Staff Profile


Professor Robert Rawson

Professor of Musicology and Historically Informed Performance

School: School of Music and Performing Arts

Campus: Canterbury

Tel: 01227 922735

Profile summary

Robert completed his BMus at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor (USA) where he also studied the double bass with Stuart Sankey and the viola da gamba with Enid Sutherland. He re-located to London in 1996 and completed his Ph.D. at Royal Holloway (Univ. of London) in 2002 under the supervision of Tim Carter and Geoffrey Chew. During his Ph.D. period he did some teaching at Royal Holloway and then later taught at Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge University and Trinity College of Music in London. His primary interests include the performance practices of music before c.1800 and cultural and social histories and roles of music of various periods. In particular, he has published widely on music in the former Austrian Empire with a special emphasis on music in the Czech lands. He is the director and co-founder of the highly-acclaimed baroque ensemble The Harmonious Society of Tickle-Fiddle Gentlemen.

In addition to directing the early music ensemble, Robert lectures on a variety of musicological subjects including: Music in the Czech lands, British music, music and politics and social movements as well as analysis and church music. Future plans include the study of the roles of musical elements and behavioural suggestibility and manipulation.

Research and knowledge exchange

I recently completed a long-term research project of Czech musical culture and style (which began with the award of a Leverhulme Research Fellowship in 2004) which resulted in a monograph published in 2013 by Boydell and Brewer. I also aim to combine my work as a scholar and performer (in fact, I don't see them as seperate) and this has produced many concerts, radio broadcasts and recordings. My collaboration with Petr Wagner to record the first recording devoted to the viol music of Gottfried Finger (2005) was awarded the coveted 5 stars in Goldberg Magazine and described as 'a revelation' in Early Music. With my group (The Harmonious Society of Tickle-Fiddle Gentlemen) we realised a research project of mine to study the surviving concerto repertoire of J. C. Pepusch (1667–1752). In 2012 we released a recording on the Ramée label 'Pepusch, Concertos and Overtures for London' which gained critical acclaim around the globe; most noteworthy was when it reached no. 1 in the German classical charts. I am also preparing a lecture–concert event in collaboration with The British Library, to be presented there in the Autumn of 2014.

From 2011–2012 I completed a Knowledge Exchange project to research, edit and record concertos by the Moravian composer Josef Guretzky (1709–69). This is part of a larger strand in my career to better understand and communicate to a wider public (both within and beyond academia) a clearer and more varied picture of musical culture and repertoire in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. Upcoming recording projects include the sacred music of Simon Brixi and Alessandro Poglietti, as well as theatre music of Pepusch.

At present I am supervising the Ph.D. research of John Swadley on the Mexican villancico in the baroque era and Eleni Kenventsidou on organ works of Max Reger.

Teaching and subject expertise

Having previously taught at Royal Holloway, Cambridge University and Trinity College of Music in London, Robert has teaching experience at the very highest level. He is one of the leading experts in music in the Czech lands before c.1800 and has published and spoken widely on related topics. This experience brings itself into the classroom in a variety of contexts. One is the delivery of a module devoted to the music and cultural worlds of Dvorak and Janacek and another as part of a module on music in the Austrian Empire more broadly. He has also maintained an international profile as a perfomer and this also feeds into his teaching patterns, including: Performance Studies, Early Music Ensemble and Performance Practices of the 17th and 18th Centuries.

Robert is also active in musicology conferences. He is currently the conference cooridator for the 17th Biennial International Conference on Baroque Music, to be held at Canterbury Christ Church Unviersity in July 2017. 

External activities

Member of the Royal Musical Association and The Society for Seventeenth-century Music. Representative for musicology, steering committee, Forum for Czech and Slovak Studies; member of the executive board for The International Society of Czech and Slovak Arts, Literature and Language.

Selected invited lectures and conference papers since 2010:

'Gottfried Finger as Music Collector and Arranger', 16th Biennial International Conference on Baroque Music 9–13 July 2014. University of Music and Dramatic Arts Mozarteum Salzburg

''Melancholy Ditties about Dirt and Disorder': the Roles of Rustic Music at Bohemian and Moravian Courts c.1600-1750', 6 Nov. 2012, Music Colloquia, University of Nottingham

'‘For the sake of the choir’—the role(s) of the double bass in late seventeenth-century central Europe', 15th Biennial International Conference on Baroque Music, 11–15 July 2012, University of Southampton.

'German moon, Czech fire: A case study of musical and national characteristics in Baroque Bohemia', 1–7 July 2012, The 19th International Musicological Society congress, Rome

Stylo Bohemo—Music sources of Czechness before 1800. Read at CCurrent Trends in Czech Studies III: 'Czech Controversies, Quarrels and Scandals' at The Embassy of The Czech Republic, 4 November 2011.

‘Ab unisonis—musical textures and genres and the echoes of paraliturgical practices.’ Paper presented at the Central European Musical Culture between the Thirty Years War and the Congress of Vienna: Forms and changes in musical institutions and performance, 1618-1815, Masaryk University, Brno, 2011.

'German Moon, Czech Fire: A Meeting Point of National Perceptions in Eighteenth-Century Music'. Paper read at Central and the conference 'Eastern European Music: Musical Crossroads?' Oxford University Faculty of Music, Saturday, 26 June, 2010


BBC Radio 3 (In Tune, as performer and interviewee), Czech Radio (interview on popularity of Czech opera in the UK)

Publications and research outputs

Selected recent publications:

Chapter in Le Sublime et musique religieuse de Lalande à Haydn, ed. Sophie Hache and Thierry Favier, forthcoming (Paris, Garnier).

Chapter in: 'Harmonia Anglicana, or Why Finger Failed in 'The Prize Musick', in Stages 'Adorn'd with ev'ry Grace': Music, Dance, & Drama in London at the Beginning of the long Eighteenth Century, K. Lowerre, ed. (Ashgate, 2014).

Monograph: Bohemian Baroque: Czech Musical Culture and Style c.1600–1750 (Boydell and Brewer, 2013)

Chapter in: 'Musical Contexts and the Habsburg Rehabilitation of Czech Saints.' Sacred Music in the Habsburg Empire 1619–1740 and its Contexts, edited by T. Erhardt, 271-83. (Austrian Academy of Sciences Press, 2013).

Journal article: ''Ab unisonis'—Musical Textures and Genres and the echoes of paraliturgical practices', Musicologica Brunensia 47, 2012, 1: 25–34.

Journal article: 'Courtly Contexts for Moravian Hanák Music in the 17th and 18th centuries', Early Music (OUP), Dec. 2012.

Editorial, Early Music OUP, Dec. 2012.


Johann Christophe Pepusch 'Concertos and Overtures for London', by The Harmonious Society of Tickle-Fiddle Gentlemen (Ramée 1109), released in May 2012.

Josef Guretzky, Concertos for cello and violin (scheduled for 2015 release)


Bohemians and Moravians Abroad (CD reviews), Early Music, Dec. 2012.

Book review: Charles Brewer, The Instrumental Music of Schmeltzer, Biber, Muffat and Their Contemporaries (Ashgate, 2011). In Fontes Artis Musicae, January 2012.

Book review: 'Kroměříž explored'. Jiří Sehnal, Pavel Vejvanovský and the Kroměříž music collection: perspectives on 17th-century music in Moravia (Olomouc, 2008) in Early Music, November 2011.

Book review: David Ingram, The Jukebox in the Garden, Ecocriticism and American Popular Music Since 1960 (Rodopi, 2010) book review in Organisation and Environment 25 (Sept. 2011).

CD review: Giovanni Bononcini's Sancte Nicola di Bari. CD review in Eighteenth-Century Music (2010): 143-145.


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Last edited: 05/12/2017 03:58:00