Rachel Beckles Willson

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Rachel Beckles Willson
Background information
  • Musician
  • Composer
  • Producer
  • Musicologist

Rachel Beckles Willson is a musician, composer, producer and musicologist, Professorial Research Association at SOAS, University of London.[1] Previously she was Professor of Music at Royal Holloway, University of London, where she was also Director of the Humanities and Arts Research Institute Humanities and Arts Research Insitute.[2] Her work as producer was recognised in 2003 with the Royal Philharmonic Society[3] Award for Festival and Concert Series.[4] In 2008 she won a Senior Research Fellowship from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation,[5][6] and in 2013 she won a Major Research Fellowship from the Leverhulme Trust.[7][8]


Beckles Willson's research is focused on advancing understanding in the politics of music in the twentieth century and after. Her regional foci have been Eastern Europe and the Middle East, which she has explored both as scholar and practicing musician. Prior to her Professorship at Royal Holloway, University of London, 2003–2019, she was Lecturer at the University of Bristol 1999–2003, and she has held numerous visiting positions internationally.

Beckles Willson trained at the Royal Academy of Music in London, the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama[9] in Glasgow, and Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest, where she worked with Ferenc Rados and Gyorgy Kurtag. She gained her PhD at King's College, London for a thesis theorising the musical language of Gyorgy Kurtag, which became her first monograph.[10] Her scholarly work as author, editor and translator has been published in over forty refereed publications in four languages,[11] creating new ways of understanding music of the former Eastern Bloc[12] and the uses of western classical music in humanitarian, religious and political missions;[13] it has also led to an internet resource providing novel, multi-authored and international perspectives on on the Oud[14] She has delivered over 100 invited lectures, keynotes, plenaries and workshops in 12 countries.[15] [16]

While focusing her work on the piano Beckles WIllson performed in numerous venues in Hungary, Iceland and the UK[17] [18] [19]and broadcasted frequently to critical acclaim.[20][21] She worked with leading performers such as Jane Manning and Sarah Leonard (singer), and contributed notably to the dissemination of 'fiendishly difficult' new Hungarian music.[22] Since 2016 she has been active as an oud player,[23] composer and producer, including the production of a CD with young asylum seekers in Sicily that has been celebrated in the Italian press. [24] [25]

Honours and awards

  • Leverhulme Trust[26] Major Research Fellowship (2015-2018)
  • Alexander von Humboldt Foundation[27] Senior Research Fellowship for Experienced Reseachers (2008-2010)
  • Royal Academy of Music[28] Associate (2004)
  • Royal Philhamonic Society[29] Concert Series and Festivals Prize (2003)
  • Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama[30] Scottish Society of Composers’ Award (1992)
  • Arts and Humanities Research Board[31] Research Leave (2002-2003, 2009-2010)
  • British Academy[32] Research Grants (2003-2004, 2004-2005)
  • Paul Sacher Foundation[33] Research Fellowship (1999)
  • Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama[34] Peter Lindsay-Miller Chamber Music prize (1991)
  • Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama[35] Bach prize (1990)
  • Royal Academy of Music[36] Mary Bruce Award (1989)
  • Royal Academy of Music[37] Blakiston Memorial Prize (1987)

Selected publications

  • Beckles Willson. Rachel 2004. György Kurtág, The Sayings of Peter Bornemisza, op. 7: A "Concerto" for Soprano and Piano. Landmarks in Music Since 1950. Aldershot, Hants, England; Burlington, VT: Ashgate. ISBN 978-0-7546-0809-7
  • Beckles Willson. Rachel 2007. Ligeti, Kurtag, and Hungarian Music during the Cold War. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-1-1074-0330-7
  • Beckles Willson. Rachel 2013. Orientalism and Musical Mission: Palestine and the West. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-1-107-03656-7

Rachel Beckles Willson in the media



  1. University of London, SOAS. "Rachel Beckles Willson".{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  2. https://www.royalholloway.ac.uk/research-and-teaching/research/research-environment/research-institutes-and-centres/humanities-and-arts-research-institute/
  3. https://royalphilharmonicsociety.org.uk/
  4. "CONCERT SERIES AND EVENTS: PAST WINNERS". Royal Philharmonic Society.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  5. https://www.humboldt-foundation.de/web/home.html
  6. "Professor Rachel Beckles Willson". Royal Holloway, University of London. Royal Holloway, University of London. Retrieved 6 May 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  7. https://leverhulme.ac.uk
  8. Leverhulme Trust. "Grant listings".{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  9. https://www.rcs.ac.uk/
  10. Dalos, Anna (March 2005). "MÉRFÖLDKÖVEK A MAGYAR ZENETÖRTÉNETBEN". Muzsika (in Hungarian). BMC. ISSN 1588-1415.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link) CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  11. "Rachel Beckles Willson". WorldCat Identities.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  12. Jakelski, Lisa (March 2011). "Rachel Beckles Willson, Ligeti, Kurtág, and Hungarian Music during the Cold War". Twentieth-century Music. 8/1: 125–130. doi:10.1017/S1478572211000338 – via JSTOR.
  13. Brinner, Benjamin. "Rachel Beckles Willson, Orientalism and Musical Mission: Palestine and the West". Twentieth-century Music. 11: 301–307. doi:10.1017/S1478572214000115 – via JSTOR.
  14. https://oudmigrations.com
  15. British Federation of Ethnomusicology (2 February 2018). "Keynote Speakers". British Federation of Ethnomusicology.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  16. Vanderbilt University (19 February 2020). "At the Borders of Art and Power: Western Classical Music in the Global Marketplace". Vanderbilt University.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  17. Driver, Paul (14 January 1996). "The Promise of Spring". The Times. ISSN 2059-2035 – via https://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/. {{cite journal}}: External link in |via= (help)
  18. Jack, Adrian (13 January 1996). "Park Lane Group". Financial Times. ISSN 1588-1415.
  19. Tumelty, Michael (9 March 1993). "Refreshing Taste". Herald. ISSN 0965-9439.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  20. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wZwTjN3iNNY
  21. Kroo, Gyorgy (January 1995). "Rachel Beckles Willson, Marvany Terem". Uj Zenei Ujsag. Bartok Radio.
  22. Clark, Elizabeth. "In excellent voice". Herald. ISSN 0965-9439.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  23. Tarbush, Susannah (6 February 2014). "Wasif Jawhariyyeh's memoir 'The Storyteller of Jerusalem' launched in London". The Tanjara. Retrieved 4 January 2020.
  24. Rossitto, Emilia (28 September 2018). "Today is good, integrare attraverso il linguaggio universale della musica". Sicily Mag. Retrieved 4 January 2020.
  25. Piccolino, Fabio. "Today is Good!". Rockit.
  26. https://www.leverhulme.ac.uk/
  27. https://www.humboldt-foundation.de/web/home.html
  28. https://www.ram.ac.uk/
  29. https://royalphilharmonicsociety.org.uk/
  30. https://www.rcs.ac.uk/
  31. https://ahrc.ukri.org/
  32. https://www.thebritishacademy.ac.uk/
  33. https://www.paul-sacher-stiftung.ch/en/home.html
  34. https://www.rcs.ac.uk/
  35. https://www.rcs.ac.uk/
  36. https://www.ram.ac.uk/
  37. https://www.ram.ac.uk/

External links

This article "Rachel Beckles Willson" is from Wikipedia. The list of its authors can be seen in its historical. Articles taken from Draft Namespace on Wikipedia could be accessed on Wikipedia's Draft Namespace.