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Roger Parker

Professor Roger Parker

Thurston Dart Professor of Music

Tel +44 (0)20 7848 2392
Address Room 3.12 East Wing
Music Department
King's College London
Strand Campus


Roger studied at the University of London, first at Goldsmiths College, then at King’s College. In 1982 he moved to Cornell University in upstate New York, where he was Assistant Professor and then Associate Professor. In 1994 he returned to England to become a Lecturer in Music (later Professor) and Fellow of St Hugh’s College, Oxford. In 1999 he became Professor of Music at Cambridge, where he was a Fellow of St John’s College and (in 2005-6) Chair of the School of Arts and Humanities. In 2002 he was the Visiting Ernest Bloch Lecturer at the University of California, Berkeley; in 2007 he was a visiting scholar at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton. From 2006 to 2010 he delivered four series of free public lectures as Professor of Music at Gresham College.
Research Interests and PhD supervision
  • 19th-century opera
  • critical theory
  • music in 19th-century London
For many years Roger’s work has centred on opera, in particular Italian opera of the 19th century. For ten years he was founding co-editor (with Arthur Groos) of the Cambridge Opera Journal, and he continues as General Editor (with Gabriele Dotto) of the Donizetti Critical Edition. His main research area now is music in London, and he is Director of the ERC-funded project “Music in London, 1800-1851”. He received the Premio Giuseppe Verdi in 1986, was a Guggenheim Fellow in 1986-7, in 1991 was awarded the Dent Medal of the Royal Musical Association and in 2008 was elected a Fellow of the British Academy.

For more details, please see his full research profile.

Selected Publications
  • The New Grove Guide to Verdi and his Operas (Oxford, 2007)
  • Puccini: Manon Lescaut, special issue of The Opera Quarterly, 24/1-2 (2008); ed.
  • A History of Opera: The Last 400 Years (Allen Lane/Norton, 2012; paperback 2nd ed., 2015). With Carolyn Abbate
  • “Two Styles in 1830s London: ‘The form and order of a perspicuous unity’”, in Nicholas Mathew and Benjamin Walton, eds., The Invention of Beethoven and Rossini (Cambridge University Press, 2013)
  • Giacomo Puccini: Manon Lescaut, Edizione critica delle opere di Giacomo Puccini (Ricordi, 2013)
For a complete list of publications, please see Roger's full research profile.

At undergraduate level, I’ve taught courses at all levels. For first year students I sometime run a course on Music Techniques, but more often one on Nineteenth-century Music. In the latter I try to include a fairly large dose of cultural history. so it’s more a course on “music in society” rather than a history of musical works. For the second and third years I regularly teach a course of Film Music, which is developing all the time but which always seems to start with Hitchcock and Psycho. I also have a course on nineteenth-century Italian opera, the area of most of my research.

At masters’ level, I’ve taught the Introduction to Musicology module (what we tend to nickname “boot camp”) and, more recently, a course on opera analysis.

Expertise and public engagement

Roger writes regular reviews for Opera magazine, has written numerous programme books for the major opera houses (Royal Opera, ENO, Glyndebourne) and appears often on BBC Radio 3. He is also Repertory Consultant for the recording company Opera Rara.



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