Dr Katherine Hambridge
Katherine Hambridge is an Assistant Professor in Musicology at Durham University. Her research focuses on French and German musical life in the first half of the nineteenth century, taking in music and politics, art and popular song, and music theatre from opera to vaudeville.
Katherine gained her undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in Music at the University of Cambridge, during which time she held the organ scholarship at Girton College. In her doctoral research on Berlin, 1800-1815 (completed 2013), she examined how music articulated and shaped Berliners’ relationships with the past and with political identities during turbulent Napoleonic period. After her PhD, Katherine spent time in Berlin on a Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst research grant, working on a project on the city's first Volkstheater, the Königsstädtisches Theater, before taking up a post as research fellow in the School of Modern Languages and Cultures at the University of Warwick, on the interdisciplinary AHRC-funded project on ‘French Theatre of the Napoleonic Era’. She joined the department at Durham in 2016.
Her research has been published in the Annales de la Révolution française, the Cambridge Opera Journal and the Journal of the American Musicological Society; her article for the latter, “Staging Singing in the Theater of War (Berlin, 1805)”, won the Royal Musical Association’s 2016 Jerome Roche Prize. Together with Dr Jonathan Hicks, she edited the volume The Melodramatic Moment: Music and Theatrical Culture, 1790-1820, which appeared with the University of Chicago Press in 2018. Katherine is currently completing a monograph drawn from her PhD, which offers new ways to think about musical modernity (‘um 1800’) through the case study of Berlin’s theatres; her new research project concerns the transfer and circulation of ‘popular’ music theatre repertoire (such as melodramas and vaudevilles) and personnel between Paris, London, Vienna and Berlin, 1789-1848, and in particular the assertion and reception of genre and of boundaries between ‘high’ and ‘low’ art. Katherine often uses performance as a research tool in examining forgotten repertoires, drawing on her own experience as singer, conductor and organist/pianist.
Katherine is committed to the wider communication of her research. Together with colleagues at Warwick University, she was responsible for curating and editing the online exhibition ‘The Last Stand: Napoleon’s 100 Days in 100 Objects’ (www.100days.eu), which attempted to provide some historical balance and nuance to the commemoratory activities surrounding the 200-year anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. She has organised a number of lecture concerts on the theme of music and politics, most recently at the Bowes Museum, County Durham, to coincide with their exhibition on ‘The Allure of Napoleon’.