Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

A Q&A with composer Malcolm Archer

Malcolm Archer’s career as a church musician has taken him to posts at Norwich, Bristol, Wells Cathedrals, and St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. As a composer, Malcolm has published many works; his pieces are widely performed, recorded and broadcast and are greatly enjoyed for their approachable nature and singability. We spoke with Malcolm about his writing, his inspiration, and his career ambitions besides being a composer.

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Strategy challenged, part 2

An overlooked aspect of the conductor’s rehearsal procedure is the precise planning of any given rehearsal and of the rehearsal trajectory, from first reading to final dress, toward the end of “peaking” at the concert.

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10 facts about the bassoon

Rising to popularity in the 15th century, the bassoon is a large woodwind instrument that belongs to the oboe family and looks similar to the oboe in terms of coloring and use of the double reed. The bassoon enabled expansion of the range of woodwind instruments into lower registers.

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Fifth Rhythm Changes Conference 2017

On Thursday, 31 August, the Fifth Rhythm Changes Conference, themed “Re/Sounding Jazz” will kick off at the Conservatory of Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Rhythm Changes conferences are the largest jazz research conferences in the field, bringing together some 150 researchers from all over the globe. This year’s edition is produced in collaboration with the Conservatory of Amsterdam, the University of Amsterdam.

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Mahler our contemporary

With various commemorations of the birthday of Gustav Mahler (1860–1911) in July, the attention to this composer reinforces his continuing significance for modern audiences. Literary scholars have made cases for the ways in which Shakespeare’s works retain their relevance for modern audiences in such different works as Jan Kott’s Shakespeare Our Contemporary (1960) and Marjorie Garber’s Shakespeare and Modern Culture (2009).

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Sandy Denny and Schubert

I have written elsewhere about how music, in a way that spoken language rarely does, can affect arousal, stimulate our emotions and memories, and move our bodies. It can even subtly alter our physiological state, both internally by altering heart rate, levels of hormones and so on, and externally – resulting in goose bumps, chills, tears, etc. This is the universal power of music

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10 facts about the waterphone

Unless you’re a pioneer for strange methods of sound production or the film director for a horror film, the chances are that you’ve never heard of OUP’s instrument of the month for August; however, that doesn’t mean that you haven’t heard it being played, and in fact, you probably have without realising!

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Do your job, part 1

In TBSH, there is a chapter devoted to expectations, from and of both the ensemble and the conductor, of each other and of themselves. Built around a worksheet entitled “Orchestral Bill of Rights and Responsibilities,” I attempt therein to design a framework for a long overdue discussion to occur, about what our actual jobs are, how we perceive them and how our neighbors in the orchestral community perceive them, divisions of labor, and what we have the “right to expect” from each other.

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From singer to choir director: A Q&A with Ben Parry

Ben Parry studied at Cambridge University, where he was a member of The Choir of King’s College, Cambridge, before he became the musical director of, and singer with, the Swingle Singers. Today, Ben has a busy career as a conductor, arranger, singer and producer in both classical and light music fields. We caught up with Ben to ask him about his conducting experiences, and his advice for directors wishing to set up their own choirs.

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Introducing Hannah, OUP’s Music Hire Librarian

We are delighted to introduce Hannah Boron, who joined OUP’s Music Hire Library team in March 2017 and is based in the Oxford offices. We asked her to tell us what her job involves and chatted more generally about fantasy novels and how she would like to be Lara Croft!

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Tips for addressing stage fright

An A B C model to conceptualize anxiety responses was developed by the American psychologist Albert Ellis (1913– 2007) as a self- help and clinical tool to help people identify and understand what Ellis called “irrational” thoughts and feelings. Ellis recommended challenging and replacing negative and irrational thoughts with positive alternatives represented by Letter B in the A B C Model.

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Remembering the life and music of Antonio Vivaldi

For many who at least known his name, Antonio Vivaldi is the composer of a handful of works heard on the radio or a drive-time playlist of 100 Famous Classical Pieces, featured in TV (and internet) commercials, movies and concerts by students, amateurs, and professionals. Pieces such as The Four Seasons (featured prominently in Alan Alda’s 1981 film, The Four Seasons), the Gloria in D RV 589 and the Violin Concerto in A Minor Op. 3 No. 6 (familiar to most students of the Suzuki Violin Method) are staples of the repertoire and frequently rank high on lists of popular classical music.

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The misunderstood Irish composer

Composer/pianist John Field’s birthday serves as a reminder of the uncertainty that underpins his reception. On the twenty-sixth of July, we ostensibly celebrate Field’s birthday.

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