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Royal Musical Association, The University of Manchester and the Royal Northern College of Music logo

Royal Musical Association Annual Conference

The 55th Annual Conference of the Royal Musical Association will be hosted jointly by the Royal Northern College of Music and The University of Manchester, between 11 and 13 September 2019.

Conference programme

We are delighted to have received a very large volume of high-quality proposals for the conference from the call for proposals, which closed on 15 November 2018, and are very excited that we have been able to put together a stimulating and hugely varied programme that will involve over 150 presenters, including both leading figures and emerging scholars within the discipline.

Since our intention in hosting the conference jointly between The University of Manchester and the RNCM has been to celebrate the interface between performance, musicology and composition, we are particularly pleased that the programme will represent such a wide range of current international scholarly and creative research in music, including practice-based research in composition, performance and recordings, papers on topics in musicology, ethnomusicology, and with a wide interdisciplinary reach, as well as some thought-provoking sessions reflecting on a number of current issues being debated within the discipline.

The conference is structured in parallel sessions, including individual papers grouped into themed topics, themed panels of 3-4 papers, lecture-recitals, a composition workshop, and poster presentations. There are two keynote events:

  • The Peter le Huray lecture will be delivered in the Cosmo Rodewald Concert Hall, Martin Harris Centre at the University of Manchester on Wednesday 11 September by Prof. Tamara Levitz, Professor of Musicology at the Herb Alpert School of Music, UCLA. Her lecture will be entitled 'Free Speech and Academic Freedom', and its full abstract can be found in the conference programme.
  • The Edward Dent medal award lecture will be delivered in the Concert Hall of the Royal Northern College of Music on Thursday 12 September by the 2018 award winner, Prof. Inga Mai Groote, Professor of Musicology at the Musikwissenschaftliches Institut in the University of Zurich. Her lecture will be entitled 'Materialities of Musical Knowledge', and its full abstract can be found in the conference programme.

The conference will also afford excellent opportunities for research networking for both established and junior scholars, and delegates will also be offered opportunities to attend a number of events celebrating the diverse musical cultures of the city of Manchester.

For full details, including a downloadable version of the schedule, see our Programme page.


Early Bird registration (for RMA members only) closed on Friday 2 August 2019, which was the registration deadline for all delegates giving papers. Standard registration will remain open until 2 September and late registration will run from 3–10 September.

Full details of the online registration process, including registration fees, can be found on the Registration page.

Venues and facilities

The joint hosting of the conference by The University of Manchester and RNCM enables us to make full use of the wide-ranging facilities at both the College and the University's Martin Harris Centre for Music and Drama, which are located just 300 yards from one another.

In order to allow delegates full access to all parallel sessions, the venues will be used in alternation rather than simultaneously. Morning sessions take place in one venue, and afternoon in the other; lunch will be hosted in the foyer of the RNCM on each day and the registration hub, poster presentations and publishers' displays will also be located here.

Full details of the two venues and the facilities that will be available to delegates in each of the conference rooms are given on the Venues and facilities page.


Full information and advice on national and international travel to Manchester is available from our Travel page.


We have negotiated special discounted rates for bookings at a range of city hotels for the duration of the conference, courtesy of Marketing Manchester Convention Bureau, which is the official accommodation booking provider for the conference. For full details and online booking see our Accommodation page.

Food and drink

Tea, coffee and light refreshments will be provided in mid-morning and afternoon breaks as part of the delegates' registration package. A buffet lunch will be available on each day of the conference for those delegates who opt to include it in their registration package, at an additional charge.

The conference dinner will take place at the RNCM following the Dent Medal lecture on Thursday 12 September. Please note that registration for the dinner has now reached full capacity so we are unable to take further bookings. For full details of food and drink options available to delegates, as well as suggestions for those wishing to explore the huge range of options for eating in the city, see our Food and drink page.


Manchester's vibrant and diverse musical culture will be celebrated throughout the conference via a range of planned events available to conference delegates via the registration process.

These will include a musical wellbeing event - Feel-good Singing - on the evening of Wednesday 11 September, free concerts at lunchtime and in the evening on Thursday 12 September, as well as the opportunity to attend a rehearsal of the BBC Philharmonic and tour their studios at MediaCity, and an interactive Manchester sonic walk around the environs of the conference.

There are also two training sessions for postgraduate students incorporated into the programme. Full details are available from our Events page.

Routledge special offers for RMA conference delegates

Between 19 August and 16 September 2019, Routledge is delighted to offer RMA conference delegates free online access to read 10 music books as well as the chance to enter a prize draw to win £150 worth of Routledge books of your choice.

You will get FREE access to the following 10 books:

  1. The Routledge Companion to Screen Music and Sound
  2. Studies in Historical Improvisation
  3. Routledge Companion to Sounding Art
  4. Singing and Wellbeing
  5. Companion to Music Cognition
  6. Music in the Baroque World
  7. Cultural Histories of Noise
  8. Composing for the State
  9. Music and Mourning
  10. Morality and Viennese Opera in the Age of Mozart and Beethoven

To get your FREE access voucher and enter the prize draw, click here.

Programme committee

  • Prof Barbara Kelly (RNCM; co-convenor)
  • Prof Rebecca Herissone (University of Manchester; co-convenor)
  • Dr Warwick Edwards (RMA)
  • Dr Michelle Assay (RMA)
  • Dr Chloe Zadeh (University of Manchester)
  • Dr David Horne (RNCM)
  • Dr Lauren Redhead (Goldsmiths, University of London)