George Burrows

George Burrows


Accepting PhD Students

Personal profile


I was made Reader in Performing Arts in September 2017 after 14 years of lecturing at the University of Portsmouth.

I have been co-editor of the international journal, Studies in Musical Theatre, since I founded the publication with Intellect in 2007. I also founded the Song, Stage and Screen international conference in Portsmouth in 2006 and continue to sit on its advisory board.

I am currently leading our efforts to enter Unit of Assessment 33 in the forthcoming Research Excellence Framework and I head up our research group in Music, Dance, Drama and Performing Arts.


I completed my PhD in music at the University of Newcastle in 2010, where my supervisor was Richard Middleton, and I also hold a Master of Letters (MLitt) in music from that institution. Both my PhD and MLitt theses looked at jazz for the way such music represented discourses of race, gender and sexuality. A Lacanian psychoanalytical approach emerged in my doctoral work.

I am a fellow of the Higher Education Academy and hold a Postgraduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education from the University of Portsmouth.

My undergraduate studies were at the University of Birmingham where I read for their BMus (hons) degree and took instrumental and vocal lessons at the Birmingham Conservatoire (now a part of Birmingham City University).

I worked at the Royal Opera House on leaving Birmingham and then at the University of Newcastle where I organised the Kings Hall Concerts, conducted the university's orchestras and lectured undergraduates on the Popular Music and Folk and Traditional Music programmes.

Teaching Responsibilities

For a term in 2017, I acted as Associate Dean (Students) in the Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries, having previously led our team of academic staff that lecture in Musical Theatre and Drama. For a period I was Course Leader for both of those undergraduate programmes and I previously co-led our BA in Creative Arts and taught across a number of combined-honours degree programmes.

I have been an External Examiner and Course Validator at various institutions at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. I supervise PhD students and I have seen three doctoral students through to completion. I have been involved in writing three undergraduate degree programmes and in developing a number curriculums that combine scholarship and practice.

I continue to combine practice and scholarship in my own work lecturing and especially in directing the University of Portsmouth Choir.

Research Interests

My research focuses on socio-policial discourses associated with musical theatre and jazz of the interwar period but I have also published work in other areas. I edited the first edition of Stanford's Cello Concerto, which was recorded by Hyperion, and more recently led a Practice-Research project that explored diva-performance in a recreation of a performance of Handel's Messiah that was given in Portsmouth in 1812.

I have become increasingly interested in music associated with ocean liner travel and cultures of listening and meaning that arose with developments of sound recording and reproduction technologies. I am interested in early phonographs and gramophones and have restored several early machines.

I won a sabbatical from the university in 2017 to complete my book for Oxford University Press, The Recordings of Andy Kirk and His Clouds of Joy, on the representations of racial politics in the band’s recordings and to develop various funding bids and research training opportunities for my colleagues. The book won ‘Best Discography’ at the 2020 Association for Recorded Sound Collections Awards for Excellence in Recorded Sound Research, in the ‘Best Historical Research in Recorded Jazz’ category.

Education/Academic qualification

Ph.D., Listening to the Spectre of Ideology in Jazz: A consideration of the composer-bandleader as a figure of critique during the interwar years of the twentieth century, Newcastle University

Award Date: 15 Mar 2010


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