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Dr Ross Cole

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Research Fellow
Faculty of Music
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Year Joined Homerton: 

Focusing on the 20th and 21st-centuries, my research crosses established boundaries between vernacular and avant-garde musical cultures. In particular, I have published on early minimalism in the US (focusing on Steve Reich), the BBC radio ballads, transatlantic blues revivalism, and the songs of Nick Cave.

I completed an AHRC-funded PhD entitled ‘Ballads, Blues, and Alterity’ at the University of Cambridge in 2015, supervised by Nicholas Cook. I also hold an MRes in American experimentalism from the University of York, a Bachelor's degree in music from the University of Oxford (where I received a Gibbs Prize for the highest overall mark), and an LRSM in saxophone performance.

Prior to my current position as a Research Fellow at Homerton, I held a Temporary Lectureship in the Faculty of Music at Cambridge, where I offered courses at both undergraduate and MPhil level including ‘Popular Music of the Black Atlantic’ and ‘Musical Countercultures of the 1960s’. I was awarded the Faculty of Music’s Teaching Prize in 2016.

Research Interests: 

20th & 21st-century music, 1960s culture, minimalism, blues, experimental music, critical theory and song.


‘“Here Come the Judgement Train”: Nick Cave, the Bad Seeds, and the Blues.’ In Zuleika Beaven et al. (ed.), 40 Years of Mute Records. London: Bloomsbury, forthcoming.

‘Performing Alterity: Mastery and Masquerade in the Transatlantic Blues Revival.’ Journal of the Royal Musical Association, forthcoming.

‘Marxist Balladry, Mass Culture, and the Politics of Realism in Cold War Britain.’ Journal of Musicology, forthcoming.

‘Review of Popular Music Matters: Essays in Honour of Simon Frith edited by Lee Marshall & Dave Laing.’ Music & Letters, forthcoming.

‘Review of Pioneers of the Blues Revival by Steve Cushing.’ Music & Letters, 96/4 (2015): 679–81.

‘“Sound Effects (O.K., Music)”: Steve Reich and the Visual Arts in New York City, 1966–68.’ Twentieth-Century Music, 11/2 (2014): 217–44.

‘“Fun, Yes, but Music?” Steve Reich and the San Francisco Bay Area’s Cultural Nexus, 1962–65.’ Journal of the Society for American Music, 6/3 (2012): 315–48.

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