Dr Mark Berry

Research interests

Mark Berry read History at the University of Cambridge, continuing there to study for an MPhil and PhD, before being elected in 2001 as a Fellow of Peterhouse, where he remained until 2009, upon his appointment as Lecturer in Music at Royal Holloway. In Cambridge, he was a Research Fellow at Peterhouse, a Temporary Assistant Lecturer in Modern European History, a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow, and a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow. He has lectured on subjects ranging from political culture at Louis XIV’s Versailles to European Marxism and music after 1945. His research has tended to draw upon his interests in both History and Music, as well as upon other disciplines, such as Philosophy, Theology, Art and Architectural History, and Literature. Treacherous Bonds and Laughing Fire: Politics and Religion in Wagner’s ‘Ring’ was published by Ashgate in 2006. For his work on Wagner he has received the Prince Consort Prize and the Seeley Medal. He has recently written a number of articles for the Cambridge Wagner Encyclopaedia, published in 2013; they range from short biographical pieces to essays on topics such as 'German History', 'Morality', and 'Politics'. Dr Berry is also co-editor of the forthcoming Cambridge Companion to Wagner's 'Ring'.

Whilst maintaining and furthering his interests in Wagner, subsequent research has also looked back towards the eighteenth century, including treatment of Bach, Mozart, and Haydn, and forward to the twentieth century. Recent articles, of which further details may be found in the list of publications, include essays on Parsifal, Schoenberg’s Moses und Aron, Theodor Adorno and Wilhelm Furtwängler’s conceptions of Bach, Haydn and the Enlightenment, and power and patronage in Mozart’s La clemenza di Tito and Die Zauberflöte.

Dr Berry has recently been writing a history of political music-drama from Parsifal onwards, whose concerns include Richard Strauss, Schoenberg, Luigi Dallapiccola, Hans Werner Henze, Luigi Nono, and operatic production. His interest as an intellectual historian of idealist and Marxist traditions thus combines with his musicological interest in post-Wagnerian musical drama. Ultimately, the question revolves around the very possibility of writing, performing, and emancipating ‘opera’ in late-capitalist society. After Wagner: Histories of Modernist Music Drama from 'Parsifal' to Nono is scheduled to be published by Boydell and Brewer in 2014.

Mark Berry regularly reviews concert and opera performances, both in London and abroad, especially in France, Germany, and Austria. These often attempt to combine his research interests with imperatives of live performance and theatrical production, and may be found, alongside other material, on his blog. He writes regularly for The Wagner Journal, which he has guest edited (November 2013), as well as Times Higher Education, Music and Letters, and various other journals. Other musical engagements include regular broadcasts on BBC Radio 3 (Night Waves, Opera Bites, Proms, etc.), speaking engagements (e.g. British Library, English National Opera Study Day, Seattle Opera Ring, the Netherlands Opera), and writing of programme notes for, amongst others, the Royal Opera House, the Wigmore Hall, and the Salzburg Festival.

Current PhD students are studying topics ranging from Berlioz's aesthetics to the marketing of music with special reference to social media marketing. Applications from interested doctoral students are of course always most welcome.  

View all (83) »

ID: 8300