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Faculty of Music

Dr Martin  Ennis


Associate Professor in Music (on leave LT 2024)
Director of Studies, Girton College (on leave LT 2024)
Director of Music, Girton College (on leave LT 2024)


Martin Ennis is Associate Professor in the Faculty of Music and Fellow and Director of Music at Girton College, Cambridge.  He began his higher education as Organ Scholar of Christ’s College, Cambridge, and on graduating pursued further studies first at the Musikhochschule in Cologne and then back in Cambridge, where he completed a doctorate on recomposition in the music of Brahms.  From 1989 to 1990 he was Director of Music at Christ’s College, Cambridge, and in 1990 he was appointed inaugural Pilkington Fellow and Director of Music at Girton College.  He joined the permanent staff of the Cambridge Music Faculty in 1994, serving as Faculty Chair from 2002 to 2005, from 2008 to 2011, and from 2013 to 2015.

His research interests centre on the analysis of music, though he has worked extensively in other areas, including historicism in music.  Brahms remains his principal research interest, and he has given papers on the composer in recent years in, among other places, London, Dublin, Gdańsk, Brescia, Yale, Irvine (California), Sydney, Auckland and Wellington.  Recent publications include articles on Brahms and the gavotte (Current Musicology 2019) and Brahms and endings (Musicologica Austriaca 2020).  In 2018 he organised an international conference on Brahms's Ein deutsches Requiem. 

He teaches a wide range of subjects at undergraduate level from sixteenth-century counterpoint to music in Nazi Germany.  Recent and current graduate students have worked on Brahms (notions of cyclicity and Brahms’s concept of the 'Liederstrauss'; the vocal duets; reception history during the Third Reich), Wagner (orchestration; Stabreim in the transition years between Lohengrin and Das Rheingold), Strauss (the symphonic poems with reference to the New German school), Schumann (formal problems in the Second Symphony; advanced harmonic syntax), Mendelssohn (historicism and the 'anxiety of influence'), Mahler (the First Symphony and its lyric roots), Schubert (grotesque elements in the Lieder), Berwald (the symphony from a non-German perspective), Dvorak (the symphonic poems), the development of keyboard technique in the German Baroque, nineteenth-century operatic fantasies for woodwind instruments, and the symphony in nineteenth-century London.

Martin Ennis combines his university life with a busy career as a performer, specialising as a continuo player.  A Fellow of the Royal College of Organists, he has been a prizewinner at several international competitions.  In addition to his work as the principal keyboard player of the London Mozart Players he has performed with groups including the Monteverdi Choir (for their 25th anniversary concert), the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, the Kölner Bach-Collegium, the Polish Chamber Orchestra, and the Orchestra of St Luke’s in New York.  He has made many recordings, including a first concerto recording with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.  He directed the Choir of Girton College for nearly twenty years; they toured the world, and he led them to significant competition successes in Japan  Austria. In recent years he has been increasingly active as an orchestral conductor with engagements in South America and the Far East as well as throughout Europe.  Recent projects have included Messiah, directed from the harpsichord, in the Forbidden City, Beijing, and a solo harpsichord recital in the Gdańsk Festival, for which he (re)constructed several fragmentary works by Mozart.  

Contact Details

Girton College
01223 338946