Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures

School of Music

John Fallas

PhD candidate in musicology

BA (Hons), MA (Cantab)

Writer on contemporary music, researching (inter)disciplinary conceptions of genre and applying them to a selection of post-1980 string quartets and (anti-)concertos under the rubric ‘Afterlives of Genre: genre disguised, genre fragmenting, genre living on’.


After undergraduate studies at the University of Cambridge, John Fallas worked for several years in various branches of the recorded music industry before specialising, from 2008 onwards, as a freelance writer on music of the 20th and 21st centuries. He has written booklet notes for labels including NMC, aeon, Wigmore Hall Live, harmonia mundi and Delphian, and for performers including the Arditti and JACK Quartets, BBC Singers, BBC Symphony Orchestra, flautist Matteo Cesari and cellists Séverine Ballon, Arne Deforce and Seth Parker Woods. He also has extensive experience as a freelance editor both of CD booklets and of academic articles and theses.

His doctoral research, supervised by Prof Martin Iddon and Prof Michael Allis, reads the fate of the requiem after 1965 and of the string quartet after 1979 in light of theories of the decline of genre, countertheories of the persistence of genre, and notions of survival and afterlife which draw on the work of Jacques Derrida, Walter Benjamin and Aby Warburg. He is also particularly interested in the interaction of paratexts (titles and other ‘ways in’ to the work) with generic identity, and in the question of so-called ‘countergenres’ and their titles.

In autumn 2016 he was an invited speaker in the symposium Michael Finnissy: Dialogues (University of Huddersfield) and, co-presenting with Prof Silvina Milstein, in the weekly colloquium series in the Music Department, King’s College London. In September 2017 he led a convened panel, ‘Expanded Musicologies: Fields and Frames’, at the Royal Musical Association annual conference (University of Liverpool) and participated in a well-received panel discussion on ‘New Music Histories: The Musical Present in Scholarly and Critical Discourse’ at the Tenth International Conference on Music Since 1900 (University of Surrey). He is the co-convenor, with Prof Christopher Dingle, of Heaven is Shy of Earth: Julian Anderson at 50 (Guildhall School of Music & Drama, 20 October 2017 – see under ‘Links’ below).

Research Interests

  • String quartets (particularly after about 1960)
  • Requiems (particularly after 1965)
  • Afterlives
  • Genre theory
  • Paratexts, metaphor, countergenres
  • Composers’ self-constructions
  • Intentionality
  • Intertextuality
  • Writing about music for non-specialist audiences


MUSS1030 Music in History and Culture (PGR teaching assistant, 2016–17 & 2017–18, semesters 1 & 2)

MUSS1110 Music Research Skills (PGR teaching assistant, 2016, semester 1)




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