wider academic field: there is still no authoritative scholarly biography of the composer, and analytical accounts of Delius’s music remain at a preliminary stage, especially when placed alongside coverage for other comparably significant musical figures. Given recent events following his anniversary year in 2012 (including John Bridcut’s acclaimed documentary for BBC4, and a 2-day conference devoted to his work run by the Delius Society), the time is ripe for an urgent re-evaluation of Delius’s music, reflecting upon his wider significance as an internationally-oriented creative figure writing at a crucial moment in the emergence of a complex and multivalent musical modernism.

The AHRC-funded project Delius, Modernism, and the Sound of Place will both undertake a wholesale reappraisal of the composer and disseminate its findings to non-academic beneficiaries including musicians and performers, journalists, teachers in secondary music education, and members of the general public. The primary outputs of the project are a scholarly monograph and a permanent digital catalogue. Planned events include a conference and launch of the online catalogue at the end of the project, a Study Day for sixth form students, research seminars, workshops and performances, in conjunction with the Royal Academy of Music and the British Library.


Our website featuring details of events, podcasts and a project blog can be found at Please contact or for further information.