Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures

School of Music

Professor Michael Allis

Professor of Musicology and Postgraduate Research Tutor

0113 343 8219

Music Building, Room 2.04

Office hours: Tuesday 12.30-1.30pm and open door policy

BMus, MMus, PhD, DipRCM, LTCL, HonARAM


Michael was born in Whitby, North Yorkshire, in 1964. He studied cello and piano at the Royal College of Music with Anna Shuttleworth and Peter Wallfisch, where he also gained a first-class BMus from the University of London. Postgraduate work at King’s College, London led to an MMus in Historical Musicology in 1988, and the completion of his PhD thesis (‘The Creative Process of Hubert Parry’) in 1994. Following a range of teaching and lecturing posts (King’s College London, Bedford Modern School, the Oxford Cello School, Charterhouse, Farringdon College), he became a Lecturer in Academic Studies at the Royal Academy of Music in 1994. He remained at the Academy for twelve years; as Senior Postgraduate Tutor, he was responsible for overseeing academic elements of the taught postgraduate programmes. He was appointed at Leeds in 2006.

Research Interests


  • 19th- and early 20th-century British music (Elgar; Bantock; Bax; Parry; Stanford; Wallace; Warlock)
  • Music in Victorian and Edwardian Britain
  • Interdisciplinary studies of music and literature
  • Performance
  • Reception
  • Sketch studies

Michael’s research has focused upon leading British musical figures in the long nineteenth century. Specific studies have explored the working methods and reception of Hubert Parry (whose piano and chamber music he has edited), aspects of narrative in the music of Elgar, quotation and allusion in the music of Arnold Bax, and Stanford’s piano music; Michael has also researched aspects of Liszt reception in nineteenth-century Britain (focusing particularly on the pianist Walter Bache), a study of the private and public performances given by ‘The Working Men’s Society’ (the pianists Karl Klindworth, Edward Dannreuther, Walter Bache, and Frits Hartvigson) in London in the 1860s, Handel reception in the writings of Samuel Butler, and issues of tempo in early Bayreuth performances of Wagner’s Das Rheingold.

His monograph British Music and Literary Context (The Boydell Press, 2012) explored links between British music and literature in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century (Parry and Bridges, Stanford and Tennyson, Bantock and Browning, Elgar and Bulwer, Elgar and travel literature). His 2013 book Temporaries and Eternals reproduced the music criticisms of Aldous Huxley (together with a contextual introduction); 2014 saw the publication of his study of Bantock’s Thalaba the Destroyer in Music & Letters (runner up for the Westrup Prize), a book chapter on Joseph Holbrooke’s orchestral poem The Raven in the context of the uncanny (a volume awarded a certificate of Merit in the Historical Research category by the Association for Recorded Sound Collections), and an extended article on Aleister Crowley and Wagner (in a special issue of Forum for Modern Language Studies, which he edited), and his overview of Aldous Huxley’s responses to early twentieth-century music was published in the Aldous Huxley Annual in 2015; his article on Bantock’s The Curse of Kehama was published in European Romantic Review in 2016. Recently he has edited a special issue of the Journal of Musicological Research on ‘Reading Music Through Literature’ (2017), which included his own article on Bantock’s refiguring of Percy Shelley in The Witch of Atlas, and his edited book Granville Bantock’s Letters to William Wallace and Ernest Newman, 1893-1921: ‘Our new dawn of modern music’ was published by The Boydell Press in December 2017. Future projects include co-edited books The Oxford Handbook of Music and Intellectual Culture in the 19th Century (OUP) and The Symphonic Poem in Britain 1850-1940: Texts and Contexts (to include a study of William Wallace’s symphonic poem Villon), a chapter on Wallace’s Sister Helen, and articles on Parry’s Elegy for Brahms and Robertson Davies’ literary refiguring of Peter Warlock. Michael is also a member of the editorial boards of Journal of Victorian Culture and Nineteen.


Current Modules

  • MUSS1030 Music in History and Culture (team taught)
  • MUSS 1110 Music Research Skills (team taught)
  • MUSS 2320 Performance (team taught)
  • MUSS 2340 BMus Performance (team taught)
  • MUSS 2721/2 Music in Context
  • MUSS 3021 Analysing Music (team taught)
  • MUSS 3340 Performance (module co-ordinator)
  • MUSS 3140 Dissertation (previous module co-ordinator, team taught)
  • MUSS 3721/2 Music in Context
  • MUSS 5030M Professional Studies (team taught)
  • MUSS 5430M Editing and Archival Studies (team taught)
  • MUSS 5330M Instrumental/Vocal Recital (module co-ordinator)
  • MUSS 5360M Instrumental/Vocal Recital (module co-ordinator)
  • MUSS 5335M Concerto/song cycle/extended work (module co-ordinator)
  • MUSS 5337M Applied Performance (module co-ordinator)
  • MUSS 5162/5132/5133M, Dissertation and Short Dissertation (team taught)


Programme Manager for the MMus Performance programme.

Director of Postgraduate Research (from 1 September 2013 to 31 August 2018)



  • -----, Granville Bantock's Letters to William Wallace and Ernest Newman, 1893-1921: 'Our new dawn of modern music', ed. by Allis, Michael (Woodbridge: The Boydell Press, 2017)

  • Allis, Michael, Temporaries and Eternals: the music criticism of Aldous Huxley, 1922-23 (Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2013)
    Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/80547/

  • Allis, Michael, British Music and Literary Context: Artistic Connections in the Long Nineteenth Century, Music in Britain 1600-1900 (Woodbridge: The Boydell Press, 2012)

  • Allis, Michael, Parry's Creative Process (Ashgate, 2003), i-262

  • The Oxford Handbook of Music and Intellectual Culture in the Long Nineteenth Century, ed. by Watt P, Collins S and Allis, Michael ([n.pub.], [n.d.]) (In preparation)

  • The Symphonic Poem in Britain, 1850-1950: Texts and Contexts, ed. by Allis, Michael and Watt P ([n.pub.], [n.d.]) (In preparation)

Journal articles

  • Allis, Michael, ‘From Musicology to Novel: reassessing Robertson Davies' literary representation of Peter Warlock’, University of Toronto Quarterly 2018 (Accepted)

  • Allis, Michael, ‘Reading Music Through Literature: Introduction’, Journal of Musicological Research, 36.1 (2017), 1-5
    DOI: 10.1080/01411896.2016.1268900, Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/105154/

  • , ‘Reading Music through Literary Scholarship: Granville Bantock, Shelley, and The Witch of Atlas’, Journal of Musicological Research, 36.1 (2017), 6-28
    DOI: 10.1080/01411896.2017.1258889, Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/100901/

  • Allis, Michael, ‘A canvas of endless extent": Granville Bantock, Robert Southey and The Curse of Kehama project’, European Romantic Review, 27.2 (2016), 143-174
    DOI: 10.1080/10509585.2016.1140048, Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/83849/

  • Allis, Michael, ‘Searching for the "musical Messiah"contemporary music and value in Aldous Huxley's music criticisms:’, Aldous Huxley Annual: A Journal of Twentieth-Century Thought and Beyond, 14 [2014] (2015), 137-162

  • Allis, Michael, ‘The Diva and the Beast: Susan Strong and the Wagnerism of Aleister Crowley’, Forum for Modern Language Studies, 50.4 (2014), 380-404
    DOI: 10.1093/fmls/cqu026, Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/80543/

    Special edition of this journal, edited by Michael Allis.

  • Allis, Michael, ‘Wagner and Literature: New Directions' (special issue of Forum for Modern Language Studies volume 50 issue 4)’, Forum for Modern Language Studies, ed. by Allis, Michael, 50.4 (2014), 371-510
    Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/80548/

  • Allis, Michael, ‘Wagner and Literature: New Directions: Introduction’, Forum for Modern Language Studies, 50.4 (2014), 371-379
    DOI: 10.1093/fmls/cqu031, Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/80544/

    Special issue of this journal, edited by Michael Allis.

  • Allis, Michael, ‘Bantock and Southey: musical otherness and fatalism in Thalaba the Destroyer’, Music and Letters, 95.1 (2014), 39-69
    DOI: 10.1093/ml/gct132, Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/80545/

  • , ‘Bax's Elgar: Musical Quotation, Allusion and Compositional Identity in the First String Quartet in G’, Journal of the Royal Musical Association, 136.2 (2011), 305-352

  • Allis, Michael, ‘Richter’s Wagner: a new source for tempi in Das Rheingold’, Cambridge Opera Journal, 20.2 (2008), 117-148

  • Allis, Michael, ‘Richter's Wagner: a new source for tempi in Das Rheingold’, Cambridge Opera Journal, 20.2 (2008), 117-147
    DOI: 10.1017/S0954586709002444, Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/80546/

    Published in May 2009.

  • Allis, Michael, ‘Shared Concerns: Thoughts on British Literature and British Music in the Long Nineteenth Century’, 19: Interdsicplinary Studies in the Long Nineteenth Century, 1.1 (2006), 1-33

  • Allis, Michael, ‘Elgar, Lytton, and the Piano Quintet, op. 84’, Music and Letters, 85.2 (2004), 198-238
    DOI: 10.1093/ml/85.2.198

  • Allis, Michael, ‘Elgar and the Art of Retrospective Narrative’, Journal of Musicological Research, 19 (2000), 289-328

  • Allis, Michael, ‘Samuel Butler and Handel; a study in obsession’, Handel Jahrbuch, 44 (1998), 225-271

  • Allis, Michael, ‘Another '48'; Stanford and historic sensibility’, Music Review, 2.55 (1994), 119-137

  • Allis, Michael, ‘Parry and solo song composition’, Music Review, 51 (1991), 31-51

  • Allis, Michael, ‘Refiguring the poetic elegy in music: the rhetoric of mourning in Parry's Elegy for Brahms’, Nineteenth-Century Music Review (Submitted)


  • Allis, Michael, ‘Holbrooke and Poe Revisited: Refiguring The Raven as the Musical Uncanny’, in Joseph Holbrooke: Composer, Critic, and Musical Patriot, ed. by Watt, P. and Forbes, A. (Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield, 2014), 117-151

  • , ‘Performance in Private: "The Working Men's Society" and the promotion of progressive repertoire in 19th-century Britain’, in Music and Performance Culture in Nineteenth-Century Britain: Essays in Honour of Nicholas Temperley, ed. by Zon B (Farnham: Ashgate, 2012), 139-172

  • , ‘Challenging the Victorian musical soundscape: 'progressive' repertoire and 'The Working Men's Society’, in Victorian Soundscapes Revisited, ed. by Hewitt M and Cowgill R (Leeds: Leeds Centre for Victorian Studies, Leeds Trinity and All Saints, and Leeds University Centre for English Music, 2007), 9, 83-97

  • Allis, Michael, ‘Remarkable force, finish, intelligence and feeling': Reassessing the Pianism of Walter Bache’, in The Piano in Nineteenth-Century British Culture; Instruments, Performers and Repertoire, ed. by Ellsworth T and Wollenberg S (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2007), 193-216

  • Allis, Michael, ‘Promotion through performance: Liszt's symphonic poems in the London concerts of Walter Bache’, in Europe, empire, and spectacle in nineteenth-century British music, ed. by Cowgill R and Rushton J (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2006), 55-75

  • Allis, Michael, ‘Musical reactions to Tennyson: Reformulating musical imagery in 'The Lotos-Eaters’, in The figure of music in nineteenth-century British poetry, ed. by Weliver P (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2005), 132-173

  • Allis, Michael, ‘Words and Music: Bridges, Parry and the Invocation’, in Nineteeth-Century British Music Studies, ed. by Dibble J and Zon B (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2002), 295-318

  • Allis, Michael, ‘A curious intricate work of the modern, but not the ultra-modern school': William Wallace's Villon’, in The Symphonic Poem in Britain, 1850-1950: Texts and Contexts ([n.pub.], [n.d.]) (In preparation)

  • Allis, Michael, ‘19th-century travel literature: portraying the musical other’, in The Oxford Handbook of Music and Intellectual Culture in the 19th Century, ed. by Watt P, Collins S and (Oxford University Press, [n.d.]) (Submitted)

Conference papers

  • Allis, Michael, ‘Reading music through literary scholarship: Granville Bantock and The Witch of Atlas’ research seminar series, University of Edinburgh, 24/03/2016 - 24/03/2016 (Unpublished)

  • Allis, Michael, ‘Refiguring Shelley in music: Granville Bantock and The Witch of Atlas’ Research seminar series, University of Birmingham, 22/10/2014 - 22/10/2014

  • Allis, Michael, ‘The Diva and the Beast: Susan Strong and the Wagnerism of Aleister Crowley', Keynote lecture, Words About Music Conference, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia’, 12/04/2014 - 12/04/2014

  • Allis, Michael, ‘The musical refiguring of Shelley: Granville Bantock and The Witch of Atlas, RMA 50th Annuial Conference, University of Leeds’, 04/09/2014 - 06/09/2014 (Unpublished)

  • Allis, Michael, ‘Refiguring Shelley in music: Granville Bantock's The Witch of Atlas’ Conference on Music Literature, Historiography and Aesthetics, Institute of Musical Research, London, 17/07/2014 - 18/07/2014 (Unpublished)

  • Allis, Michael, ‘The Diva and the Beast: Susan Strong and the Wagnerism of Aleister Crowley', Richard Wagner's Impact on His World and Ours, University of Leeds’, 30/05/2013 - 02/06/2013

  • Allis, Michael, ‘Temporaries and Eternals: Contemporary Music and Value in Aldous Huxley's Music Criticisms', The Condemned Playground: Aldous Huxley and his Contemporaries, University of Oxford, September 2013’, 01/09/2013 - 01/09/2013 (Unpublished)

  • Allis, Michael, ‘Refiguring the dramatic monologue: Granville Bantock's Fifine at the Fair', Browning: Beyond, Before, Royal Holloway, 2012’ Browning: Beyond, Before, Royal Holloway, 01/07/2012 (Unpublished)

  • Allis, Michael, ‘Elgar Abroad: In the South and imaginative topography', English Musical Vernaculars, University of Oxford, 2012’ English Musical Vernaculars, University of Oxford, 01/05/2012 (Unpublished)

  • Allis, Michael, ‘Bantock and Browning: reformulated dramatic monologue in Fifine at the Fair’ Music in 19th-century Britain, Queen's University Belfast, 01/07/2011 - 01/07/2011

  • Allis, Michael, ‘Refiguring Browning through musical composition: Granville Bantock's musical reading of Fifine at the Fair', British Association of Victorian Studies Conference, University of Birmingham, 2011’ British Association of Victorian Studies conference, University of Birmingham, 01/09/2011 (Unpublished)

  • Allis, Michael, ‘Challenging the Victorian musical soundscape; “progressive" repertoire and the "Working Men's Society”', Victorian Soundscapes, University of Leeds/Trinity & All Saints, 2007’ Victorian Soundscapes, Trinity and All Saints, Leeds, 01/03/2007

  • Allis, Michael, ‘Elgar as Tourist', Victorian Studies Research Seminar, Trinity & All Saints, Leeds, 2008’ Victorian Studies research seminar, Trinity and All Saints, Leeds, 01/01/2008 (Unpublished)

  • Allis, Michael, ‘Performance in public and private; "The Working Men's Society" and the progressive agenda’, Music in 19th-Century Britain, University of Birmingham, 2007’ Music in 19th-century Britain, University of Birmingham, 01/07/2007 (Unpublished)

  • Allis, Michael, ‘Vaughan Williams and the English Symphony', Studies in English Music, Lawrence University, 2004’ Studies in English Music, Lawrence University, London, 01/11/2004 (Unpublished)

  • Allis, Michael, ‘Frederick Corder in Perspective', Bax in Context, Royal Academy of Music, 2003’ Bax in Context, Royal Academy of Music, 01/10/2003 (Unpublished)

  • Allis, Michael, ‘Elgar and Bulwer Lytton', Edward Bulwer-Lytton International Bicentenary Conference, Knebworth, 2003’ Edward Bulwer-Lytton International Bicentenary Conference, Knebworth, 01/05/2003 (Unpublished)

  • Allis, Michael, ‘Bax and his Circle’, British Library, 01/03/2002 - 01/03/2002

  • Allis, Michael, ‘Loading the dice; Parry, Tennyson and The Lotos Eaters', Music and Victorian Literature Study Day, University of Reading, 2000’ Study day on music and Victorian literature, University of Reading, 01/05/2000 (Unpublished)

  • Allis, Michael, ‘Words and Music; Parry, Bridges and the Invocation', Music in 19th-Century Britain, University of Durham, 1999’, in Nineteenth-century British music studies / edited by Bennett Zon. ([n.pub.], 1999) Music in 19th-century Britain, University of Durham, 01/07/1999

  • Allis, Michael, ‘Approaching Vaughan Williams’ LSO Study Day, Barbican, 01/12/1997 - 01/12/1997

  • Allis, Michael, ‘London musical life, c.1890', International Albeniz Symposium, London, 1997’ International Albeniz Association Symposium, Spanish Embassy, London, 01/07/1997 (Unpublished)


  • Allis, Michael, Book review of Elizabeth K. Helsinger, Poetry and the Thought of Song in Nineteenth-Century Britain (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2015), in Review 19, ([n.pub.], 2017)

  • Allis, Michael, CD Review of works by Sterndale Bennett, William Best and Hubert Parry, in Nineteenth-Century Music Review, (Cambridge University Press, 2010) 7.1: 149-151.
    DOI: 10.1017/S1479409800001117

  • Allis, Michael, Review of Delia da Sousa Correa (ed.), Phrase and Subject; Studies in Literature and Music (London: MHRA, 2006), in Comparative Critical Studies, ([n.pub.], 2008) 2-3.5: 335-339.

  • Allis, Michael, Review of Jeremy Dibble, John Stainer: A Life in Music (Woodbridge: The Boydell Press, 2007), in Victorian Studies: a journal of the humanities, arts and sciences, ([n.pub.], 2008) 51.1: 14-17.

  • Allis, Michael, Review of Matthew Riley, Edward Elgar and the Nostalgic Imagination (Cambridge: CUP, 2007), in Music and Letters, ([n.pub.], 2008) 4.89: 661-666.

  • Allis, Michael, CD Review of Violin Concertos by Coleridge Taylor and Somervell (Marwood; Brabbins; BBC Scottish SO), in Nineteenth-Century Music Review, ([n.pub.], [n.d.]) 4.2: 172-174.

  • Allis, Michael, Review of Jeremy Dibble (ed.), Parry: Sonatas for Violin and Piano (London: Stainer & Bell, 2003), in Nineteenth-Century Music Review, ([n.pub.], [n.d.]) 2.1: 230-234.

  • Allis, Michael, Review of Anthony Boden, The Parrys of the Golden Vale: Background to Genius (London: Thames, 1998), in Ivor Gurney Society Journal, ([n.pub.], [n.d.]) 5: 75-76.

Scholarly editions

  • Allis, Michael, C.H.H.Parry: Sonnets and Songs Without Words, (Fentone Music, 1996)

  • Allis, Michael, C.H.H.Parry: String Quartet in G, (Fentone Music, 1995)

  • Allis, Michael, Shulbrede Tunes, (Fentone Music, 1995)

Research Projects & Grants

1988-91: British Academy grant

2012: Music and Letters award

2013: British Academy small grant

2016: HEIF Impact Scheme

Research Centres & Groups

Music and Culture

LUCEM: Leeds University Centre for English Music

External Appointments


2013-: Appointment as Adjunct Senior Research Fellow, School of Music, Monash University

Member of Editorial Board

  • Journal of Victorian Studies
  • Nineteen: Interdisciplinary Studies in the Long Nineteenth Century.

External Examining

  • 2018-22: University of Durham, MA Music
  • 2013-17: University of York, MA Music
  • 2013-16: Newcastle University, MMus
  • 2013: Royal College of Music BMus Review
  • 2005 – 2008: Dublin Conservatory of Music, DIT: MMus Performance programme.
  • 2005 – 2006: Imperial College, London: Undergraduate Humanities course ‘Music and Western Civilization’.
  • 2004 – 2006: Trinity College of Music, London: MMus Lecture Recitals.

Thesis Examining

  • 2016: University of Queensland, PhD
  • 2016: Durham University, PhD
  • 2014: Durham University, PhD
  • 2009: University of Melbourne, PhD
  • 2007: Durham University, PhD; Royal College of Music, DMus (upgrade)
  • 2006: Durham University, PhD
  • 2005: Birmingham University, MPhil (2)

Conference/Events Organising Committees

  • 2015: British Association of Victorian Studies Conference
  • 2014: Institute of Musical Research, ‘Music Literature, Historiography and Aesthetics’
  • 2002-5: Music and Performance in 19th-Century Britain Colloquia series
  • 2003: ‘Bax and Beyond’ (Royal Academy of Music)
  • 2002: Royal Academy of Music/British Library collaborative

PhD & Postdoctoral Supervision

Current Research Students

  • Annie Czajkowski: mindfulness for singers (co-supervisor)
  • Alfia Nakipbekova: 20th-century cello playing (co-supervisor)
  • John Fallas: The afterlives of genre (secondary supervisor)
  • Gianluca Guerriero: music and literature (co-supervisor)
  • Masumi Nagasawa: the single-action pedal harp (secondary supervisor)

Past Research Students

  • April Frederick: The songs of Ivor Gurney
  • Monta Monique Said: Liszt’s female pupils
  • Mariko Ono: John Ireland’s Piano Music and related repertoire (2009)
  • Florian Uhlig: Genre and Performance, with specific reference to the barcarolle
  • Georgia Katsiroumpa: The vocal works of Dion Arivas (1928-2000)
  • Hannah French: Henry Wood and the tradition of performing the music of J.S.Bach (2014)
  • Chris Roberts: Amateur music-making in Provincial England 1660-1720 (secondary supervisor, 2015)
  • Mark Deeks: National identity in Northern and East European Metal (2017)
  • Jonathan Tobutt: Reassessing the impact and influence of the British oboist Léon Goossens (2017)
  • Jung Yoon Cho: Reinterpreting Brahms’ Violin Sonatas: understanding the composer’s expectations (secondary supervisor, 2017)
  • Anne Stanyon: Arthur Sullivan and the Leeds Triennial Festival (secondary supervisor, 2018)
  • Kate Wadsworth: ‘Precisely marked in the tradition of the composer’: performing editions of Friedrich Grutzmacher (secondary supervisor, 2018)
  • Simon Morrison: Discotext: Musico-Literary Intermediality in Dancefloor-Driven Literature (2018)

PhD Thesis

The Creative Process of C.Hubert H.Parry

The image of Parry perpetuated in secondary literature is often that of a composer who had a great facility, and who displayed an uncritical attitude towards his own compositions. This view of Parry is reappraised by close examination of the extant sketch material, along with evidence from notebooks, letters and the composer’s diaries and published writings. After having examined the early sketchbooks, the variety of paper types present in the Parry manuscripts are identified; this has implications regarding questions of chronology in the manuscripts. Each stage in the compositional process is then defined and explained, from early sketches through to performance and publication. This is followed by a detailed study of Parry’s attitude to the texts that he set, some of which he composed himself.

The striking feature at all of these stages is that Parry subjected his work to frequent revision, often of a radical nature, which belies the charge of an uncritical attitude. The overwhelming sense of responsibility to his craft, seen throughout his published writings, also meant that he was aware of the moral and ethical aspects of composing music, and was therefore serious in his approach. Although certain works may have been composed quite quickly, the overall impression from comments in Parry’s diaries and the scope of the alterations in the manuscripts is that the composer often found composition difficult, and that the problems posed by the variety of genres in which he worked were not easily solved. Bearing in mind all of these factors, the image of Parry as facile and uncritical is inappropriate.





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