14 October 2022

Professor Simon Keefe appointed the next President of the Royal Musical Association

Simon Keefe, Professor in Musicology at the University of Sheffield, has been appointed the next President of second oldest musicological society in the world.

Huge congratulations to Simon Keefe, James Rossiter Hoyle Chair of Music, who will begin his three-year presidency of the Royal Musical Society on 1 January 2024.

His new role will involve running an association of more than 1,000 members that’s known for its two major international journals and a monograph series, prestigious awards and prizes, ED&I and researcher development initiatives, major annual conference, and numerous other high-profile public meetings.

As President, I shall advocate actively for musical studies on behalf of the association with public and private policy-making bodies, and with educational establishments and repositories of musical resources. I will also engage with the student body in the UK and chair the Royal Musical Association (RMA) Council, its governing body.

I have an extended period shadowing the current President before taking over for a three-year term in 2024. In practice, this will involve partaking in important decisions relating to the direction of travel for the association in the years ahead.

My term of office will also coincide with major celebrations planned for the 150th anniversary of the RMA in 2024, culminating in a large conference in London in September 2024. I will be involved in planning these activities in 2023, in advance of assuming the presidency.

Professor Simon Keefe 

The University of Sheffield 

The Royal Musical Association was founded in 1874 “for the investigation and discussion of subjects connected with the art and science of music,” and its activities have evolved to embrace every conceivable aspect of music scholarship, whether expressed in words, notation or sounds.

Royal Musical Association

Simon has been contributing to the one and a half century old association since 2011, acting as the General Editor of its specialised monograph series, sitting on the Journal of the Royal Musical Association’s editorial and advisory board, and chairing its Publications Committee. 

Apart from his role as James Rossiter Hoyle Chair in Music, a role that was established in 1927 in memory of a late President of Sheffield Philharmonic Chorus and master cutler, Simon also served as Head of the Department of Music for seven years between 2008 and 2015. He is renowned for his research and teaching specialism in late 18th century music and the works of Mozart.

I love engaging with every aspect of late 18th music, its musical and stylistic features, aesthetic ideas, and historical and biographical issues. I am also very interested in how it has been subsequently received in later centuries. Although my areas of specialty and expertise have always focused on the late 18th century, most especially Mozart, I have broadened my interests over the course of my career from relatively narrow issues of style and aesthetics in Mozart's instrumental music, to larger biographical, performance and reception-related questions for the late 18th century as a whole.

Over the past decade, Simon has acquired an international reputation for his written work. His 2012 monograph, Mozart’s Requiem: Reception, Work, Completion, was recognised by the Mozart Society of America as the best book or edition published in 2011 or 2012. His 2019 edited volume, Mozart in Context, was named one of the ‘best classical music book releases of 2019’ by the BBC Music Magazine and received the Outstanding Academic Title from the American Library Association’s journal, Choice.

Since 2001, Simon has published four books as author and eight as editor, including a 700-page musical biography on the final decade of Mozart’s life. His fifth single-authored monograph, Haydn and Mozart in the Long Nineteenth Century: Parallel and Intersecting Patterns of Reception, will be published in December by Cambridge University Press.

Professor Simon Keefe uses his professional activities to inform his teaching and leads on a number of modules on the undergraduate postgraduate programmes including; History of Western Music and Critical Listening and the Musical Work. 

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