Dr Barbara Eichner

DPhil (Oxford), MA (LMU Munich)

Reader in Music

School of Arts

Barbara Eichner


Barbara Eichner is Reader in Music with an active teaching and research portfolio. She is a music historian with particular expertise in the music of the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries.

My teaching reflects my passion for music history and is strongly influenced by my research expertise. I aim to foster a spirit of inquiry and intellectual curiosity among my students and encourage them to develop their own research skills and interests.

Areas of expertise

My main areas of expertise, as demonstrated in my publications and public-engagement activities, are

  • music in the "long" nineteenth century, especially the German tradition
  • opera studies, particularly Wagner, Strauss and romantic opera
  • music historiography
  • music in the early modern era, particularly sacred music, gender, disability

Teaching and supervision

Modules taught

Undergraduate teaching comprises modules such as:

  • Key moments in music history, past and present (1st year, with Dr Jan Butler)
  • Music in Society (2nd year)
  • Music Analysis (2nd year)
  • Music and the Dramatic Arts (3rd year)
  • Music Project (3rd year)

For the MA in Music I offer:

  • Advanced Musicology 1: Approaches to 19th-Century Music
  • contributions to Research Skills and Applied Research

Inquiries from prospective PhD students who want to focus on 19th-century music, opera or music in early-modern culture are always welcome.

My PhD student Dr Andrew Holden successfully completed his thesis Opera avanti a Dio! Religion and Opera in Liberal Italy from Unification to the First World War.


My research interests fall into two areas: On the one hand I interrogate issues of music and identity, particularly (German) national identities in the "long" nineteenth century, as demonstrated in her monograph History in Mighty Sounds: Musical Constructions of German National Identity, 1848-1914 (Boydell, 2012). I'm also returning frequently to the operas of Richard Strauss and the music dramas of Richard Wagner, having recently completed chapters about Wagner's medievalism and the reception history of the Ring.

My other main research area is music in the early modern era, particularly sacred music and the works of Orlando di Lasso. Currently I'm working on a British-Academy funded monograph entitles Cloistered Voices: Music and Monasteries in Early-Modern Germany, 1550-1632. I have published widely on both sixteenth- and nineteenth-century music and frequently speak at national and international conferences.

Research grants and awards

In 2018/2019 I enjoyed the support of a British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship for my project Cloistered Voices: Music and Monasteries in Early Modern Germany.

Its previous incarnation, "Music as a gendered practice in South-German nunneries and monasteries", was supported by a British Academy Small Research Grant. The Music & Letters Trust funded a presentation at the Annual Meeting of the American Musicological Society, Vancouver 2016.

Research impact

I disseminate my research to wider audiences beyond academia through public lectures, radio broadcasts and accessible writings such as programme notes for Bavarian Radio or liner notes for recordings. Recent activities include:

  • two concerts with the renowned Brabant Ensemble (dir. Stephen Rice) entitled "A monk's life". The concerts featured music by Lasso, A. Gabrieli, Aichinger, Clemens non Papa and several composers who were themselves in holy orders, and traced the lifestory of a sixteenth-century monk through the music he would have encountered.
  • pre-concert talk at the "Proms Plus" events, introducing Wagner's orchestral writing and Richard Strauss' relationship to Mozart.
  • interval talks for BBC Radio3's "Opera on 3" broadcasts and contributions to their online Opera Guides (e.g. Tannhäuser).
  • curating the musical exhibits for the exhibition Michael Ostendorfer und die Reformation in Regensburg
  • text for a recording of Orlando di Lasso's Requiem and motets by Girton College Choir and Gareth Wilson (Toccata classics TOCC0397)



slide 1 of 6

Professional information

Memberships of professional bodies

  • Abstracts editor of the journal Die Musikforschung
  • Member of the AHRC peer review college
  • Member of the international editorial board of the journal Muzyka
  • Member of the international editorial board of the journal Musik in Bayern


International and national conference appearances include:

  • April 2020: participation in the virtual workshop of the Sound Affects research project
  • October 2019: annual meeting of the American Musicological Society, Boston: 'Infirm Singers and Dyslexic Nuns: Negotiating Disability in Late-Medieval and Early-Modern Monastic Institutions'
  • June 2017: The musical heritage of the Reformation, Augsburg: ‘Musik in Augsburger Männer- und Frauenklöstern: Verfall und Neubeginn’
  • November 2016: annual meeeting of the American Musicological Society, Vancouver: 'The Woman at the Well: Divine and Earthy Love in Orlando di Lasso’s Parody Masses'
  • May 2016: Lexikographie, Gender und Musikgeschichtsschreibung, Hamburg, invited international respondent
  • March 2016: Für Auge und Ohr: Die Chorbücher der Bayerischen Staatsbibliothek München, Munich: ‘Strandgut der Säkularisation: Die Klosterchorbücher der Bayerischen Staatsbibliothek’
  • October 2014: Christoph Willibald Gluck. Bilder – Mythen – Diskurse, Vienna: ‘Zurück in die Zukunftsmusik: Gluck und die Idee der deutschen Nationaloper’
  • November 2013: Symposium Wagner – Gender – Mythen, Oldenburg: ‘Eine Mittheilung an meine Freunde: Lebens- und Schaffensmythen in der letzten Zürcher Kunstschrift’
  • January 2013: Research seminar of the University of Huddersfield: ‘The good, the bad and the ugly: Wagner’s music dramas from the perspective of the minor characters’
  • November 2012: Symposium Wagner and Opera between Nationalism and Globalisation, Berne Switzerland: ‘Die Wagnerianer in London und die Suche nach einer englischen Nationaloper’
  • October 2012: Symposium Strauss in Stuttgart – 100 Jahre Ariadne auf Naxos, Stuttgart: ‘Spielt sie immer nur sich selbst? Einige Überlegungen zur Rolle der Zerbinetta’
  • January / February 2012: All Souls College, Oxford, and Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw: ‘Faithfully Yours: Monastic Music and Its Patrons’

Further details

Press, publicity and reviews

  • Reviews for History in Mighty Sounds: Musical Constructions of German National Identity, 1848-1914:
  • "Certainly makes for an impressive opening volume. (...) A very well-researched, cogently argued, as well as sympathetic, treatment of a fascinating subject, equally fruitful for the historian and the musicologist, and perhaps still more so for the scholar and reader who would be both." MUSIC AND LETTERS
  • "This work is a valuable contribution for anyone wishing to chart the trends and developments of German music during a crucial era." GERMAN HISTORY
  • "Eichners Buch bietet eine hervorragende, klar geschriebene Einführung in die Thematik und ein breites Panorama an Beispielen mit einer Vielzahl neuer Fakten, Schlussfolgerungen und Querbezüge. Besonders hervorzuheben ist die gelungene Verbindung von einfühlsamer Werkanalyse und kulturgeschichtlicher Kontextualisierung." DIE TONKUNST
  • "Eichner's thesis is ambitious. The book, after all, is designed to be as much about nationalism as it is about musicology; she even classifies it as a 'study into German national identity' (...), rather than a study of music per se. To that end, the introduction is an impressive assault on the ivory towers of German historiography. Eichner demonstrates formidable understanding of the forces at play in the pre-unification era, and her citations reflect a mastery of the relevant historiography. Once the text wades into the arcane detail of German musicology, Eichner is clearly on familiar ground. She demonstrates deep understanding of and passion for her chosen field. (...) this work is a valuable contribution for anyone wishing to chart the trends and developments of German music during a crucial era." GERMAN HISTORY

Further information

For further information and downloadable papers and publications please visit my Academia profile.