Music Colloquium: Transforming 19th-century historical performing practice

The speaker is Claire Holden (University of Oxford)


Transforming C19 HIP (TCHIP) is a 5-year research project hosted by the University of Oxford Faculty of Music. The project began in April 2016 and is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

The orchestral and chamber music of the C19th is some of the most widely performed music, and yet – until now – most professional performances of this repertoire have been relatively untouched by what is known about C19th historical style. TCHIP seeks to understand why historical performance scholarship has had little influence on professional performance, and aims to bridge the widely-recognized gap between performers and scholars.

What makes this project different is that it deliberately employs innovative, interdisciplinary approaches and methods. Half of the research team have backgrounds in historical performance and musicology, and the other half in empirical musicology. The research strands are conceived, planned and delivered in ways that reflect these different fields and move away from the methods commonly used in traditional HIP (historically informed performance) scholarship.

This presentation will include an outline of the project, along with emerging research that has significant implications for the performance of C19th music today.

About the speaker

Claire Holden (Royal College of Music) is a professional period instrument violinist and has been a member of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment (OAE) since 2000. With OAE, Claire has performed and recorded a vast range of Baroque, Classical and Romantic repertoire, varying from self-directed chamber programmes to early twentieth-century symphonic repertoire and commissions by contemporary composers. In addition, Claire has played with many other period instrument ensembles including The Sixteen, Florilegium, Steinitz Bach Players and Collegium Musicum 90.

Claire was awarded an AHRC Fellowship in the Creative and Performing Arts in 2010, and she spent 4 years at Cardiff University researching early nineteenth-century violin playing and lecturing on historical performance before coming to the University of Oxford Music Faculty as a Research Fellow in 2014. In April 2016 Claire became Principal Investigator on the 5 year, AHRC funded Transforming C19 HIP project, leading a team of four researchers. Claire is also a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Christ Church, Oxford.

Claire teaches Historical Performance classes at the Royal Academy of Music, London and has given lectures, workshops and masterclasses and coaching projects in many UK universities and conservatoires, as well as at the Koninklijk Conservatorium, Den Haag, Universität der Künste Berlin, Université de Poitiers, L’Université Paris-Sorbonne, Jeune Orchestre de l’Abbaye (Abbaye aux Dames, Saintes). She has presented a number of pre-concert talks at the Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall London and on the radio for the BBC Proms. Claire is often asked to provide advice and coaching to soloists, orchestral leaders, and professional ensembles on early nineteenth-century string playing.