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David Smith

Prof

Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

Previous research students of mine have worked on topics ranging from the revival of music in the worship of the Catholic Church in Scotland, 1789-1829, to the organ music of J.S. Bach, to the secular vocal music of Cornelis Verdonck (1563/4-1625). Current PhD students include: •Owen Woods Shifting patterns of tonal design in the organs of Harrison and Harrison between 1872 and 1972 Start Date: 01/10/2020 •Elle Docx How can Enlightenment discourse inform improvements in Audience Development for British Orchestras: A case study with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment Start Date: 01/10/2020. •Dan Donnelly Towards an integrated music curriculum in England Start Date 18/01/2021. I also welcome PhD applicationsin the broad areas of: • Early English instrumental music (keyboard, lute, consort) • Keyboard music • Scottish music Many projects can be jointly supervised with colleagues in Music. Dr Rachael Durkin's expertise in organology can be relevant for those looking at instrumental and keyboard music. Dr Katherine Butler's expertise in Tudor music complements my own. In terms of funding, the Northern Bridge Consortium offers studentships that normally involve more than one institution in the supervision of students at doctoral level, and - depending on the topic - there are a number of colleagues at universities in the north east of England who could be involved.

  • Source: Scopus
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Personal profile

Research interests

David's research is centred around English instrumental music of the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. In particular, he has developed research expertise in the editing of music for scholarly editions, and has reflected on methodological questions relating to his own editions of music by Peter Philips (1560/61-1628) and Richard Dering (c.1580-1630) for Musica Britannica.

David considers music in the cultural context of its time, distinguishing traditions of domestic keyboard practice from professional ones, and arguing for a reappraisal the keyboard culture of seventeenth-century England. Moving away from old notions involving the influence of one composer on the next, he sees the production of instrumental music as relying on networks of composers, scribes and players which interconnect with broader religious and social networks. Much of David’s research is caught up in the religious and political turmoil of the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries which resulted in English Catholic composers such as Peter Philips (1560/61–1628) and Richard Dering (c.1580–1630) living and working on the Continent.

David has a longstanding interest in historical performance practice, and considers the critical editing of music to be very closely related to issues of performance when it takes into consideration the role of scribe-players on the texts that have come down to us.

David performs the music he has researched, including Exiled, a recording on which he plays keyboard works by Peter Philips alongside consort music performed by internationally acclaimed Rose Consort of Viols, who are joined by the Choir of King's College, Aberdeen, in some motets which David directs.

Postgraduate Supervision

Previous research students of mine have worked on topics ranging from the revival of music in the worship of the Catholic Church in Scotland, 1789-1829, to the organ music of J.S. Bach, to the secular vocal music of Cornelis Verdonck (1563/4-1625).

Current PhD students are working on tonal design in organs by Harrison & Harrison, curriculum design in English music education and audience development in British orchestras.

I welcome PhD projects in the broad areas of

  • Early English instrumental music (keyboard, lute, consort)
  • Keyboard music
  • Scottish music

Biography

David J. Smith is Professor and Founding Head of Music in the Department of Humanities, and is responsible for developing the exciting new degree programme in Music at Northumbria University. His research is situated in the Early Modern, specialising in English instrumental music of the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. He has expertise in the critical editing of music, and as a performer has several recordings to his name.

David moved to Northumbria University in September 2018 from the University of Aberdeen, where he served as Head of Music and was Master of Chapel and Ceremonial Music. He studied at the University of Oxford, where he was organ scholar at St Peter’s College and then the first John Brookman Graduate Organ Scholar at Wadham. Before taking up a position at Aberdeen, he spent a year as an associate lecturer in Music at the University of Surrey.

Further Information

Performance

As a harpsichordist and recorder player, David co-founded AB24, a trio of musicians performing baroque music in a colourful range of instrumental combinations. He gives recitals as an organist, specialising in improvisation and early keyboard music from England and the Netherlands.

Editorships

Co-founder and General Editor of Ashgate Historical Keyboard Series

Editor of Scottish Music Review

Board Memberships

Chair of Scottish Graduate School of Arts and Humanities, Panel B (2016–18)

The Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM)

  • Council Member and Director (2015–2021)
  • Executive Committee (2010–2012)
  • ISM Governance Working Party (2010–2012)
  • Regional Councillor for East Scotland, Director and Trustee of Members Fund (2004–2007; 2008–2010)
  • Member, Council of Management and Trustee, North East of Scotland Music School (2012–18)

Board Member and Trustee of Grampian Youth Orchestra (2011–18)

Advisory Board, Electronic Locator of Vertical Interval Successions (ELVIS): The First Large Data–Driven Research Project on Musical Style (2012–14)

Member of the Elphinstone Institute Advisory Board (2011–2013

Education/Academic qualification

Music, DPhil, University of Oxford

Music, MA, University of Oxford

Music, BA (Hons), University of Oxford

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