Deborah Mawer supervises 1 postgraduate research students. Some of the students have produced research profiles, these are listed below:
Twentieth-century French music (Ravel, Milhaud, Poulenc, Honegger,
Jolivet); Ballet; French interactions with jazz/popular music; Jack
Hylton and the dance band; Music analysis; Music education.
Recent/current doctoral students:
Helen Julia Minors: Music-dance relations in Dukas, La Péri (PhD 2007)
Philip Purvis: Word-music relations in Poulenc, Les Mamelles de Tirésias (PhD 2011)
Emma Gallon: Music and narrative in Thomas Ades (PhD 2011)
Adam Greig: Performance analysis of Tailleferre's interwar piano music
PhD Supervisions on French Music, Cultural History and Analysis; Dissertation Groups: Music & Meaning; Jazz & Dance Band; Music and Education (MUSC340/1); Musicology modules on Paris in the 1920s and 1930s and Ravel's Ballets; Enterprise Unit: Arts Education & Therapy (LICA201); Critical Reflections (LICA200); Musicology Case Study: Stravinsky, Le Sacre du printemps (LICA100); Music Theory & Practice (LICA160); The Belle Epoque (1885-1914), Cultural History & Music (HIST100).
Deborah Mawer is Professor of Music, with an international research specialism in twentieth-century French music. Educated at King's College London and the Royal Academy of Music, her interest in the musicology and analysis of French music developed with a doctorate at King's (1991), supervised by Prof. Arnold Whittall. She lectured at Newcastle University (1992-5) and was then appointed to Lancaster. Across 1996-2000, she was Vice-President of the Society for Music Analysis. In 2001 she was promoted to Senior Lecturer, and in 2004-5 served as Faculty Associate Dean, later acting as Director of Studies for Music and Undergraduate Director for LICA. Deborah was appointed to a Readership in 2009 and a Personal Chair in 2010. She acts as reader for a wide range of US and UK journals and publishers, and as a referee for the European Research Council and for the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. She has broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and on Radio 4, with Robert Winston. She is currently External Examiner for the Master of Studies at the University of Oxford.
Deborah's first monograph, Darius Milhaud: Modality& Structure in Music of the 1920s (1997), analyses Milhaud's music by developing techniques previously applied to Stravinsky. Partly funded by Music Analysis, it comprises a series of case studies, focusing on the jazz-inspired ballet La Création du monde. Her research interests expanded with editorship of The Cambridge Companion to Ravel (2000), collaborating with American and UK scholars. This much reviewed volume was funded by a British Academy Small Grant.
A fascination with music-dance relations led to The Ballets of Maurice Ravel (2006), the first monograph dedicated to this repertoire, funded by AHRC Research Leave and two British Academy Small Grants. This widely reviewed book argues that Ravel's music must be situated in its interarts cultural context. It (re)discovers and discusses historical sources: scenarios, manuscripts, dance documentation, designs and reviews from the Bibliothèque nationale de France and Royal Opera House Archives. Creative and interpretative dimensions are embraced. Wide-ranging issues of ontology, autonomy and identity arise when a new production becomes a new work, or when one constituent impacts upon our perception of another. An edited Ravel Studies volume, on an interdisciplinary theme with distinguished international contributors (partly funded by Music & Letters), was published in 2010 by Cambridge University Press.
Deborah is currently completing a fifth book entitled French Music in Conversation with Jazz: From Debussy to Brubeck, which examines classical-jazz interactions, viewed from both perspectives and within two historical timeframes. Her other French-related research focuses on Lancaster's Jack Hylton Archive as a rich resource for exploring popular music of the interwar years. She is a member of the Centre for Transcultural Writing and Research at Lancaster University.
As an Editorial Board member of The British Journal of Music Education, and former Senior Academic Adviser for PALATINE (2006-8), with a background in instrumental teaching and further education, she has long-standing interests in music education and pedagogy. In 2008, Deborah was awarded a National Teaching Fellowship for her significant work in this domain, having previously won Lancaster University's Pilkington Teaching Prize (2000).
Recent Research Funding
Ravel, ballet and jazz, L’Observatoire interdisciplinaire de création et de recherche en musique (OICRM, 2011, 2012); Ravel Studies, Music & Letters (2009); National Teaching Fellowship (2008-11); Nostalgia & Innovation in Twentieth-Century French Music, Royal Musical Association (2008); British Academy small grants (2004-5, 2002); AHRC Research Leave (2003-4).
'[Ravel Studies:] ‘a proliferation of high-quality scholarship in the wake of the indispensable Cambridge Companion to Ravel ... As with the earlier Cambridge Companion, Mawer proves a discriminating editor, this time of a collection focused on targeted aspects of Ravel’s achievement. ... Deborah Mawer’s wide-ranging essay, displaying an admirable balance between history and analysis, explores the tenuous relationship between Ravel’s jazz-inspired works and authentic American examples. ... Mawer concludes that Ravel’s “French-accented and personalized” application of jazz element lacked the firsthand experience that characterized other composers (above all Milhaud) ... a welcome addition to the general literature on modern music ... Ravel’s music and legacy endures, supported by divergent references in popular culture and [the] fresh scholarly insights this collection epitomizes so well.' (Notes, March 2012 [USA]).
'Editor Deborah Mawer’s “Crossing borders II: Ravel’s theory and practice of jazz” discusses the many intriguing intricacies of how … early, 1920s-era jazz was viewed by Ravel’s contemporaries, and how it was consciously adapted for use within the classical forms. Mawer points out the subtleties of how Ravel was able to impart a French “accent” to these American vernacular idioms. … a compendium of nine scholarly chapters about Ravel … Ravel Studies is an outstanding addition to the Ravel literature … Highly recommended.' (Music Media Monthly, July 2011 [USA]).
'Subjecting popular music to academic techniques is dangerous territory, but Deborah Mawer, with her intensive knowledge of the field, provides convincing analyses of the two jazz-inspired piano concertos, and the violin and piano sonata in “Ravel’s theory and practice of jazz”, which well explains the composer’s belief in its value for classical composers as embodying the modernist age, as well as relating to larger questions of national identity.' ([Ravel Studies] Musical Times, Autumn 2011).
'It is not often that we come across a scholarly study of ballet, let alone one devoted to Maurice Ravel's accomplishments. In her second [book] contribution to scholarship on Ravel in six years, Deborah Mawer manages to achieve both in a single volume. ... [It] is among the first English-language publications to undertake a thorough investigation of original sources ... [and] will surely attract the wide readership that she envisions.' (Music & Letters, Feb 2008).
'The Ballets of Maurice Ravel is a significant contribution by a leading scholar of twentieth-century French classical music …; it is the first comprehensive investigation of the role of ballet within the composer's oeuvre; it confronts and helps to overcome the historical divide between scholarly discourses on music and dance ... Consequently, The Ballets is not only indispensable for those who study Ravel and twentieth-century classical ballet, but also edifying and accessible to a much broader readership … this foundational book is certain to generate a new and lively discussion about Ravel's music and his ballets, and promises to exert a lasting influence upon future scholarship'. (Notes, June 2007 [USA]).
'And a feast of meticulous scholarship and unbiased evaluation her study proves to be, even to those who already know a good deal about Ravel's music. … Ravel's sumptuous textural magic is ever-present in his ballets, and Mawer's study is the best way to discover all that it has to offer, and has already offered to choreographers the world over.' (Robert Orledge, Professor Emeritus, University of Liverpool, 2007).
'This solid, well-organized volume offers a balanced discussion of dance and music in the ballets of Ravel.' (ChoiceReviews.online, Jan 2007 [USA]).
'A powerful study of unusual scope' (Dancing Times, Nov 2006).
'the first [book] to concentrate on this important aspect [ballet] and to deal not only with the works themselves and their premieres, but also with … the more striking subsequent productions … Mawer has been diligent in seeking them out and often perspicacious in evaluating them' (Roger Nichols, BBC Music Magazine, Aug 2006).
'"French Music in the 1930s" (Deborah Mawer) centres on concert (or rather "performance" life) in the French capital during that decade - not restricted to concert hall and salon, but taking in cabaret, Charles Trenet and Maurice Chevalier too. … Mawer challenges established views about this decade in French music'. (Simon Wright, Brio, 43/2, 2006).
'This well-documented study offers important insight into the choreographic aspects of Ravel's art. Highly recommended.' (Arbie Orenstein, City University of New York, 2005).
'The Ballets of Maurice Ravel is a most interesting project and will undoubtedly be very valuable to scholars and students in both music and dance.' (Stephanie Jordan, Research Professor of Dance, Roehampton University, 2004).
'Deborah Mawer's 1991 doctoral thesis provided the basis for her innovative and authoritative analytical study in Darius Milhaud: Modality and Structure' (Frankfurter Zeitschrift für Musikwissenschaft, Jg. 7, 2004).
'Au total, ce Cambridge Companion n'offre pas seulement une vue d'ensemble sur la musique et l'esthétique de Ravel, mais aussi et surtout une réévaluation majeure de ce compositeur au seuil du nouveau millénaire.' (Dissonance, June 2001 [IRCAM, Paris]).
'As she [Mawer] writes, in a compelling account of how formalism and hermeneutics converge in moments of temporary aesthetic experience, Ravel had … "a readiness to engage in risk and potential destruction".' (Tempo, April 2001).
'Mawer's excellent volume brings together essays by leading international Ravel scholars … One expects only the highest quality scholarship from Cambridge, and this book certainly fulfills that promise.' (Choice, March 2001 [USA]).
'this is a welcome, timely and very carefully edited book' (Musical Times, Dec 2000).
'The Music of Prokofiev and Darius Milhaud: Modality and Structure in Music of the 1920s yield penetrating insights into the music of two composers of the early twentieth century. They deserve the attention of all serious musicians.' (Music Theory Spectrum, Fall 2000 [USA]).
'Those who enjoy a close involvement with the actual process of musical analysis … will find much to admire in Deborah Mawer's Darius Milhaud … [her] excellent treatment of Milhaud and jazz and subtle, thoroughly contextualised, discussion of the piano quintet version of La Création du monde. (Music Analysis, July 2000).
'Mawer has made a significant contribution not only to Milhaud scholarship but also to analytical literature on post-tonal music.' (Music & Letters, Nov 1998).
Research output: Contribution to journal › Journal article
Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/Proceedings › Chapter
Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/Proceedings › Chapter (peer-reviewed)
Activity: Conference participation › Participation in conference
Activity: Conference participation › Participation in conference
Activity: Public engagement and outreach › Public lecture/debate/seminar
Press clipping: Research
Press clipping: Research