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Dr Marie Kent

Dr Marie Kent

Junior Research Fellow, Wolfson College


Dr Marie Kent is an organologist whose people-centred research aims to reveal hidden facts about the piano through a study of the people who made them. Currently she is conducting a pioneering study of more than 20,000 piano-related returns in the 1881 and 1911 censuses of England to reveal and examine the demographics of the piano industry workforce at the peak of its pre-war activity. Her work offers findings of interest to musicologists, organologists, historians and demographers, and raises the study of an instrument’s workforce to that of a key subject integral to the instrument’s history.  

Marie studied piano technology at London Metropolitan University and gained her doctorate in 2013 with a study of the piano industry workforce in England from the origins of the industry c1765 to the start of the First World War. She was twice awarded the University Prize and University Recognition Award for Academic Excellence. 

In 2015 Marie won an Early Career Fellowship with the Institute of Musical Research and launched the ‘Made in London’ conference series, inviting musical instrument makers, restorers, conservators, players and historians to discuss musical instrument-making in London from the 17th to the 21st centuries. Through shared discussion of current research, the series aims to generate a better understanding of issues common to both current and former practitioners.  Marie is a committee member of The Galpin Society, membership secretary of the Musical Instruments Resource Network (MIRN), a member of the Royal Historical Society, and of The American Musical Instrument Society, a Friend of Square Pianos, and an advisor to the BBC. At Wolfson, she is a committee member of the Music Society, and of the Lunchtime Lecture Series.

Her several articles expose the work of individual members of the industry and of the workforce as a whole, and she is a contributor to the New Grove Dictionary of Musical Instruments (2014). 

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