Denis Herlin

Photo of Denis Herlin

International Chair in Musicology

Denis has taken up the position of International Chair in Musicology at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester for six years (2017-2023).

Denis Herlin is the second ever International Chair in Musicology at the RNCM. During his visits he gives research lectures at the Research Forum seminars on aspects of French music, in particular, on Debussy, Couperin and Rameau.

He also works with schools of study, for instance, the School of Vocal Studies and Opera and the School of Keyboard Studies, and he advises doctoral students working on archival sources and French music.

He gave the Michael Kennedy International Research Lecture in October 2017 and was keynote speaker at the Claude Debussy in 2018: A centenary Celebration at the RNCM in March 2018.

Denis Herlin is Directeur de recherche at the IReMUS (Institut de recherche en musicologie), a subdivision of the CNRS (Centre national de la recherche scientifique), headquartered at the Bibliothèque nationale de France, in Paris. He is author of several major catalogues, including the Collection musicale François-Lang (1993) and the Catalogue du fonds musical de la bibliothèque de Versailles (1995), and he is co-editor (with Sylvie Bouissou and Pascal Dénécheau) of the ongoing Catalogue thématique des œuvres de Jean-Philippe Rameau (3 vol. published).

With François Lesure, Herlin collected and edited the first complete edition of Debussy’s letters—Claude Debussy, Correspondance 1872-1918—a volume brought to completion by Herlin after the untimely death of François Lesure in 2001.

In 2002 Herlin became editor-in-chief of the Œuvres complètes de Claude DebussyHe has now edited or seen through the press eighteenth of the thirty-six volumes projected for this monumental edition.

While his publications concern French music from the seventeenth to the twentieth century, his current activity centers upon François Couperin, Jean-Philippe Rameau, and the life and work of Debussy.

He has recently published with Bruce Gustafson a new critical edition of Chambonnières’s harpsichord music (2 vol.) From 2009 to 2011 Denis Herlin was President of the Société française de musicologie.

Professional Activity

Selected bibliography


Claude Debussy, Correspondance 1872-1918, Denis Herlin, François Lesure, Paris, Gallimard, 2005.


Jean-Philippe Rameau, Catalogue thématique des œuvres musicales, Sylvie Bouissou, Denis Herlin, avec la collaboration de Pascal Denécheau, dans Jean-Philippe Rameau, Opera Omnia, série vi, vol. 1-3, « Musique instrumentale, Musique vocale sacrée et profane », « Les livrets », « Musique dramatique (1re partie) d’Acante et Céphise à Hippolyte et Aricie », Paris, CNRS/BnF éditions, 2003-2010.


Pelléas et Mélisande cent ans après : études et documents, Jean-Christophe Branger, Sylvie Douche et Denis Herlin (dir.), Lyon, Symétrie, 2012.


Éditions critiques

Claude Debussy, Nocturnes, partition d’orchestre dans Œuvres complètes de Claude Debussy, série v/3, Paris, Éditions Durand, 1999.


Gabriel Fauré, Quatuors avec piano op. 15 et op. 45, dans Œuvres complètes de Claude Debussy, série V/2, Cassel, Bärenreiter, 2010.


Jean-Philippe Rameau, Dardanus, 1739, Denis Herlin, Cécile Davy-Rigaux (éd.), réduction chant-clavier de François Saint-Yves dans Jean-Philippe Rameau Opera omnia, OOR IV.5, Tauxigny, Société Jean-Philippe Rameau/Bärenreiter, 2013.


Jacques Champion de Chambonnières, The Collected Works, Bruce Gustafson and Denis Herlin (éd.), New York, The Broude Trust, 2017.



“Sirens in the Labyrinth : amendments in the Nocturnes of Debussy,” in Debussy Studies, R. Langham Smith (ed), Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1997, p. 51-76.


“Des Proses lyriques aux Nuits blanches ou Debussy et la tentation poétique,” in La note bleue, mélanges en hommage au Professeur Jean-Jacques Eigeldinger, J. Waeber (ed.), Berne, Peter Lang Verlag, 2006, p. 299-328.


“An Artist High and Low, or, Debussy and Money,” in Rethinking Debussy, E. Antokoletz and M. Wheeldon (ed.), New York et Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2011, p. 149-202.


“‘Souvent dans le plus doux sort’: notes on a newly-discovered autograph letter and drinking song by François Couperin ,” Early Music, vol. 41, Issue 3, August 2013, p. 393-401.


“From Debussy’s Studio: The Little-Known Autograph of De rêve, the First of the Proses lyriques (1892),” Notes, vol. 70/4 (2014), p. 9-34.


“Une version méconnue de Castor et Pollux,” in Rameau, entre art et sciences, S. Bouissou and G. Sadler (ed.), Paris, École des Chartes, 2016, p. 255-270.


« The Kunkelmann Manuscripts: New Sources for Early Mélodies (1881-1882) by Claude Debussy », dans Debussy’Resonance,F. de Médicis and S. Huebner (ed.), Rochester, Rochester University Press, à paraître en 2018.