Dr Wiebke Thormählen appointed RNCM Director of Research

We are delighted to announce the appointment of Dr Wiebke Thormählen as Director of Research, commencing in January.

An internationally renowned music historian who is currently Area Leader in History at the Royal College of Music, Dr Thormählen’s research investigates how different social groups have engaged in a variety of musical practices at home and in public: performing, teaching, collecting, arranging, discussing and patronising music. With a focus on arrangements of large-scale works, domestic devotional music and the engagement with opera in the home, she investigates music through its practices, its material objects and its narratives of emotion and well-being.

Wiebke Thormahlen

A professional violinist who has performed with leading early music ensembles in the UK and Europe, Dr Thormählen is co-investigator on the AHRC-funded project Music, Home and Heritage: Sounding the Domestic in Georgian Britain and has held major funding from the Wellcome Trust. She also co-edited The Routledge Companion to Music, Mind and Well-being: Historical and Scientific Perspectives (2018), which brings together chapters by historians, musicians, music psychologists and educators; and Sound Heritage: Making Music Matter in Historic Houses (2021), a collection based on collaborations between musicologists, historians and museum and heritage professionals.

Dr Thormählen, who is currently investigating the early stages of our modern conservatoire system as a way of understanding how our cultural and ideological heritage shapes teaching and training today, said: ‘We live in exciting times: everyone agrees that music is essential to individual and societal well-being but funding for music education is tight. I am very excited to be working with the dynamic team of musical experts at the RNCM to explore how our passion for music through research and practice can help bring valuable music experiences to many.’

Larry Goves and Michelle Phillips

Alongside Dr Thormählen’s appointment, additional changes to the Research Team include fractional roles for Dr Larry Goves (Head of Practice Research) and Dr Michelle Phillips (Head of Enterprise-Academic). Both Larry and Michelle have long-standing relationships with the College, Larry as Deputy Head of Composition (Digital and Research) and Michelle as Deputy Head of Undergraduate Studies and Course Leader for GRNCM.

Professor Linda Merrick, Principal, said: ‘I would like to extend a very warm welcome to Dr Thormählen and her new team, who I know will play an integral part in the RNCM’s strategic mission to define the future of music. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Professor Barbara Kelly, who has led the College’s research strategy and its evolving knowledge exchange agenda with distinction since 2015. I know that everyone here will join me in wishing Barbara all the very best in her new role as Head of the School of Music at the University of Leeds and congratulating Larry and Michelle on being appointed to their new fractional roles in the research team.

25 July 2022