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Ceri Owen

Ceri Owen

Research Fellow, Sidney Sussex College, University of Cambridge


Ceri Owen is a music historian, pianist and song accompanist, and writer. 

She's currently working on a new biography of Vaughan Williams, as well as editing a book of essays on his work for Cambridge University Press.

Ceri's research grows out of her work as a performer. Her creative practice draws together interests in the history of song composition and performance; the role of music and musical performance in subject and identity formations; and in musical biography and autobiography. In her writing she has explored various aspects of the twentieth-century British song tradition, looking through the lens of performance to ask what performers have to tell us about this repertoire and its meanings for audiences, both historically and today.

She wrote her doctoral thesis on ideas of identity, place, and tradition in the music, writings, and reception of Ralph Vaughan Williams.

She's since published articles, essays, and reviews on Vaughan Williams and on British musical culture more broadly, as well as appearing on BBC Radio 3 to speak about aspects of her research.

As a pianist Ceri has performed widely in the UK and further afield, giving recitals at such venues as the Barbican Hall, Kings Place, Milton Court, and St Martin-in-the Fields, London; the Holywell Music Room, Oxford; the Barber Institute, Birmingham; the Internationale-Hugo-Wolf-Akademie, Stuttgart; and as part of the BBC Proms Plus Festival.

In 2019 she gives a recital at London's Wigmore Hall with baritone Dominic Sedgwick, with whom she also appears at the Crush Room, Royal Opera House.

She earned a first class degree and later a doctorate in Music from the University of Oxford, where she was appointed a Lecturer in Music. She trained as a pianist at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London, becoming a Fellow of the School in 2014.

She has recently founded the Cambridge Song Festival, a brand new festival devoted to the creation and celebration of song, launching in February 2019.

Twitter: @CambridgeSong @RCeriOwen

Key Publications

[Book] Vaughan Williams in Context, ed. Ceri Owen and Julian Onderdonk (Cambridge University Press, under contract)

[Edited Journal Issue] Subjectivity in European Song: Time, Place, and Identity, ed. Benedict Taylor and Ceri Owen, 19th-Century Music, 40.3 (Spring 2017) 

[Article] ‘On Singing and Listening in Vaughan Williams’s Early Songs’, 19th-Century Music, 40.3 (Spring 2017), 257–82

[Article, with Benedict Taylor] ‘Introduction: Subjectivity in European Song: Time, Place, and Identity’, 19th-Century Music, 40.3 (Spring 2017), 185–8 

[Article] ‘Making an English Voice: Performing National Identity During the English Musical Renaissance’, Twentieth-Century Music, 13.1 (Spring 2016), 77–107  

[Review] The Sea in the British Musical Imagination, ed. Eric Saylor and Christopher M. Scheer (Woodbridge: Boydell, 2015) Music & Letters, 98.1 (Spring, 2017), 150–2 

[Liner Notes] St John's College Choir, 'Vaughan Williams: Mass in G Minor', Signum Records (May 2018)

Other Publications

Performances, reviews, and talks for BBC Radio 3: In Tune, The Proms, and Music Matters.