Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures

School of Music

Dr George Kennaway

Visiting Research Fellow

07952 597420

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; Director of Music, University of Hull, 2014-2016. Interests – theory and historiography of performance practice, Baltic music, opera, nationalism.


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. He is currently Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Huddersfield’s Centre for Performance Research, and Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Leeds. From 2008-12 he was a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Leeds, investigating 19th-century annotated editions of string music. Before that, he was principal cello no. 2 in the Orchestra of Opera North for 28 years. He regularly appears as a soloist and chamber music player, on modern, 19th-century, and baroque cello. He recently performed unaccompanied 17th– and 18th-century solo cello works in Huddersfield, and in 2015 he made his third appearance as soloist with the Leeds Baroque Orchestra. With David Milsom and Jonathan Gooing, he is a member of the Meiningen Ensemble, a chamber group which explores applications of historical research to the 19th-century repertoire. He has conducted orchestras in the UK, Russia, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Italy, and Lithuania, and currently conducts the Harrogate Philharmonic Orchestra and the Sheffield Chamber Orchestra. His book Playing The Cello 1780-1930 (Ashgate) appeared in 2014. Other publications include articles and book chapters on editions of Haydn cello concertos, opera orchestra contracts, theoretical aspects of historical performance and historiography, and the music of the Baltic states. He is the leading UK specialist in the music and art of the Lithuanian M. K. Čiurlionis, his most recent publication in this field dealing with Čiurlionis’s octatonic compositions. He has taught at the Royal Northern College of Music and the Lithuanian National Academy of Music.

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 Newcastle


  • Visiting lecturer in Early Music (2016-17)


University of Hull (50% post)



  • Advanced Performance,
  • coaching and examining solo and chamber performances (3rd year)
  • teacher of conducting


  • MMus Special Study in Performance,
  • coaching and examining soloists


  • Directing Hull University Symphony Orchestra and Collegium Musicum in weekly rehearsals and performances in the university’s concert series


University of Leeds School of Music



  • module leader for ‘Music in History and Culture’ (2011-2012)
  • lecturing on aspects of 19th-century music including Beethoven Schubert, Wagner, Verdi, urban musical cultures, and romanticism/modernism
  • major and minor dissertation supervision
  • French song analysis
  • Baltic music and national identity
  • editing
  • music and politics
  • historical performance practice
  • coaching and examining performance



  • MMus modules: historical performance practice; recording transcription; archival research;
  • coaching and examining performance


Rose Bruford College

B.A. in Opera Studies, tutoring on UG modules in:

  • 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



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



  • Kennaway GW (2014) Playing the Cello 1780-1930. Ashgate.

Journal articles

  • Kennaway GW (2015) “‘Trills and Trilling: masks, dandyism, historical performance, and the self’”, Music Performance Research. 7 (Submitted)

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

  • Kennaway GW (2012) “Haydn’s(?) Cello Concertos 1860-1930: editions, performance, reception”, Nineteenth-Century Music Review. (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 (2005) “"Lithuanian Art & Music Abroad: English Reception of the Work of M. K. Čiurlionis, 1912-39"”, Slavonic and East European Review. 83: 234-253.


  • Kennaway GW (2015) “‘Northern-ness, marginalisation, and identity: the case of M. K. Čiurlionis, the reluctant Lithuanian avant-gardist’”, In: Scott D; Cowgill R (eds.) Music and the Idea of the North. Ashgate. (Submitted)

  • Kennaway GW (2015) “‘Historiographically Informed Performance?’”, In: Markus M; Kurkela V (eds.) Critical Music Historiography: Probing Canons, Ideologies and Institutions. Ashgate.

  • Kennaway GW (2015) “‘Opera Orchestra Contracts as a Research Resource’”, In: Scott D (eds.) The Business of Opera. Ashgate. (Submitted)

  • Mooney JR (2014) “Les Musiques Electroacoustiques: Construction of a Discipline”, In: Kucinskas D; Kennaway G (eds.) Music and Technologies 2. Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publishing. 1-9
    Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/85690/

  • Kennaway GW (2013) “‘Čiurlionis’s Octatonicism and his Relationship with Emerging Lithuanian Nationalism’”, In: Daunoravičienė G; Povilionienė R (eds.) Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis (1875–1911): jo laikas ir mūsų laikas / his time and our time. Mokslinių straipsnių rinkinys / Collection of scientific articles. Vilnius: Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre. 256-267

  • Kennaway GW (2006) “‘Watching Eyes: Čiurlionis, Wyspiański, and Poe’”, In: Čiurlionis and the World (Almanac of Čiurlionis Study Week 2004). Vilnius: Kaunas University of Technology.

  • 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

  • Reviewer for articles submitted to the Journal of the Royal Musical Association, 19th-Century Music Review, Journal of Baltic Studies, Context (the journal of the Melbourne Conservatoire), and the Journal of Musicological Research.
  • Reviewer of book proposals and final drafts for Ashgate Publishing Ltd.
  • External PhD examiner for the Melbourne Conservatoire, Monash University (twice), Birmingham Conservatoire, Guildhall School of Music/City University London, Kaunas Technological University, Birmingham University; external MA examiner, University of Western Australia; internal PhD examiner, University of Hull.
  • Member of the editorial board of the research journal The Spaces of Creation,Siauliai University, Lithuania.
  • Member of supervising committee for PhD students at Helsinki and Ghent.
  • Chair of the North-East Early Music Forum, appointed October 2016.
  • Member of the Board of Trustees for Leeds Lieder, appointed 2014.

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)


  • Schumann Piano Quartet, University of Huddersfield
  • Messiaen Quatuor pour la fin du temps, University of Huddersfield
  • Shostakovich Piano Trio no. 2, Sheffield
  • Dvorak cello concerto, Sheffield



  • Ravel and Shostakovich piano trios, Meiningen Ensemble, University of Huddersfield
  • Samuel Barber and John Ireland cello sonatas, University of Edinburgh
  • Conducted Harrogate Philharmonic Orchestra (Mendelssohn, Finzi; Mozart, Ravel)



  • Elgar Cello Concerto, University of Huddersfield Symphony Orchestra
  • Piano trio recital, Sheffield Chamber Music Society (Meiningen ensemble)
  • conducted Sheffield Chamber Orchestra (Fauré, Ravel, Milhaud, Saint-Saëns)
  • Elgar piano quintet (Meiningen Ensemble)
  • conducted Harrogate Philharmonic (Handel, Weber, Mozart)
  • soloist, Vivaldi Concerto for 2 Cellos (with Claudia Chapman), Leeds Baroque Orchestra (dir. Peter Holman)



  • Conducted Harrogate Philharmonic Orchestra (also as concerto soloist-director, and playing harpsichord continuo), in 18th-20th-century repertoire
  • Meiningen Ensemble, University of Lincoln (Schubert), University of Hull (Gade, Mendelssohn), University of Huddersfield (Schubert, Elgar)
  • Cello recital, Leeds University (Brahms, Schubert, Britten, Kodaly)
  • Solo cello recital, University of Huddersfield (Gabrielli, Bach)
  • soloist in concertos by Vivaldi and John Garth with Leeds Baroque Orchestra (dir. Peter Holman)
  • conducted Poulenc Gloria, student showcase concert, University of Huddersfield
  • conducted Leeds University School of Music student orchestra in historical project performance of Beethoven Violin Concerto
  • Ferdinand David Quartet concerts in Newcastle, Huddersfield, Hull and Leeds
  • DeNOTE ensemble, with John Irving (pf) and Jane Booth (cl)
  • 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)
  • 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 S. Mayr, La Passione (1794)
  • conducted world première William Baines Symphony in C minor (1917)
  • conducted on-screen in scenes for film Hilary and Jackie, dir. Anand Tucker

© Copyright Leeds 2018