About Associate Professor Kathleen Nelson

The rich written sources of musical history are my research passion, from medieval manuscripts to the documents of Australian musical history.

Kathleen Nelson has published mainly in the fields of medieval manuscript studies and Australian musical history.

Medieval Spanish sources of chant and polyphony provided the source material for Kathleen’s PhD and continue to fascinate her. She is especially interested in questions relating transmission of chant, and chant sources using Aquitanian notation. During the last few years her research has extended to investigation of more diverse chant sources originating from various parts of Europe now held in the University of Sydney’s Rare Book collection. As a result of her work in medieval music, Kathleen was invited to be a core member of a research cluster of leading Australian musicologists supported by the ARC funded Network for Early European Research. One of her current projects is the editing of a book of essays by an international group of researchers mainly concerning fifteenth and sixteenth-century musical sources of Iberian origin. Kathleen’s work on Australian musical history has focussed particularly on the first half of the twentieth century. Results include several publications relating to the Australian Broadcasting Commission and the work of Australian composer Percy Grainger, and she has supervised research students working in various areas of Australian musical history.Areas of recent supervision include:

  • 19th-century and early 20th-century musical history in Sydney
  • Musical activities at the mid-nineteenth-century Theatre Royal, Hobart
  • Rhetoric and vocal performance practice of the 17th and 18th centuries
  • 20th-century performance practice of music of J.S. Bach
  • The Australian musical canon
  • Bassoon reed making

Selected publications

For more information about publications see my academic profile