Home > Research > Researchers > Jory Debenham

Dr Jory Debenham

Former Research Student

Jory Debenham

Research overview

My research interests focus on issues of meaning and expression in music, including phenomenological, performative and interpretive aspects. In general, my field of interest is in the Terezin concentration camp and the music of Viktor Ullmann and his Czech and Viennese contemporaries and influences.


My research examines the music composed in the Terezín concentration camp during WWII and aims to determine how a range of meanings have become attached to it over the last two decades. My study focuses on the capacity of this music to express the specific circumstances of these prisoners’ situation, serving as a form of spiritual resistance, as well as how it represents a musical tradition that was truncated by the Nazi cultural policies and mass exterminations. In particular, I am examining the Theme and Variations movements of works from the summer of 1944 by Krasa, Klein, Ullmann and Haas.

Thesis Title

Musical Expression and Meaning in the Terezín Concentration Camp (Working Title)

Supervised By

My PhD research is co-supervised by Professors Michael Beckerman and Derek Sayer.

Career Details

I completed a Master of Music (M.Mus) degree from the University of Alberta in 2011, where my thesis comprised a lecture recital on the final piano sonata of Viktor Ullmann. I also hold a B.Mus (Music History and Literature) from the University of Calgary (2002) where my research focused on Organized Music Groups in Concentration Camps in Nazi Germany.

For the years between my Bachelor and Master degrees, I held a private music studio in Calgary, where I taught private piano and theory for the Royal Conservatory of Music. 

Current Teaching

For 2012-13 I am teaching as a seminar tutor on the History 100 course 'From the Medieval to the Modern: History and Historians' 

Research Grants

I have received the following awards in support of my current research:

  • Lancaster University Department of History Travel Award (March 2013)
  • Lancaster University History Language Studies Award (January 2012)
  • Lancaster University Department of History Travel Award (January 2012)
  • Lancaster University Faculty Fees-Only Scholarship (2011-2014)

View all (1) »