Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures

School of Music

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Dr Bryan White

Senior Lecturer and Director of Research and Innovation

0113 343 8228

School of Music, room 2.07

Office hours: Thursday 12.00-13.00; 14.00-15.00

BMus SMU, Dallas, TX MA, PhD University of Wales

Dr Bryan White is a member of the Purcell Society, and at Leeds he is Media, Culture and Creativity Discovery Theme Leader,  Programme Coordinator for MA Critical and Applied Musicology, a member of the Leeds University Centre for English Music (LUCEM), and director of the Clothworkers Consort of Leeds (CCL).


Dr White studied for his first degree (BMus, 1991) at Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas. From there he moved to the University of Wales, Bangor, where he studied for an MA in Performance Studies (1992). He later undertook a dissertation at Bangor on Louis Grabu and his opera Albion and Albanius for which he was awarded a PhD in 2000. He began lecturing at Bretton Hall in 1998, and moved to the University of Leeds in 2001.

Research Interests

  • English music and opera of the 17th and 18th centuries
  • English odes, especially St Cecilia’s Day odes
  • Critical editing of Music
  • Opera and operatic performance
  • The music of Michael Tippett
  • Choral literature, training

Bryan White’s PhD thesis investigated the life and music of the Catalan-born composer Louis Grabu, especially his opera Albion and Albanius. An exploration of the influence of the music and stagings of J.B. Lully’s operas on Grabu brought to light the importance of Thomas Betterton in adapting scenic practices of the French opera for the London stage, both in Albion and Albanius and the subsequent dramatic operas of Purcell (the music of which also bears the influence of Grabu). Bryan is pursuing an interest in English odes with a special emphasis on those for St Cecilia’s Day. He is working on a book: British Music for St Cecilia from Purcell to Handel. The social and cultural impetus behind the Cecilian movement of the late 17th century has led him to explore those persons, amateur musicians and music lovers, who enjoyed and patronized feasts and concerts in London and in the provinces. This has involved the study of personal letters discussing music and musical activities. Bryan is an active performer as a choral director, soloist and choral singer. His work with the Clothworkers Consort of Leeds includes performances from his own editions which come out of his interest in English music of all periods, but particularly the 17th, 18th and 20th centuries.


Current Modules

  • MUSS 1030 Music in History and Culture
  • MUSS 1110 Music Research Skills
  • MUSS 2325 Studies in Musical Performance
  • MUSS 2823 Music in Practice: Opera in Practice
  • MUSS 2420 Notation and Editing
  • MUSS 3440 Editing and Source Studies
  • MUSS 5030 Professional Studies
  • MUSS 5430 Editing and Archival Skills

Module Coordinator for

  • MUSS 2823 Music in Practice: Opera in Practice
  • MUSS 2420 Notation and Edition
  • MUSS 3440 Editing and Source Studies
  • MUSS 5430 Editing and Archival Studies


  • Postgraduate Research Tutor (Sem. 1, 2016/17 session)
  • Programme Manager: MMus Critical and Applied Musicology
  • Deputy Director of Student Education (2013-2014)
  • Postgraduate Research Tutor (2007-2010)
  • Deputy Director of Research (2007-2010)
  • Admissions Tutor (2003-2007)



  • White B Music for St Cecilia's Day from Purcell to Handel. Boydell and Brewer. (In preparation)

Journal articles

  • White B (2011) “'Brothers of the String': Henry Purcell and the Letter-books of Rowland Sherman”, Music & Letters. 92: 519-581.

  • White B (2009) “Letter from Aleppo: dating the Chelsea School performance of Dido and Aeneas”, Early Music. 37: 417-428.

  • White B, Woolley AL (2007) “Jeremiah Clarke: a tercentenary tribute”, Early Music Performer. 21: 25-36.

  • White B (2007) “Music for a brave livlylike boy: the Duke of Gloucester, Purcell and The 'Noise of Foreign Wars'”, The Musical Times. 148.1901: 75-83.
    Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/77571/

  • White B (2002) “Grabu's Albion and Albanius and the operas of Lully: `... acquainted with all the performances of the French Opera's'”, Early Music. 30.3: 410-428.
    DOI: 10.1093/em/30.3.410

  • White B (1995) “‘Something at least like an Opera’”, Early Music News. 201: 5-6.


  • White B (2017) “Music and Merchants in Restoration London”, In: Austern LP; Bailey C; Eubanks Winkler A (eds.) Beyond Boundaries: Rethinking Music Circulation in Early Modern England. Music and the Early Modern Imagination. Bloomington Indiana: Indiana University Press. 150-164

  • White B (2011) “Restoration Opera and the Failure of Patronage”, In: Clare J (eds.) From Republic to Restoration: Legacies and Depatures. Manchester: University of Manchester Press. (Accepted)

  • White B (2010) “‘“Studying a little of the French Air”: Louis Grabu’s Albion and Albanius and the dramatic operas of Henry Purcell’”, In: Brown C; Cooper D; Cowgill R (eds.) Art and ideology in European opera: essays in honour of Julian Rushton. Boydell Press. 12-39
    Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/77572/

  • White B (2007) “'A pretty knot of musical friends': the Ferrar brothers and a Stamford music club in the 1690s”, In: Cowgill R; Holman P (eds.) Music in the British Provinces 1690-1914. Ashgate. 1-44

  • White B (2006) “Turner, William ii”, In: Blume F (eds.) Die Musik in Geschicte und Gegenwart. Personenteil. Barenreiter. 1142-1143

  • White B (2002) “Authenticity”, In: Latham A (eds.) The Oxford Companion to Music. OUP. 73-74

  • White B (2002) “Singing”, In: Latham A (eds.) The Oxford Companion to Music. OUP. 1156-1157

  • White B “Music and Merchants in Restoration London”, In: Eubanks-Winkler A; Austern L; Bailey C (eds.) Beyond Public and Private: Re-Locating Music in Early Modern England. Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press. (Submitted)

Scholarly editions

Conference papers

  • White B (2016) Compiling Occasional Texts for Purcell's Anthems. Twenty-third Annual Conference of the Society for Seventeenth-century Music

  • White B (2015) Dr Cooke's Protest: Newly Discovered Documents in the Special Collections at the University of Leeds. Thirty-first Annual Conference on Music in Eighteenth-Century Britain

  • White B (2014) Lost in translation?: John Dryden’s and Louis Grabu's Albion and Albanius.

  • White B (2013) 'Very Good Hands Upon the Violin': Performing Corelli in Eighteenth-century Aleppo. Global Corelli: Fame and Music in the Early Modern World

  • White B (2013) Church-Musick Vindicated: Purcell's Te Deum and Jubilate. The Twenty-first Annual Conference of the Society for Seventeenth-century Music

  • White B (2012) 'Thy Former Skill Improve': Dryden, Purcell and 'Hail, Bright Cecilia'. 15th Biennial International Conference on Baroque Music

  • White B (2011) Restoration Opera and the Failure of Patronage (1660-1685). The Nineteenth Annual Conference of the Society for Seventeenth-Century Music

  • White B (2010) Mixing ‘Britain’s Orpheus’ with ‘Corelli’s Heights’: a Cecilian entertainment in Stamford. 14th Biennial International Conference on Baroque Music

  • White B (2009) The rise and fall of the London Cecilian celebrations, 1683-1700. Purcell, Handel & Literature

  • White B (2008) Letter from Aleppo: dating the Chelsea School performance of Dido and Aeneas. 13th Biennial International Conference on Baroque Music

  • White B (2008) Henry Purcell and the letter-book of Rowland Sherman. Annual Meeting of the American Musicological Society

  • White B (2007) ‘Persons of quality or Gentlemen of note’: The Organization and Patronage of the London Cecilian celebrations, 1683-1700. London in Text and History, 1400-1700 2007:

  • White B (2006) A late seventeenth-century Stamford music club. 12th Biennial conference on Baroque Music

  • White B (2004) Sacred Music for London St Cecilia's Day Celebrations. 11th Biennial International Conference on Baroque Music

  • White B (2002) Louis Grabu's Albion and Albanius and its influence upon the music of Henry Purcell. 10th Biennial Conference on Baroque Music


    DOI: 10.1017/S1478570615000457

  • White B (2014) “Musical Creativity in Restoration England”, MUSIC & LETTERS. 95.4: 652-655.
    DOI: 10.1093/ml/gcu088

  • White B (2013) “Considering Purcell: Review of The Ashgate Research Companion, ed. Rebecca Herissone (Farnham, Ashgate, 2012)”, Early Music. Oxford University Press. 41: 670-673.

  • White B (2011) “Purcell's Elusive Life: Review of Bruce Wood, Purcell: An Extraordinary Life (London: Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music, 2009)”, Early Music. Oxford University Press. 39: 607-609.

  • White B (2009) “Disorder on the English Stage: Review of Amanda Eubanks Winkler, 'O Let Us Howle Some Heavy Note: Music for Witches, the Melancholic, and the Mad on the Seventeenth-century Stage' (Indiana University Press, 2006)”, Early Music. 37: 304-305.

  • White B (2005) “Review of David Melamed, 'Hearing Bach's Passions' (Oxford University Press, 2005)”, Early Music Performer. 16: 20-21.

Research Projects & Grants

  • Ignite Project 2014
  • Music & Letters Trust 2013
  • PVAC Faculty Research Leave 2011-12 Semester 2
  • British Academy Small Grant 2009
  • British Academy Overseas Conference Grant 2008
  • Music & Letters Trust 2007
  • PVAC Faculty Research Leave 2006-07 Semester 1
  • British Academy Small Grant 2004

Research Centres & Groups

  • Leeds University Centre for English Music (LUCEM)

External Appointments

PhD Thesis Examining

  • 2011: University College, Cork
  • 2012: University of York
  • 2013: The University of Newcastle, Australia
  • 2014: Bangor University
  • 2014: University of Huddersfield
  • 2015: Univeristy of Otago, New Zealand

External Examiner

  • Dublin Institute of Technology: Masters in Music Programmes (2013-  )
  • University of Hull: Masters in Music Programmes (2013-  )

PhD & Postdoctoral Supervision

Current Research Students

  • Hazel Brooks
  • Amelie Addison
  • Jonathan Tobutt (with Dr Michael Allis)

Former Research Students

  • 2008 Min-Jung Kang: The trio sonata in seventeenth-century England (with Prof Peter Holman)
  • 2014 Sarah Kelly (with Prof Clive Brown)
  • 2015 Miaoyin Qu (with Prof Clive Brown)Miaoyin Qu (with Prof Clive Brown)
  • 2015 Chris Roberts: Music in Yorkshire during the long eighteenth century
  • 2015 Mary Black: Singers make the best choral directors: the use and effect of imagery in choral conducting (with Dr Karen Burland)

PhD Thesis


Albion and Albanius and its composer, Louis Grabu, have been unjustly dismissed by musical scholars, a situation which this thesis seeks to redress. A documentary biography of Grabu is provided, and a discussion of the inception of Albion and Albanius, detailing the role of each of its creators. The opera is subjected to a thorough examination, including a discussion of: 1) the relationship between the 1685 libretto and the 1687 score; 2) its large-scale structure and tonal plan; 3) and its vocal and instrumental writing. These studies reveal that Grabu, in composing the music, Dryden, in writing the libretto, and Betterton, in designing staging, drew upon specific models from Lully’s Phaëton (1683). Furthermore, it is shown that Grabu drew upon a thorough knowledge of Lully’s other operas: not only the general compositional features and structures, but also specific movements. There is, in addition, evidence suggesting that Grabu borrowed musical ideas and techniques from Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas.

Information regarding the opera’s performance is gathered from the score and developed through comparison with contemporary practices. In particular, the similarities between Grabu’s score and those of Lully printed by Ballard suggest that Grabu wrote for an ensemble modelled on that of the Paris Opéra. The dance and staging elements of the opera are examined in the light of information about, and illustrations from, English and especially French productions (particularly the drawings of Berain).

Grabu’s influence on Purcell, and Dioclesian in particular, is demonstrated. The reception history of Albion and Albanius is explored, and the assertion that Grabu was an incompetent composer and the opera an artistic failure is shown to be unfounded. A modern edition of Albion and Albanius with critical commentary is provided.

Professional Practice

Soloist, Chorus master and music editor for productions of the following operas:

  • Anton Eberl Die Königin der schwarzen Inseln, as The Queen of the Black Islands, Eng. trans. Clive Brown (Bretton Hall, 1999) the first known performance since 1801.
  • Franz Schubert Die Freunde von Salamanka, as The Friends from Salamanca, Eng. trans. and creation of lost dialogue by Clive Brown (Wakefield Theatre Royal and Opera House, 2000) British premiere staging.
  • Johann Christian Bach Amadis de Gaule, Eng. trans. Clive Brown (Wakefield Theatre Royal and Opera House, 2001) British premiere staging; the first modern production to be based on a critical study of the sources and to include the complete ballet music.
  • J. F. Lampe Margery, or A Worse Plague than the Dragon (Wakefield Theatre Royal and Opera House, 2002), modern premiere.
  • A. Dvorak, The Stubborn Lovers, Eng. Trans. Stephen Muir (Great Hall, University of Leeds, 2003). First complete British Staging.
  • Clothworkers Consort of Leeds (opens in a new window)
  • Leeds Baroque Choir and Orchestra (opens in a new window)


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