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Dr Katherine Hambridge

Associate Professor of Musicology

Associate Professor of Musicology in the Department of Music+44 (0) 191 33 43161


Katherine Hambridge is an Associate Professor in Musicology at Durham University. She took up her post in 2016, following a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Warwick on the AHRC-funded project “French Theatre of the Napoleonic Era”; and undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in Music at the University of Cambridge, where she was also organ scholar at Girton College.

Katherine researches French and German musical life in the first half of the nineteenth century, currently with three intersecting areas of focus: music and politics; popular music theatre; and voice and gender. 

  • She is completing a monograph drawn from her PhD, which offers new ways to think about musical and political modernity (“um 1800”) through the case study of Berlin’s theatres, taking in warsongs, the music of spoken theatre, royal birthday concerts and discourses of “high” and “low” art. Her article in the Journal of the American Musicological Society, “Staging Singing in the Theater of War (Berlin, 1805)”, won the Royal Musical Association’s 2016 Jerome Roche Prize.
  • Her work on popular music theatre involves tracing the transfer and circulation of repertoire (such as melodramas and vaudevilles) and personnel between Paris, London, Vienna and Berlin, and the assertion and reception of genre and high/low boundaries in response to this movement. She has led workshops with actors and musicians on the reconstructed scores of melodramas and vaudevilles in order to begin to reconstruct the performance practices and aesthetics of these genres. Together with Dr Jonathan Hicks, she edited the volume The Melodramatic Moment: Music and Theatrical Culture, 1790-1820, which appeared with the University of Chicago Press in 2018; her forthcoming article on ‘Genre Consciousness in the Napoleonic Theatre’ uses insights from performance studies to shed new light on both theoretical approaches to genre and the particular moment of post-Revolutionary experimentation and hybridity in Parisian theatre.
  • Katherine’s work on the voice concerns the nineteenth-century project of defining the German singing voice (alongside the project of defining German opera) and the role of gendered rhetoric in the attribution of vocal nationality. Her chapter for Cambridge University Press on “(Cross-)Gendering the German Voice” shows how the soprano Pauline Anna Milder-Hauptmann became an early focus for the discourse of the German voice, and demonstrates the centrality of her ambivalent gender performance to this discourse.

Katherine is committed to the wider communication of her research. Together with colleagues at Warwick University, she was responsible for curating and editing the online exhibition ‘The Last Stand: Napoleon’s 100 Days in 100 Objects’, which attempted to provide some historical balance and nuance to the commemoratory and activities surrounding the 200-year anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. She has organised a number of lecture concerts on the theme of music and politics, including at the V&A, the British Museum, and the Bowes Museum, County Durham. Katherine worked with the Royal Northern Sinfonia to find ways to introduce their repertoire to new audiences in the region: click through to see her talking about classical chamber music and sociability and musical Romanticism and industrialisation.

Research interests

  • French and German music culture between Revolutions
  • voice, song, singing
  • music and politics
  • popular music theatre, genre categorisation and cultural value
  • performance practice and practice-based research


Book review

Chapter in book

Edited book

Journal Article

Other (Digital/Visual Media)

Supervision students