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Michael Fend

Dr Michael Fend


Tel +44 (0)20 7848 2634

Music Department
King's College London
Strand Campus


Michael Fend studied Musicology (with Carl Dahlhaus), German Literature and Philosophy at the TU and FU Berlin. For his PhD he translated and critically commented on Zarlino’s Istitutioni harmoniche in which Zarlino attempted to construct an irrefutable theory of tonality. He further investigated the history of Renaissance pre-rational and symbolic thinking at the Warburg Institute in London, where he had also come to learn English without realising that this would become a lifelong task. In London he pursued a project on non-classical traditions in Opera around 1800 to combat the German-centered historiography of Classical music. Focussing on Cherubini’s operatic dramaturgies, contemporary aesthetics and on institutional practices he has tried to establish the conditions under which a composer could continue in his métier during the French revolutionary period. Before joining King’s College London in 1993, he taught at the Universities of Aberdeen and Nottingham and was a fellow of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, the Society for the Humanities (Cornell University), and of the DAAD at the Maison des sciences de l’homme (Paris). Since 2005 he is also Privatdozent at the University of Bayreuth; in 2005 he was Visiting Professor at the University of Hamburg.

Research Interests and PhD supervision
  • Intellectual History of Music and Music Historiography
  • Nationalism in Music 
  • History of Opera 
  • History of Music Theory

Michael Fend's present research projects focus on inclusive and exclusive musical nationalism in nineteenth-century Europe, which was stimulated by the ESF workshop on “Music, Culture and Politics in Early Nineteenth-Century Europe”, held at King’s in 2010, and on ideologies and practices of tonality in the early twentieth century.

Michael welcomes applications for PhD topics related to any of his research interests. 

For more details, please see his full research profile.

Selected Publications
  • Cherubinis Pariser Opern (1788-1803), (Beihefte zum Archiv für Musikwissenschaft, Bd. 59) (Stuttgart, 2007)
  • (ed. with Michel Noiray), Musical Education in Europe (1770-1914): Compositional, Institutional, and Political Challenges (Musical Life in Europe, 1600-1900: Circulation, Institutions, Representation), 2vols. (Berlin, 2005)
  • “Ingenuous Entertainment and Reveries: Music in some English Country Houses in the Late Eighteenth Century”, Innenseiten des Gartenreiches – Die Wörlitzer Interieurs im englisch-deutschen Kulturtransfer, ed. H. Dilly, C. Holm [in press]
  • “Cosimo Bartoli and the Language of Musical Experience in Sixteenth-Century Italy”, Cosimo Bartoli 1503-1572, ed. D. Lamberini [in press]

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


MMus Programme

History of Music Theory I and II (From Antiquity to 19th Century)
Faust in Music
Issues in Historiography and Criticism
Music and Enlightenment
Late Beethoven

BMus Programme

Sixteenth- and Seventeenth-Century Music Festivals
Issues and Topics in the Eighteenth-Century History of Music
Music and Society in France, 1789-1870
Middle Beethoven
The Beethoven Myth
Issues and Topics in the Nineteenth-Century History of Music
Narrative and Lyricism in Nineteenth-Century French and German Song
Nineteenth-Century Programme Music
Gustav Mahler
Claude Debussy
Music and Society in France around 1900
Opera and Reason

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