Professor Simon Keefe

BA, MA, MusM, PGCE, MPhil, PhD

Department of Music

Professor in Musicology

Chair of the Department of Music Outreach, Public Engagement and Marketing Committee

Director, MA in Musicology

Co-ordinator of the Department of Music Research Seminar Series

Full contact details

Professor Simon Keefe
Department of Music
Jessop Building
Leavygreave Rd
S3 7RD

I took up the James Rossiter Hoyle Chair of Music in April 2008 and served as Head of Department until July 2015, having previously been Professor and Head of Music at City University London. Born in Leicester, I am a graduate of Cambridge, Boston and Columbia Universities (PhD 1997) and have held lectureships at Christ Church Oxford (1997-99) and at Queen's University, Belfast (1999-2003). In autumn 2016, I was a Visiting Fellow at All Souls College Oxford.

My primary research and teaching area is late 18th-century music, especially Mozart, but I also have research and teaching interests in music reception and biography, 20th-century French popular song, Wagner, and the concerto genre. I have published four books as author and eight as editor since 2001, including a 700-page musical biography, Mozart in Vienna: the Final Decade (Cambridge University Press, 2017).

My monograph Mozart’s Requiem: Reception, Work, Completion (Cambridge University Press, 2012) won the 2013 Marjorie Weston Emerson award from the Mozart Society of America for the best book or edition published in 2011 or 2012; my edited volume Mozart in Context (Cambridge University Press, 2019) received an 'Outstanding Academic Title' award from the journal Choice (American Library Association) and was named one of the 'best classical music book releases of 2019' by the BBC Music Magazine.

My non-musical interests include football, golf, and tennis; I am a life-long (and long-suffering) fan of Aston Villa FC.

Research interests

Current projects

  • (General Editor) 'Music and Musicians, 1750-1850' ('Elements' series for Cambridge University Press);
  • (Book project, working title) Haydn and Mozart: Critical Paths through the Long Nineteenth Century, 1791-1914;
  • (Article) ‘“No kind of reading is so generally interesting as biography”: Establishing Narratives for Haydn and Mozart in the Second and Third Decades of the Nineteenth Century’.



  • Keefe S (2016) Mozart the Child Performer-Composer: New Musical-Biographical Perspectives on the Early Years to 1766 In McPherson GE (Ed.), Musical Prodigies: Interpretations from Psychology, Education, Musicology, and Ethnomusicology (pp. 550-575). Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Keefe S (2015) Mozart 'stuck in music' in Paris (1778): towards a new biographical paradigm In Keefe SP (Ed.), Mozart Studies 2 (pp. 23-54). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Keefe S (2015) 'Composing, Performing and Publishing: Mozart's "Haydn" Quartets' In Keefe SP (Ed.), Mozart Studies 2 (pp. 140-167). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. RIS download Bibtex download

Conference proceedings papers

  • Keefe S (2016) ‘“Die trefflich gewählten Instrumente”: Orchestrating Don Giovanni’s Defeat’. Mozart in Prague: Essays on Performance, Patronage, Sources and Reception (pp 343-369). Prague, 9 June 2009 - 13 June 2009. View this article in WRRO RIS download Bibtex download

Edited books

  • Keefe S (Ed.) (2018) Mozart in Context. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Keefe SP (Ed.) (2015) Mozart. Farnham, Surrey: Ashgate Publishing. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Keefe SP (Ed.) (2015) Mozart Studies 2. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. RIS download Bibtex download

I am happy to supervise students in any of my areas of specialty. My current and previous PhD students have worked on the following topics: Beethoven's annotations of Cramer's piano studies; 19th-century oboe studies; theories of editing Mozart's piano works; late 18th-century keyboard music in London; Prokofiev's piano music; Chopin reception in England; concepts of music analysis in the late 18th- and early-19th centuries; editing and performance practice in Mozart's keyboard music; Handel reception in the 18th century; Mozart's sacred music.

Professional activities
  • Elected (2005) to life membership of the Salzburg-based Akademie für Mozart-Forschung of the Internationale Stiftung Mozarteum (as the only British member until 2019).
  • General Editor of the Royal Musical Association monographs series (published by Routledge) (2011- ).
  • Chair of the Royal Musical Association Publications Committee (2013-19), including organizing, planning and negotiating a change of publisher for the RMA journals from Routledge to Cambridge University Press.
  • Editor of a Late Eighteenth-Century Composers series (Ashgate, 2015)
  • Editorial/advisory boards: Journal of the Royal Musical Association (Routledge); Mozart-Jahrbuch (Bärenreiter); Humanities (Basel: MDPI Verein); RMA Research Chronicle (Routledge).
  • Founding editor (reviews) of Eighteenth-Century Music (2002-2008), and editorial board member to 2016.
  • Member of the AHRC Peer Review College (2009- )

Public and media engagement

  • Programme notes for annual international Mozart festival, 'Mozart Woche', Salzburg (2008- )
  • Eight study days at King’s Place, London as part of a year-long ‘Mozart Unwrapped’ series of events (2011).
  • Public lectures: Sheffield (University and 'Music in the Round': 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015); Sheffield (Cathedral: 2017, 2011, 2009); Birmingham Conservatoire (2009); University of Buckingham (2019, 2008, 2002); Fairford, Gloucestershire (2006); Arnside, Cumbria (2006); Queen’s University Belfast (Queen’s Film Theatre) (2002).
  • Pre-concert lectures: Royal Northern College of Music (2019); Tideswell, Derbyshire (2015); St. Oswald’s Church, Sheffield (2012); Barbican, London (2008); Wigmore Hall, London (x4, 2006); Queen Elizabeth Hall, London (London Philharmonic, 2006); St John’s Smith Square London & Cambridge Faculty of Music (Academy of Ancient Music, 2006); Royal Albert Hall (BBC Proms x2, 2006).
  • Cosmoetica: Dan Schenider video interview on Mozart (2017)
  • Principal musicological consultant for, and contributor to ‘Mozart in Prague: Rolando Villázon on Don Giovanni’: Renegade Film for BBC2 (2013-14) on the Prague premiere of Don Giovanni, featuring international opera star Rolando Villázon.
  • Panellist on BBC Radio 3 debates (2011, x2); contributor to BBC2 Newsnight films (2008, 2007)
  • Contributions to UK Radio 2’s ‘What Mozart Did for Us’, first broadcast 24 January 2006.
  • Principal contributor to ‘In Mozart’s Footsteps: London’ on Deutsche Welle TV (‘Euromaxx’), first broadcast 6 September 2006.
  • ‘Mozart in England’ (German Public Radio; interviewed by Walter Bohnacker), first broadcast January 2006.