Dr Jonathan Hicks

Dr Jonathan Hicks
Dr Jonathan Hicks

Dr Jonathan Hicks

BMus, MSt, DPhil


Accepting PhDs


School of Language, Literature, Music and Visual Culture

University of Aberdeen

King’s College

Aberdeen AB24 3UB

Scotland, UK


Office: MacRobert Building, 123

Online student hours: Tuesdays 09:00 - 10:00 and Wednesdays, 11:00 - 12:00 (email me to arrange a meeting)


I grew up in a village outside York (North Yorkshire) and took my undergraduate degree in music at the University of Birmingham. I spent a year working in creative education and arts admin before starting a masters in musicology at the University of Oxford. I stayed at Oxford for my doctoral studies, where I wrote my dissertation on “Music, Place, and Mobility in Erik Satie's Paris” under the supervision of Peter Franklin. I then held a Junior Research Fellowship at Lincoln College, Oxford, which led to a postdoctoral post on the European Research Council project, Music in London, 1800-1851, directed by Roger Parker at King’s College London. I began moving back north with a fellowship at Newcastle University's Humanities Research Institute before joining the University of Aberdeen in 2019 as a lecturer in music.


  • BMus Music 
    2005 - University of Birmingham 
  • MSt Musicology 
    2007 - University of Oxford 
  • DPhil Music 
    2013 - University of Oxford 

Memberships and Affiliations

Internal Memberships

I'm a member of the Centre for the Novel, the Walter Scott Research Centre, and the utterly wonderful LLMVC nineteenth-century peer support group led by Sarah Sharp.

I'm on a couple of LLMVC committess, for Athena SWAN and postgrauate studies. The latter reflects my role as programme director for the MMus in Music (please get in touch if you're thinking of applying).

At a University level, I'm on the (currently dormant) Research and Commercialisation Spaces Group as well as the (still active) Museums and Special Collections Academic Forum.

As a committed trade unionist, I'm delighted to be the Department of Music representative for the University and College Union (UCU). Drop me a line if you'd like to know more about UCU. Or, if you're already a member, let me know if you'd like to discuss any work-related issues. 



External Memberships

I'm a co-director of the Institute for Musical Research (IMR). If you visit the IMR site you'll see that, as of September 2020, the Institute is being run by a consortium including the University of Aberdeen. We'll be updating the website in due course. In the meantime, please get in touch if you have any questions about the work of the IMR.

I convene a working groups on equality, diversity, and inclusion in higher education beyond music studies for the Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion in Music Studies (EDIMS) Network. I'm also a member of the EDIMS working group for parenting and caring as well as the sub-group for reimagining the music history curriculum.

In terms of learned societies, I'm a member of the Royal Musical Association (RMA), but I should stress that I'm no fan of royalty and have recently presented on this (at the 2021 annual meeting of the RMA). I'm usually a member of the American Musicological Association, though my membership has lapsed now and then.


Research Overview

Much of my work is concerned with music and theatre in the British nineteenth century. I am particularly interested in the criss-crossing of musical and urban histories in big cities like London (and Paris). I like to approach the music of the past via the places and spaces with which it was commonly identified. This might mean paying close attention to particular sites of performance (Italian opera is a different beast when taken out of the theatre and into the street, for instance) or it might mean asking how music contributed to the (often multi-media) evocations of particular territories or landscapes. I also research the history of how music and musicians travel and adapt. The notion of cultural mobility is central to The Melodramatic Moment, a collection of essays that I edited with Katherine Hambridge (Durham) as well as my first monograph (in preparation), Music on the Move in Victorian London. If any of this is up your street, do get in touch. 

You can find deatils of some of my published research on my Academia.edu profile page.

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

Research Specialisms

  • Urban Studies
  • History of Music
  • Musicology
  • Theatre Studies
  • British History

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

As well as working on my monograph (see above) I have recently finished an essay on the curious history of promeande concerts (for a special issue of 19th Century Music on music and the environment in the nineteenth century) as well as a review article (for Cambridge Opera Journal) entitled "Opera History, the Travel Edition," which deals with a range of issues in the transnational study of operatic practice.

I have further essays in the pipeline exploiring aspects of song, sound, mobility, and domesticity in the nineteenth century: one such essay addresses resonance, fame, and Fingal's Cave (for a book on sound and sense in Britain, 1770-1830); another explores the global travels of the "Old Hundredth" psalm tune (for a book on music and the Bible in the British nineteenth century); a third takes the hit song "Home, Sweet Home" as a cue for adressing the ambivlence of much of the victorian public when faced with urban expansion and intensification (for a special issue on music and urban desire in the nineteenth century); finally, I am in the early stages of a reading of "Onward, Christian Soldiers" as part of a project on hymnody, coloniality, and mobility. 

Longer term, I plan to write a study of sound and music in the early town planning movement (mainly in Britain, from the late-nineteenth to the early-twentieth century). I also aim to publish something on the history of musical cartography (see the section on grants below).

Past Research

I was a founder member of the Hearing Landscape Critically research network, which brought together scholars and practitioners from various fields between 2012 and 2016 to address the significance of sound in landscape and the role of landscape in shaping our understanding of music.


I am co-director of The London Stage Project led by Michael Burden (New College, Oxford), which hosts a biannual conference on The London Stage and the Nineteenth-Century World as well as the London Stage Calendar of theatrical perfromances, 1800-1844 (Part 1: 1800-1832 was launched in April 2021 as part of the most recent conference). In previous years we have curated a major exhibition on Staging History, 1780-1840 (2016-2017) and published a volume of essays (also titled Staging History, 1780-1840) on the phenomenon of historical drama in Britain and the United States. 

I am a member of the editorial collective of the journal Radical Musicology and the editorial board of the Cambridge Elements series Music and the City. I am also a board member of the newly-formed Nineteenth-century Song Club, which meets roughly quarterly to disucss work in progress in the literary, historical, and musical study of nineteenth-century songs and singers. 


My current supervision areas are: Music.

I'm first supervisor for:

  • Ignasi Solé Piñas's study of the performance and recording history of Beetoven's cello sonatas. 

I'm joint supervisor (with Thomas McKean) for:

  • Mollie Carlyle's study on sea shanty performance and collecting since the nineteenth century.

I'm second supervisor for:

  • Ben Ponniah's creative practice portfolio of choral compositions;
  • Daniel Collins's study of the influences of the Edda and the Heimskringla on Norwegian Composers in the nineteenth century; and 
  • Claudia Falcone's study of women and domestic music in early 19th century Britain.


Funding and Grants

I am Principal Investigator for an for an AHRC research network on Mapping Music History (2019-2022). As the network gather steam we will be posting blogs and resources to musicalgeography.org, a site run by my co-investigator Louis Epstein (St. Olaf College). 



Teaching Responsibilities

I'm programme director for the MMus in Music. If you're a current MMus student, please feel free to conatct me with any questions or concerns. If you're thinking of applying to the MMus, drop me a line and we can discuss your options.

Non-course Teaching Responsibilities

I currently have 22 undergraduate personal tutees as well as the 17 postgraduate taught students on the MMus. It's always a pleasure to hear from person tutees so, if that includes you, please do get in touch whenever you'd like a chat.