Monthly Archives: August 2013

Lecturer’s Proms Broadcast is Out of this World

As part of the BBC Proms season the Head of the Centre for Music Studies, Dr Miguel Mera, took part in a Proms Plus discussion focusing on the use of music in films set in outer space. Recorded in front of an audience at the Royal College of Music, an edited version of the conversation with presenter Matthew Sweet and fellow composer Anna Meredith was broadcast on BBC Radio 3 during the interval of the film music Prom on Saturday 31st August and can be heard on the BBC iPlayer until 7th September.

Exploring the approaches composers and filmmakers have taken when representing dark matter, alien environments or distant planets, discussion topics included 1950s science fiction cinema, the uses of music technology, and films such as Tarkovsky’s Solaris, Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey and Cameron’s Alien.


Publications by two recent PhD candidates of the Centre for Music Studies

Congratulations are due to two of the Centre’s doctoral candidates whose work has recently appeared in print.

Sini Timonen has written a book chapter on all-girl groups in garage, beat, and rock in the 1960s and 1970s for the anthology Women Make Noise: Girl Bands from Motown to the Modern, edited by Julia Downes (see here). She also contributed the Foreword to the e-book It’s Different for Girls, written by Merle Phillips and Margaret Brown (see here), two members of Mandy and the Girlfriends, an all-female beat group based in Hull and active in the 1960s. Its authors were first inspired to publish their reminiscences back in 2010, after Sini had interviewed them for her PhD dissertation on women musicians’ contribution to popular music in England between 1962 and 1971.

Dr Donat Berköz’s book chapter on the Turkish artist Nazan Öncel and women’s rights in modern Turkey appears in the anthology Resistance in Contemporary Middle Eastern Cultures: Literature, Cinema, and Music, edited by Karima Laachir and Saeed Talajooy (see here). Donat graduated from City University London in 2012 with a PhD dissertation entitled ‘A Gendered Musicological Study of the Work of Four Leading Female Singer-Songwriters: Laura Nyro, Joni Mitchell, Kate Bush, and Tori Amos’.

Dr Berköz was supervised by Dr Christopher Wiley, and Sini Timonen is co-supervised by Dr Wiley and Professor Steve Stanton.



Berköz, Levent Donat. ‘Singing the Unspeakable, Resisting Power: Nazan Öncel, Popular Music, and Women’s Rights in Modern Turkey’. In Resistance in Contemporary Middle Eastern Cultures: Literature, Cinema, and Music (Routledge Research in Postcolonial Literatures), edited by Karima Laachir and Saeed Talajooy, 226–244. New York and London: Routledge, 2013.

Timonen, Sini. ‘Truth Gotta Stand: 60s Garage, Beat, and 70s Rock’. In Women Make Noise: Girl Bands from Motown to the Modern, edited by Julia Downes, 62–82. Twickenham: Supernova Books, 2012.

Timonen, Sini. ‘Foreword’. In It’s Different for Girls, by Merle Phillips and Margaret Brown, iii–vi. Authors, 2013.


City University London’s BMus Music programme is top in the UK for student satisfaction in 2013

City University London’s BMus Music programme has been ranked as top in the UK with 100% student satisfaction in the 2013 National Student Survey (NSS), voted by the students themselves.

Other highlights of the programme’s 2013 survey results included responses to the questions ‘Staff are good at explaining things’ and ‘Staff have made the subject interesting’ (both 100%); ‘Staff are enthusiastic about what they are teaching’, ‘The course is intellectually stimulating’, and ‘I have been able to contact staff when I needed to’ (all 97%); and six other scores in the 90s.

Launched in 2005, the NSS is an annual national survey of final-year undergraduate students, conducted by Ipsos MORI on behalf of the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), and provides the standard measure of student satisfaction used in a number of major league tables. The full results of the 2013 National Student Survey are available from HEFCE’s website.

The University’s statement on its 2013 student satisfaction scores acknowledged Music’s top position in the UK. Music also came top of the 14 courses at the University that achieved an overall satisfaction above 90%.

Dr Christopher Wiley writes for The Conversation UK

Dr Christopher Wiley has contributed an article to The Conversation UK, reflecting on aspects of Stephen Fry’s open letter on Russia’s controversial new anti-gay laws (which called for a ban on the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi) from his own perspective as musicologist, scholar, and teacher.

One claim that Fry made in his letter about the potential consequences of exploring Tchaikovsky’s sexuality and its relationship to his life and work under Russia’s controversial new legislation prompted Dr Wiley to reconsider elements of his own research on musical biography, not just on Tchaikovsky but also on Britten and Ethel Smyth.

Published on 12 August 2013 shortly after Fry’s letter went viral, Dr Wiley’s article, ‘Academics should stand with Fry against anti-gay Russia’, broke new ground for The Conversation UK for its content. It soon received thousands of views, helped in part by a mention by Fry himself on Twitter three days after it originally appeared.

The Conversation UK is an independent news and commentary website offering in-depth analysis, research, news, and ideas from academics and researchers, and has received over 300,000 visitors since its launch three months ago. Modelled on its successful Australian counterpart, its founding partners comprise 13 UK universities including City University London and the University of Surrey.

Since the article was originally published, The Guardian reported on 25 August 2013 that that a Russian biopic about Tchaikovsky toned down the composer’s sexuality for fear of facing repercussions under the new legislation.