Dr Amy Blier-Carruthers
Teaching Fellow in Performance
Amy is a passionate and innovative educator who specializes in performance studies and recording studio practices. She is co-investigator on the AHRC Digital Transformations project ‘Classical Music Hyper-Production and Practice-as-Research’, https://www.uwl.ac.uk/classical-music-hyper-production/about-project, a core member of the AHRC Research Network ‘Performance in the Studio’ http://www.artofrecordproduction.com/ahrc-performance-in-the-studio, and has collaborated with Aleks Kolkowski (Science Museum) on the AHRC-funded project based around a re-enactment of the Arthur Nikisch 1913 acoustic recording by the Berlin Philharmonic of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5.
Amy is Teaching Fellow in Performance at King's College London, as well as Lecturer in Postgraduate Studies at the Royal Academy of Music. She read music at King’s College London, concurrently undertaking her practical studies in violin at the Royal Academy of Music. She received her PhD from King’s College London, working with Prof. Daniel Leech-Wilkinson (supported by an AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award linked to the CHARM project). She then went on to lecture at the Royal College of Music for three years, before joining the Royal Academy of Music (University of London) in 2014 and King’s College London in 2016.
She is a member of the steering committee of the Institute of Musical Research (IMR), is a peer reviewer for the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and Cambridge University Press, is involved with the Cambridge Centre for Musical Performance Studies (CMPS) working group, and was Impact Fellow at the University of Cambridge whilst researching and writing the impact report for the AHRC Centre for Musical Performance as Creative Practice (CMPCP). She is also a member of the Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion in Music Studies (EDIMS) Network.
She has been a pre-concert speaker at the Wigmore Hall, and has been interviewed for BBC Radio 3’s CD Review. She has been invited to give colloquia, lectures and workshops at: Princeton University, University of Oxford, King’s College London, The Institute of Musical Research (CMPCP/IMR Seminars), the Smithsonian Institution (Washington), Golsdsmith’s (University of London), the Royal College of Music, the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, the Utrecht Early Music Festival symposium, and the Royal College of Art (AcrossRCA ‘Walkative’).
- Recording and studio practices
- Live versus recorded performance practices
- Ethnographic methods for studying classical music
- Recording as evidence of performance practice
- Performance analysis
Amy’s research interests revolve around recordings and performance practice, and by definition involve a focus on the 20th and 21st centuries and the cultural contexts of music-making. Her work focuses particularly on musicians’ experiences in the recording studio and in live performance contexts, and on raising questions about creative agency and collaborative working practices. She has been involved with several AHRC-funded research projects, and her book (Routledge, forthcoming 2021), partly based on her doctoral research, is an ethnographic and analytical study of classical music-making, focused on the conductor Sir Charles Mackerras. She has investigated his recordings and live performances, exploring the issues that arise when comparing these different performance situations. In addition to detailed analysis of the performances, there is a strong contextual aspect to this research which involves interviewing Sir Charles himself, the musicians, producers, and engineers he worked with, and fieldwork observation of the rehearsal, concert, and recording processes. Amy’s interests in both the contextual and practical aspects of music extend beyond her research; her academic career has been balanced with her work both as a performer and violin teacher.
She lectures in subjects involving recording processes, live versus recorded performance practices, ethnographic methods for studying classical music-making, innovative performer-led concert practices, and using recordings as evidence of past performance style along with their associated aesthetic and cultural contexts. She is also author of the Royal Academy of Music’s Professional Diploma in Collaborative Recording Production.
- From Stage to Studio: Classical Performance versus Recording, (Routledge, New York, forthcoming 2021). [Monograph]
- ‘The Influence of Technology on Performance – Classical Perspectives’, in The Bloomsbury Handbook of Music Production, Simon Zagorski-Thomas and Andrew Bourbon (eds.), (Bloomsbury, London: 2020). [Chapter]
- ‘The Problem of Perfection in Classical Recording: The Performer’s Perspective’, Musical Quarterly (Oxford University Press, forthcoming Summer 2020). [Article]
- Walking Cities: London, in collaboration with the Royal College of Art. Jaspar Joseph-Lester, Simon King, Amy Blier-Carruthers, and Roberto Bottazzi (eds.), (2nd edition Routledge, New York, 2020, ISBN 9780367407896), (1st edition Camberwell Press, London: 2016, ISBN 978-1-908971-49-4). My chapter proposes a model for the use of ethnographic techniques for studying artistic practice: ‘The Travelling Mindset: A Method for Seeing Everything Anew’. [Co-edited book and authored chapter]
- ‘The Art and Science of Acoustic Recording: Re-enacting Arthur Nikisch and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra’s landmark 1913 recording of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony’, Amy Blier-Carruthers, Aleks Kolkowski, and Duncan Miller, in The Science Museum Group Journal, Issue 3: Communications, Spring 2015. http://journal.sciencemuseum.ac.uk/browse/issue-03/the-art-and-science-of-acoustic-recording/ [Article]
- (In progress) Contributing author for forthcoming book Recorded Music in Current Practice and Research: Critical Perspectives on Performance, Creativity and Technology, edited by Georgia Volioti and Daniel Barolsky. The chapter will be co-authored with Peter Sheppard Skaerved, and will be entitled: “Perfection” versus “Expression”?: Experimental and Collaborative Approaches to Recording Classical Music’. [Co-authored chapter]
- ‘The Studio Experience: Control and collaboration’, Amy Blier-Carruthers (with Stephen Johns), in Proceedings of the International Symposium on Performance Science (Vienna, August 2013), pp.693-98. ISBN978-2-9601378-0-4; http://performancescience.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/isps2013_proceedings.pdf [Published conference paper]
- ‘The Performer’s Place in the Process and Product of Recording’, CMPCP Performance Studies Network Second International Conference, University of Cambridge (April 2013), http://www.cmpcp.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/PSN2013_Blier-Carruthers.pdf [Published conference paper]