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Dr Emily MacGregor

Research Fellow


Emily MacGregor is a Visiting Research Fellow in Music. She joined King’s Music Department on a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship in 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).

You can view Emily's website here.

Research interests and PhD supervision

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

Emily’s broad research interests centre on music and the politics of space and subjectivity. Her monograph, Interwar Symphonies and the Imagination: Politics, Identity, and the Sound of 1933 (Cambridge University Press, 2023), asks what symphonies from the early 1930s can tell us about how people in Western Europe and North America imagined selfhood during a period of international insecurity and political upheaval, of expansionist and colonial fantasies, scientised racism, and emergent fascism. 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 falls in two largely distinct areas: histories of music and emotion, and 1930s New York. With Arman Schwartz and Emily I. Dolan she has a co-edited volume of essays forthcoming with The University of Pennsylvania Press’s Sound in History series, that reimagines the relationships between music and science in modernist contexts, titled Sonic Circulations: Music and Disciplinary Knowledge 1900-1960.


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

Expertise and public engagement 

Emily is a writer and broadcaster, appearing frequently on BBC Radio 3 and 4, including Record Review (for which she is a regular contributor), Soul Music, Free Thinking, BBC Proms, and Music Matters. She has a book on music and grief forthcoming with September and has written for the Guardian. She also works with orchestras and concert venues, giving preconcert talks and writing programme notes. Her literary agent is Ben Dunn of DunnFogg.

Selected publications 

  • Sonic Circulations: Music and Disciplinary Knowledge 1900-1960, co-edited volume with Emily I. Dolan and Arman Schwartz (Philadelphia: The University of Pennsylvania Press, forthcoming 2025).
  • ‘From Berlin to New York: Kurt Weill, the Fantaisie Symphonique, and the Middlebrow’, in The Oxford Handbook on Music and the Middlebrow, eds. Christopher Chowrimootoo and Kate Guthrie (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2024).
  • Interwar Symphonies and the Imagination: Politics, Identity, and the Sound of 1933 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2023).
  • ‘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.