Rachel Johnson


Previous Education

MMus (Flute Performance) Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama 2008-2010

MusB (Hons) Music, University of Manchester 2004-2007

Thesis title

Musical networks in early-Victorian Manchester, 1836-1860


Prof. Richard Wistreich (RCM), Prof. Martin Harlow (RNCM), Prof. Dave Day (MMU)

Research Summary

I am investigating musical life in early-Victorian Manchester, identifying what musical activity was taking place, who was taking part in such activity, and how this related to the changing structures of industrial society.  I am exploring the interactions between a network of industrial philanthropists and musical entrepreneurs, seeking to explore the ways musical engagement shaped and was shaped by the developing social, cultural and civic life of the newly industrialised city.  Particular areas of interest at present include the Manchester Mechanics’ Institute, Athenaeum and Royal Manchester Institution, the Hargreaves Choral Society, and a number of glee and madrigal societies.

Research Interests

Alongside my PhD research, I remain active as a freelance flautist.  I have research interests in nineteenth-century British flute culture, and have recently revisited aspects of my Masters research in this area to develop and present a lecture recital of nineteenth-century British flute music.  I have also developed research interests in military music history and in popular music lecturing with contributions to the Music in Manchester during World War 1 project at the RNCM, and the History of the Humanities research network together with the Universities of Manchester and Amsterdam.


‘Best Laid Plans: Lessons from a PhD Pregnancy’, RMA Research Student Blog, May 2016

Book Review: John Carnelly, George Smart and Nineteenth-Century London Concert Life  – Nineteenth-Century Music Review (published online FirstView 2 May 2017)

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