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Dr Ross Cole


Focusing predominantly on the 20th century, my research crosses established boundaries between popular and avant-garde musical cultures. In particular, I have published on early minimalism in the US (concentrating on the work of Steve Reich), transatlantic blues revivalism, the BBC radio ballads, and the songs of Nick Cave.

I completed an AHRC-funded PhD entitled ‘Ballads, Blues, and Alterity’ at the University of Cambridge in 2015, supervised by Nicholas Cook. I also hold an MRes in American experimentalism from the University of York, a Bachelor's degree in music from the University of Oxford (where I received the Gibbs Prize), and an LRSM in saxophone performance.

Prior to my current position as a Research Fellow at Homerton, I held a Temporary Lectureship at Cambridge, where I offered courses at both undergraduate and MPhil level including ‘Popular Music of the Black Atlantic: From Slavery to Hip Hop’ and ‘Musical Countercultures of the 1960s’. I was awarded the Faculty of Music’s Teaching Prize in 2016.

Departments and Institutes

Homerton College:
King's College:

Key Publications

‘“Here Come the Judgment Train”: Nick Cave, the Bad Seeds, and the Blues.’ In Zuleika Beaven et al. (eds.), 40 Years of Mute Records, forthcoming.

Mastery and Masquerade in the Transatlantic Blues Revival.’ Journal of the Royal Musical Association, forthcoming.

Industrial Balladry, Mass Culture, and the Politics of Realism in Cold War Britain.’ Journal of Musicology, 34/3 (2017): 354–390.

‘“Sound Effects (O.K., Music)”: Steve Reich and the Visual Arts in New York City, 1966–68.’ Twentieth-Century Music, 11/2 (2014): 217–244.

‘“Fun, Yes, but Music?” Steve Reich and the San Francisco Bay Area’s Cultural Nexus, 1962–65.’ Journal of the Society for American Music, 6/3 (2012): 315–348.