Rachel Johnson (2021)

Musical networks in early-Victorian Manchester, 1836-1860

Rachel is investigating musical life in early-Victorian Manchester, identifying what musical activity was taking place, who was taking part in such activity, and how this related to the changing structures of industrial society. Rachel is exploring the interactions between a network of industrial philanthropists and musical entrepreneurs, seeking to uncover the ways musical engagement shaped and was shaped by the developing social, cultural and civic life of the newly industrialised city. 

Particular areas of interest at present include the Manchester Mechanics’ Institute, Athenaeum and Royal Manchester Institution, the Hargreaves Choral Society, and a number of glee and madrigal societies. Rachel’s research is supported by a NWCDTP AHRC Studentship, and she is supervised by Prof Richard Wistreich (RCM), Prof. Martin Harlow (RNCM) and Prof. Dave Day (MMU).

Rachel previously gained a Masters in performance from the RWCMD, prior to that studying at the University of Manchester, and remains active as a freelance flautist alongside her PhD study. She has given recitals in venues including St Martin-in-the-fields, and has further developed earlier research projects into nineteenth-century British flute culture into lecture-recital and concert programmes. Rachel has also contributed to the Music in Manchester during World War 1 project at the RNCM, the History of the Humanities research network together with the Universities of Manchester and Amsterdam, and has led sessions for the Sonic Cultures research group in Manchester and the Music in London ERC-funded project at KCL.  

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