Professor Christopher Collins

Professor Christopher Collins
Professor Christopher Collins
Professor Christopher Collins

BA (Hons), MPhil, PhD, FHEA, MISM

Head of School, Chair in Music

Accepting PhDs

Email Address
Office Address
B13 Taylor Building
Old Aberdeen Campus
High Street
AB24 3UB

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School of Language, Literature, Music and Visual Culture


Chris Collins is Head of the School of Language, Literature, Music and Visual Culture. The multidisciplinary nature of the School is reflected in his own areas of interest, encompassing music, literature, performance art, theatre, European studies and modern languages.

Chris is an authority on the life and work of the Spanish composer Manuel de Falla (1876-1946). His research encompasses a wide range of methodologies, including documentary research, formal analysis, inter-art relations, reception history, and cultural studies. He also works on early 20th-century music more broadly, and has a sideline in popular music research, focusing especially on the period from the mid 1960s to the early 1980s.

Chris has taught and given public lectures on all periods of music history, and has delivered specialised courses on topics ranging from musicological methodology to conducting, and from Wagner to Kate Bush and Björk. He is a highly experienced orchestral, choral and operatic conductor, and over the past 20+ years has directed performances of repertoire ranging from Monteverdi (b. 1567) to Mared Emlyn (b. 1988). He currently directs the University of Aberdeen Symphony Orchestra.

Chris was formerly Head of the School of Music and Media at Bangor University where he oversaw programmes in music, film, journalism, drama, media studies and production, delivered in both English and Welsh (Chris is a fluent Welsh-speaker). He is active as a campaigner for music education at all levels, and is a vociferous advocate for the UK music industry. He was President of the Independent Society of Musicians in 2020-21. He is a Board member of Aberdeen Performing Arts, a member of the Culture Aberdeen Executive Committee, and is a member of the Strategic Group for the Big Noise programme in Torry, Aberdeen. He is currently Chair of the QAA Subject Benchmark Statement review group for Music.

Chris’s spare time is spent walking, cycling, reading, playing the piano and listening to music.


  • PhD Music 
    2002 - Bangor University 

    Thesis title: 'Manuel de Falla and his European contemporaries: Encounters, relationships and influences'

  • MPhil Music 
    1998 - Bangor University 
    Thesis title: 'Manuel de Falla and L'Acoustique nouvelle'

Memberships and Affiliations

Internal Memberships
  • Head of School, School of Language, Literature, Music and Visual Culture
  • Ex-officio member of Senate
  • Member of Workload Planning Review Group
  • Member of Race Equality Strategy Group
  • Member of Space Management Group
  • Member of Risk Management Committee
  • Member of Marischal College Task and Finish Group
  • Member of Student Recruitment Committee
  • Member of PGR Task and Finish Group
  • Chair of Aberdeen 2040 Delivery of Education Task and Finish Group (2022)
External Memberships
  • President, Independent Society of Musicians (2020-21)
  • Chair, Subject Benchmark Statement Review Panel for Music, QAA (2024-25)
  • Scottish representative, MusicHE (2023-24)
  • Ordinary Member of Council, Royal Musical Association (2017-20)
  • Expressive Arts Advisor, Curriculum Reform, Welsh Government (2016-18)
  • Contributing author of Music Benchmark Statement, QAA (2016 and 2019)
  • Member of Editorial Board, Quodlibet (2015- )
  • Trustee, Codi'r To – Sistema Cymru (2016-22)
  • Strategic Group member, Big Noise Torry (2020- )
  • External Examiner for Music and Drama programmes, Bath Spa University programmes at ESART Barcelona (2016-20)
  • Research network member, 'Inter-art Connections: Music and Literature in the Spanish Silver Age' (based at Universidad Complutense de Madrid) (2020- )
  • Member of Royal Musical Association EDI Working Group (2020-22)
  • Executive Committee member, Culture Aberdeen (2022-24)
  • Member of Editorial Board, Musicología, Universidad de Granada (2022- )
  • Member of Advisory Board, Epistolario Manuel de Falla, Universidad de Granada (2019- )



Research Overview

  • Manuel de Falla
  • Music in Spain and France, c. 1880-1939
  • Music in the Nordic countries, c. 1890-1930
  • Popular music and culture in Britain, c. 1960 onwards 
  • Sketch studies
  • Word-music relations
  • Music pedagogy

Research Areas

Accepting PhDs

I am currently accepting PhDs in Music.

Please get in touch if you would like to discuss your research ideas further.

Email Me


Accepting PhDs

Spanish and Latin American Studies

Research Specialisms

  • Musicology
  • History of Music
  • Spanish Studies
  • Popular Music
  • Ballet

Our research specialisms are based on the Higher Education Classification of Subjects (HECoS) which is HESA open data, published under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International licence.

Current Research

Chris is currently writing a monograph on international aspects of Manuel de Falla's life and work, and is preparing a new edition of Falla's published writings in collaboration with Elena Torres Clemente (Universidad Complutense de Madrid). He is also a contributor to the ongoing critical edition of the correspondence of Manuel de Falla. He is pleased to supervise research students in areas relating to his own specialist interests.

Knowledge Exchange

Chris has spoken widely about his work, including broadcast interviews on BBC Radio Wales and at international conferences and festivals, ranging from Festival No. 6 in Portmeirion, North Wales, to the China-Shanghai International Arts Festival.


My current supervision areas are: Music.

Current PhD supervisees:

  • Claudia Falcone (Domestic music-making by women in early 19th-century Britain)
  • Yichun Feng (The development of modern Chinese opera under the influence of Western opera) *
  • Hengyu Lu (The application of Chinese musical traditions in the performance of Western piano music) *
  • Yi Wang (The development of commercial popular music festivals in China)

Previous PhD and MPhil supervisees have included:

  • Michael Foy (Albert Lister Peace: organist and composer) *
  • Alexander Jarrett (Pierre Villette: his life and works) *
  • Sa Do Kim (Combining Korean traditional music with Western classical music) *
  • Amanda Mackey (Girls' choirs in British cathedrals)
  • Emma Peake (Aetiology of upper string players' pain and its prevention) *
  • Matthias Wurz (Musical Interpretation and Imagery in Pierrot Lunaire) *

* projects involving a practice-based element


Teaching Responsibilities

Chris has taught on a wide range of topics in European music history from Hildegard of Bingen to Kate Bush, via Wagner, Debussy, the Ballets Russes, and the Beatles. He also teaches musicological methodology, word-music relations, music analysis and conducting, and is experienced in coaching music performance. He contributes to cross-School teaching, including workshops on undertaking research and writing dissertations.

Non-course Teaching Responsibilities

Chris is director of the University of Aberdeen Symphony Orchestra, with a student membership extended across all Schools of the University.


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