MAHLER CYCLE 2011
Series Consultant, Maazel: Mahler Cycle 2011
Julian Johnson is Professor of Music and Head of Department at Royal Hollo way, University of London, having formerly been a Reader in Music and Fellow of St Anne's College, Oxford. In 2009 he was Series Consultant to the Philharmonia's City of Dreams: Vienna 1900-1935, conducted by Esa Pekka Salonen.
He has published widely on music from Beethoven to contemporary music, but with a particular emphasis on Viennese modernism. In Webern and the Transformation of Nature (Cambridge University Press, 1999) he challenged the conventional account of Webern's music as cerebral and abstract, arguing that it might also be seen as a continuation of the romantic fascination with the idea of nature. In Mahler's Voices (Oxford University Press, 2009), he examines the ways in which Mahler's music speaks, caught between a tone of urgent expression on the one hand, and self-critical irony on the other.
A parallel interest in the social role and value of music lies behind a number of publications on the wider function and meaning of music. Who needs classicalmusic? (Oxford University Press, 2002) argues passionately for the continuing value of classical music to contemporary culture. It provoked wide reaction, both for and against, and was short-listed for the Royal Philharmonic Society Book Prize in 2003. His current project is a book on the ways in which music has embodied the social experience of modernity from Monteverdi to Birtwistle.
He is a regular speaker at international academic conferences but has also contributed to the broader educational work of a number of orchestras and opera companies, including the Philharmonia Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, London Sinfonietta, Glyndebourne Opera, English National Opera and the Royal Opera. A long-standing and enthusiastic commitment to opening classical music to a wider audience lies behind his most recent book, ClassicalMusic: A Beginners' Guide (One world, 2009) and shapes his broadcasting work for BBC Radio 3 and the BBC Television coverage of the Proms.