Faculty of Performance, Visual Arts and Communications

School of Music

Dr George Kennaway

Visiting Research Fellow

0113 2626483

Ph.D., M.Mus., B.A., A.R.C.M.

Co-principal cello, Orchestra of Opera North, 1980-2008; post-doctoral research assistant, CHASE project, 2008-2012; interests – theory and historiography of performance practice, Baltic music, opera, nationalism, golf, badminton, and cycling.


George Kennaway is a cellist, conductor, teacher, and musicologist. Born in Edinburgh, he studied at the universities of Newcastle and Oxford, the Guildhall School of Music, and the University of Leeds. From 1980 to 2008 he was principal cello no. 2 in the Orchestra of Opera North, and he regularly appears as a soloist and chamber music player, on modern, 19th-century, and baroque cello. He has conducted orchestras in the UK, Russia, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Italy, and Lithuania. From 2008-12 he was a postdoctoral researcher on the CHASE project at the University of Leeds, a research project investigating 19th-century annotated editions of string music. He holds a Ph.D. in 19th-century cello performance practice. Recent articles have explored 19th-century editions of Haydn cello concertos, applications of Foucauldian discours to performance, and a comparative study of music scores as instructional texts. His book Playing The Cello 1780-1930 (Ashgate) is to be published in April 2014. He is a contributor to two books of conference proceedings due in 2013-14, devoted to aspects of opera and performance historiography respectively. He has taught at the Royal Northern College of Music and the Lithuanian National Academy of Music. He is also the leading UK specialist in the music and art of the Lithuanian M. K. Čiurlionis (1875-1911).

Research Interests

  • Historical performance practice, especially concerning 19th-century music; applications of critical theory to the study of historical performance practices
  • Opera history and analysis
  • Music of the Baltic states, in particular the music and art of the Lithuanian M. K. Čiurlionis.
  • Nationalism, especially the application of recent theories of nationalism to opera


University of Leeds School of Music


  • Historical performance practice
  • Performance: coaching and examining performance
  • Major and minor dissertation supervision
  • ‘Music in Culture’:
    • French Song Analysis
    • Baltic Music and National Identity
    • Editing
    • Music and Politics
    • Transcription
  • Module Leader for ‘Music in History and Culture’


  • MMus modules:
    • Historical performance practice
    • Recording transcription
    • Archival research
    • Coaching and examining performance
  • PhD tuition:
    • Coaching and examining performance
    • Archival research


Rose Bruford College:


  • Post-World War II opera
  • Baroque opera
  • Nationalism (completed revision of course reader on nationalism in opera)
  • Post-Wagnerian opera
  • Modernism
  • Mozart
  • Operatic production
  • Supervision of final-year dissertations 

Invited Master Classes and Talks

2013                Conducting classes, University of Huddersfield

2010-2013       Quartet coach and lecturer on historical performance, Basically Quartets summer schools (Wales)

2010-2012       Pre-performance talks for Leeds Lieder+ and Glyndebourne Opera

2009-2012       Royal Northern College of Music, cello coach, RNCM opera orchestra

2011                Lithuanian Academy of Music and Drama (Vilnius), cello masterclass in 19th-century performance practice

2009                Presenter, BBC Radio 4, ‘The Broken Melody’, on the cellist Auguste van Biene

2000-2008       Pre-performance talks for Opera North, Sadler’s Wells Theatre, Bridgewater Hall, Symphony Hall Birmingham, Sage Gateshead



  • Research assistant, CHASE project
  • Adminstrator, HEFCE-funded LUCHIP concerts



  • Kennaway GW (2012) Playing the Cello 1780-1930. Ashgate. [Accepted]

Journal Articles

  • Kennaway GW (2012) “Haydn’s(?) Cello Concertos 1860-1930: editions, performance, reception”, Nineteenth-Century Music Review. [Accepted]

  • Kennaway GW (2012) “Čiurlionis’s Octatonicism and his Relationship with Emerging Lithuanian Nationalism”, Lithuanian Musicology. 13 [Accepted]

  • Kennaway GW (2011) “Bookcases, Fish Pie and My Piñata: Musical Scores Considered as Sets of Instructions”, International Review of the Aesthetics and Sociology of Music. 42.2: 355-376.

  • Kennaway GW (2011) “Do as some said, or as most did? – a Foucauldian experiment with nineteenth-century HIP”, Current Musicology. 92: 7-29.

  • Kennaway GW “"Lithuanian Art & Music Abroad: English Reception of the Work of M. K. Čiurlionis, 1912-39"”, Slavonic and East European Review. 83 (2005) pp. 234-253.: 234-253.


  • Kennaway GW “The Phenomenon of the Cellist Auguste van Biene: from the Charing Cross Road to Brighton via Broadway”, In: Hewitt M; Cowgill R (eds.) Victorian Soundscapes Revisited. Leeds Centre for Victorian Studies/Leeds University Centre for English Music. 67-82

Research Projects & Grants

  • Frank Howes Award, Royal Musical Association, for conference attendance
  • Brotherton Library travel awards for research in Brussels and Budapest
  • Music & Letters Trust award for conference attendance
  • Performing Right Society Award for enterprising programming

Research Centres & Groups

Visiting Research Fellow, Huddersfield University Centre for Performance Research (HuCPeR)

External Appointments

  • Ph.D. eternal examiner, University of Melbourne
  • Ph.D. external examiner, Birmingham Conservatoire


PhD Thesis

Cello Techniques and Performing Practices in the Nineteenth and Early Twentieth

This thesis comprises a study of cello performance practices throughout the
nineteenth century and into the early decades of the twentieth. It is organised in terms of the increasing complexity of the concepts which it examines, as they are to be found in printed and manuscript music, instrumental methods and larger treatises, early recordings, concert reviews and pictures. Basic posture is considered along with different ways of holding the bow. The development of the tail-pin shows that even when it was widely used, the older posture was still referred to as a model. Some implications for tone quality and tonal projection are considered in the light of the shape of the arms. Some connections between the cellist’s posture and that recommended by etiquette books are explored. The functionality of the left hand and arm, and the development of modern scale fingerings, show that there was a considerable period of overlap between newer and older practices, with modern scale fingerings evolving over a long period of time. Similarly, views on the function of the right wrist in bowing are shown to change gradually, moving towards a more active upper arm movement with less extreme flexibility of the wrist. Two central expressive techniques especially associated with string playing are considered in the context of the cello, namely vibrato and portamento. These topics are examined in the light of written indications in music, recommendations in cello treatises, and the practices evidenced in early recordings. The sources for this study can be brought into an overall framework of a constant dialogue between ‘theory’, as expressed in verbal instructions to the learner, or general a priori reflections about the cello, and ‘practice’, manifested in performing editions and early recordings, or in individual acts of reception. A wide divergence is noted, both between theory and practice in general, and in terms of different styles of playing observable at any one time. It is suggested that tensions between practice and critical disapproval can be resolved in terms of Foucauldian discourse. Several test cases are used in order to compare several different recordings of the same works. The question of the musical character of the cello is discussed in terms of widespread assumptions about its gendered identity. A wide range of sources suggest that this moved from a straightforwardly ‘masculine’ identity expressed through a controlling, elevated eloquence to a less clearly defined one, incorporating the ‘feminine’, with a greater stress on uninhibited emotional expression. Some performance implications for this change of view are pursued with respect to specific repertoires. Broad conclusions stress the importance of the diversity of performance practices as opposed to unifying generalisations.




Professional Practice

Performance (Selected)



  • Conducted Harrogate Philharmonic Orchestra in 6 concerts (also as concerto soloist-director, and playing harpsichord continuo), in 18th-20th-century repertoire
  • Piano trio, University of Lincoln (Schubert)


  • Cello recital, Leeds University (Brahms, Schubert, Britten, Kodaly)
  • String quartet, Huddersfield University (Elgar, Schubert)
  • Soloist, John Garth cello concerto with Leeds Baroque Orchestra (dir. Peter Holman)
  • Piano trio, Huddersfield University (Schubert)
  • Conducted Leeds University School of Music student orchestra in historical project performance of Beethoven Violin Concerto


  • Ferdinand David Quartet (formerly LUCHIP Ensemble) concerts in Newcastle, Huddersfield, Hull and Leeds
  • Ferdinand David Ensemble, University of Leeds (David’s unpublished edition of Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto no. 4, Schumann String Quartet no. 3)
  • DeNOTE ensemble, with John Irving (pf) and Jane Booth (cl), Tudeley Festival and University of Hull
  • Ripon Cathedral (Bach, and première, Edward Caine, Theme and Variations for solo cello)


  • Mendelssohn Octet, Leeds University, with Eroica Quartet; Recitals in Leeds, Dundee, Edinburgh, Birmingham; Baroque cello continuo for Opera North (Dido, Orfeo); UK première, Kurt Weill Cello Sonata (for Friends of Opera North) 
  • Conducted premières of  Laurence Rose, a theory of nothing, for Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, and Paul Burnell, Three Pieces for Strings, for COMA
  • Conducted Kaunas Philharmonic Orchestra (contemporary Lithuanian and Latvian repertoire); Academic Symphony Orchestra of Nizhniy-Novgorod (Britten, Delius, Purcell, Elgar); national orchestras of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan (Schoenberg, Kodaly, Maw, Walton, Beethoven, Mozart, Rakhmadiev)
  • Conducted G. S. Mayr, La Passione (1794), world première William Baines Symphony in C minor (1917), conducted on-screen in scenes for film Hilary and Jackie, dir. Anand Tucker

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