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Emily MacGregor joined King’s Music Department in January 2020 following a Marie Curie Global Fellowship held first at Harvard University (2016-18) and subsequently at Royal Holloway, University of London (2019). Prior to this, Emily completed a DPhil in Music at Oxford University in 2016, an MSt in Music (distinction) at Oxford, and an undergraduate degree in Music and Drama at the University of Manchester. During her doctorate she held visiting fellowships at the Freie Universität in Berlin (DAAD, 2012-13), and at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. (2014). 

Research interests and PhD supervision

  • Twentieth-century musical culture in North America and Germany
  • Modernism
  • Music and the history of technology
  • Diaspora and exile studies

Emily’s broad research interests centre on music and the politics of space and subjectivity in North America and Germany in the first half of the twentieth century, particularly the 1930s. Her forthcoming monograph, Interwar Symphonies and the Imagination: Politics, Identity, and the Sound of 1933 (Cambridge University Press) explores symphonies and symphonic commentary at a moment when European and US politics challenged the genre’s Enlightenment narratives of self-determining subjectivity. In 2019 she was awarded the Royal Musical Association’s Jerome Roche Prize for ‘a distinguished article by a scholar at an early stage of his or her career’.

Her latest research at KCL focuses on diasporic musicians and cultural theorists living in New York in the latter half of the 1930s, examining technological modernity as a lens for subjective experience of displacement.


Nineteenth- and twentieth-century historical topics; critical, historical, and methodological issues in musical thought and scholarship.

Expertise and public engagement 

Emily has discussed her research on BBC Radio 3’s Free Thinking, and is a contributor to the illustrated book 30-Second Classical Music, ed. Joanne Cormac (The Ivy Press, 2017), part of the bestselling 30-Second series.

Selected publications 

  • ‘Cash Flow Aesthetics. On Kurt Weill and the Middlebrow’, in The Oxford Handbook on Music and the Middlebrow, eds. Christopher Chowrimootoo and Kate Guthrie, Oxford University Press (book chapter, forthcoming).
  • 'Review article: Laura Tunbridge, Singing in the Age of Anxiety: Lieder Performances in New York and London Between the Wars (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2018)', Twentieth-Century Music, 2020. 
  • ‘Roy Harris’s Symphony 1933: Biographical Myth-making and Liberal Myth-building in the American West’, Journal of Musicological Research 38 (September 2019), 266-284.
  • ‘Listening for the Intimsphäre: Recovering Berlin 1933 through Hans Pfitzner’s Symphony in C-sharp Minor’, The Musical Quarterly 101 (October 2018), 35-75.
  • ‘Whoever Pays the Piper Calls the Tune: Pressures on Academic Freedom and the Discipline of Music in the UK’, Critical Quarterly 54 (December 2012), 54-73.