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PhD in Musical Composition: Oratorio in our time

School of Language, Literature, Music and Visual Culture

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Prof P Mealor , Dr P Cooke No more applications being accepted Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

To research and create an oratorio commenting on historical events of our time. While operas have historically often been based on mythology or classical drama, there have been notable examples of opera depicting modern history, such as John Adams’s operas Nixon in China, Dr. Atomic and The Death of Klinghoffer. Whittall argues that these stories are compelling for us because of the dichotomy, again, between reality and dramatic imitation of reality (Whittall, 2008). An oratorio or passion-formatted large-scale work depicting a modern history figure or event has the potential to be even more powerful because these formats feature third-person narrative or a chorus commenting on events taking place, whereas opera typically does not. In a culture where so many feel entitled to comment on all events of the day through social media and other avenues, a depiction of a modern event, while simultaneously commenting on that event in a large-scale musical work could entice the listener to see and relate to modern history in new ways.

The School of Language, Literature, Music and Visual Culture has a lively postgraduate community. Postgraduate students are offered a comprehensive programme of research skills training.

Funding Notes

This project is funded by a University of Aberdeen Elphinstone Scholarship. An Elphinstone Scholarship covers the cost of tuition fees, whether Home, EU or Overseas.

Selection will be made on the basis of academic merit. For information about English-language requirements, see
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