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Heather Wiebe

Dr Heather Wiebe

Heather_WiebeSenior Lecturer in Music

Tel +44 (0) 207 848 1968

Room 4B, South East Block,
Music Department

King's College London
Strand Campus


Heather Wiebe joined the department in 2013. She taught at the University of Virginia (2008-2012) and was a fellow in the Michigan Society of Fellows at the University of Michigan (2005-2008). She completed her Ph.D. at the University of California, Berkeley in 2005, after studying at McGill University and the University of Manitoba (Canada). She is a member of the editorial board of The Opera Quarterly.

Research Interests and PhD supervision
  • Modernism
  • British cultural studies
  • Opera studies
  • Music in film

Heather’s work has been most persistently concerned with mid-20th-century modernism and modernity, and particularly with issues of memory, community and affect. Her book Britten’s Unquiet Pasts: Sound and Memory in Postwar Reconstruction examines music’s role in a project of British cultural renewal after the Second World War, by way of educational and ‘occasional’ works by Benjamin Britten. Dealing with issues of cultural memory and loss, it explores how a past imagined as sound appealed at this postwar moment. Her special issue of The Opera Quarterly on the theme of ‘Opera and Obsolescence’ deals further with the question of music’s relationship to the past, as does her article on Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress, examining the opera’s approach to feeling and the singing voice as objects of preservation. Current projects deal with music and sound in mid-century British film (especially ‘women’s pictures’, documentary and propaganda film) and with opera in the last half of the twentieth century, and are concerned in part with the troubled intersections between feeling and cultural repetition.

Heather welcomes PhD students in the areas of opera studies, British musical culture, and 20th century music.

For more details, please see her full research profile.

Selected Publications
  • Britten’s Unquiet Pasts: Sound and Memory in Postwar Reconstruction (Cambridge University Press, 2012).
  • Opera and Obsolescence, special issue of The Opera Quarterly 25/1-2 (Winter-Spring 2009).
  • Curlew River and Cultural Encounter’, in Rethinking Britten, ed. Philip Rupprecht (Oxford University Press, forthcoming 2013).
  • The Rake’s Progress as Opera Museum’, The Opera Quarterly 25 (Winter-Spring 2009): 6-27.

For a complete list of publications, please see Heather's full research profile.


Heather teaches courses on 19th-20th-century music, especially opera and modernism. Past courses have included Approaches to Auditory
Culture, Music and Empire, Sentimental Modernism and Neoclassicism.
Upcoming modules at King’s include courses on opera in the 20th century and on Benjamin Britten.

Expertise and Public Engagement

Heather has been invited to speak at the Royal Festival Hall and at public conferences held in conjunction with The Royal Danish Opera and the Berlin Staatsoper. She speaks and writes on opera and opera productions, on Britten and British music, and on other aspects of musical modernism.

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