Christopher Dingle

Professor of Music/Co-ordinator, Research Degrees

Birmingham Conservatoire
Email:
christopher.dingle@bcu.ac.uk
Phone:
+44 (0)121 331 5901
Biography
Extra Mile Nominee

Category:
Researcher of the Year

More about Extra Mile

Christopher Dingle is Professor of Music and Research Degrees Co-ordinator. He is a specialist in French Music, notably Messiaen, and the history and practice of music criticism. Messiaen’s Un oiseau des arbres de Vie (orchestration realized by Dingle), received its world premiere at the 2015 BBC Proms. His next Messiaen project will be an exploration of the oratorio La Transfiguration de Notre-Seigneur Jésus-Christ drawing on previously unseen sketch material.

Dingle is editor of The Cambridge History of Music Criticism and a book of conversations with Julian Anderson is in preparation. He has supervised a number of research degrees to successful completion and Chris would like to hear from potential research/graduate students with interests that relate to his research areas.

Chris is author of Messiaen’s Final Works (Ashgate, 2013) and the acclaimed biography The Life of Messiaen (Cambridge University Press, 2007). He is also co-editor of Messiaen Perspectives 1: Sources and Influences and Messiaen Perspectives 2: Techniques, Influence and Reception (both Ashgate, 2013) as well as the earlier collection Olivier Messiaen: Music, Art and Literature. He was the organiser of the Messiaen 2008 Centenary Conference hosted by Birmingham Conservatoire in June 2008, having previously conceived and organised the Messiaen 2002 International Conference in Sheffield. His research has been funded on several occasions by The British Academy.

He has given numerous talks in the UK and abroad, such as at The Proms, the RNCM, the RAM, the South Bank, King’s Place, on BBC Radio 3 and at the Greenbelt Festival. He is a member of the review panel for BBC Music Magazine, has broadcast for BBC Radio 3, and written for Music and Letters, Tempo, MLA Notes, The Guardian, The Independent, The Herald, The Tablet and Organists’ Review. He was a member of the jury for the BBC Music Magazine Awards in 2011 and 2008, and was one of the contributors to 1001 Classical Recordings you must hear before your die, Matthew Rye (ed.), Quarto Press (2007). He has provided programme notes for major record companies, such as EMI and Naxos, and for numerous orchestras and organizations including the Aldeburgh Festival, BBCSO, BBC Singers, BBC Music Magazine, London Symphony Orchestra, the Philharmonia, the Proms and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra.

Originally from Ilford, prior to joining the Conservatoire Chris was a British Academy Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Sheffield, having previously been Associate Senior Lecturer and Course Leader in Music at the University of Northumbria at Newcastle. His graduate and postdoctoral research was all funded by the British Academy. In 1994 he was awarded ‘The Chancellor’s Medal’ for his research into Messiaen and his contribution to the musical life of the University of Sheffield. He is also a keen performer, appearing as conductor, percussionist, pianist and bass guitarist, while it is rumoured that he is also a lapsed oboist.

Current Activity
Areas of Expertise
  • Olivier Messiaen
  • Music Criticism/Journalism
  • 19th and 20th Century French Music
  • Early Recordings
Qualifications

PhD, 2000, Sheffield
MPhil, 1994, Sheffield
BMus (Hons), 1993, Sheffield

Teaching

Chris is module co-ordinator for:

  • Case Studies (BMus2)
  • Contextual Studies Specialisms (BMus3)
  • Further Specialisms (BMus4)
  • Musicological Specialisms (PG)
  • Advanced Music Criticism (PG)
  • Conservatoire Research Training (PGR)

Chris also teaches on the following modules:

  • Performance Traditions 1 (BMus1)
  • Performance Traditions 3 (BMus3)
  • Historical Performance Practice (PG)
Research
Postgraduate Supervision

Research Supervision

Chris would like to hear from potential research/graduate students with interests in his research areas.

Completed

  • Carl Dolmetsch’s Wigmore Hall Commissions
  • Dupré’s Organ Music
  • The Creative Embodiment of Music: practised-based investigations into staged and embodied interpretations of instrumental music
  • Gaspar Cassadó’s Cello Arrangements and Performance Style
  • Somatic Education and Piano Performance

Current

  • Composition as a journey: towards a synthesis between linear techniques of British composers and spatial representations of American composers
  • A Compositional Fusion between Chinese Folk and Western Art Music
  • A Compositional Reconciliation of Experimental Practice and Post-Tonal Structure in Concertante Works
  • Comprovisation/Imprositions: Musical Compositions and Improvisations that Explore Controlled and Uncontrolled Environments and Differing Approaches to their Integration (Director of Studies)
  • Confronting a crisis of discourse: Stylistic diversity and artistic collaborations in 21st century music composition
  • A duende approach to composition
  • English Organ Improvisation in the 20th and 21st Century
  • George Russell and Jimmy Giuffre: Concepts of Tonal Organization as Creative Tools for the Contemporary Jazz Composer and Arranger (Director of Studies)
  • Graphic Score Interpretation:  Exploring the Effect of Graphic Notation on Performance Practice and the Act of Performance
  • Poetry and Metre in Fauré’s Mélodies (Director of Studies)
Publications

Scores

Messiaen, Un oiseau des arbres de Vie (Oiseau Tui), orchestration realized by Christopher Dingle, critical edition (Alphonse Leduc & Cie, forthcoming)

Books

Messiaen’s Final Works  (Farnham: Ashgate, 2013).

Christopher Dingle and Robert Fallon (eds), Messiaen Perspectives 1: Sources and Influences  (Farnham: Ashgate, 2013).

Christopher Dingle and Robert Fallon (eds), Messiaen Perspectives 2: Techniques, Influence and Reception  (Farnham: Ashgate, 2013).

The Life of Messiaen (Cambridge University Press, 2007). [Hardback and Paperback].

Christopher Dingle and Nigel Simeone (eds), Olivier Messiaen: Music, Art and Literature (Aldershot: Ashgate,

Book Chapters

‘Commission and Omission: the Canon according to Messiaen’ in Deborah Mawer (ed.), Historical Interplay in French Music and Culture, (Ashgate, forthcoming).

‘Comparing Notes: The Impact of Recording on Criticism’ in Dingle (ed.), The Cambridge History of Music Criticism (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming).

‘Wider still and wider: British Music Criticism since WWII’ in Dingle (ed.), The Cambridge History of Music Criticism (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming).

Christopher Dingle and Dominic McHugh‘From Feuilletons to Facebook: Changing Media for Criticism’ in Dingle (ed.), The Cambridge History of Music Criticism (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming).

‘Messiaen as pianist: a Romantic in a Modernist world’ in Scott McCarrey and Lesley Wright (eds), Perspectives on the Performance of French Piano Music  (Farnham: Ashgate, 2014) pp. 29-50.

‘Players and pianos: an overview of early recorded resources for the French piano repertoire’ in Scott McCarrey and Lesley Wright (eds), Perspectives on the Performance of French Piano Music  (Farnham: Ashgate, 2014), pp. 125-49.

‘A Love without Influence? Messiaen and Mozart’ in Messiaen Perspectives 1: Sources and Influences, Dingle and Fallon (eds), (Farnham: Ashgate, 2013), pp. 217–33.

‘Yvonne Loriod: Source and Influence’ in Messiaen Perspectives 1: Sources and Influences, Dingle and Fallon (eds), (Farnham: Ashgate, 2013), pp. 197–210.

‘Messiaen’s Sacred Machines: Mechanical Procedures in Messiaen’s Music’ in Messiaen Perspectives 2: Techniques, Influence and Reception, Dingle and Fallon (eds), (Farnham: Ashgate, 2013), pp. 13–32.

‘Discography of Commercial Recordings by Yvonne Loriod’ in Messiaen Perspectives 1: Sources and Influences, Dingle and Fallon (eds), (Farnham: Ashgate, 2013), pp. 323–38.

Christopher Dingle and Robert Fallon, ‘A Critical Catalogue of Messiaen’s Music, Writings, and Recordings’ in Messiaen Perspective 2: Techniques, Influence and Reception, Dingle and Fallon (eds), (Farnham: Ashgate, 2013), pp. 363–406.

‘Frescoes and Legends: the sources and background to Saint François d’Assise’ in Olivier Messiaen: Music, Art and Literature, Christopher Dingle and Nigel Simeone (eds), (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2007), pp. 301–322.

1995: ‘Catalogue of works and Discography’ in The Messiaen Companion, Peter Hill (ed.), London: Faber, pp. 536–65.

Journal Articles

Dingle, Christopher and Laura Hamer. 'False Memories and Dissonant Truths: Digital Newspaper Archives as a Catalyst for a New Approach to Music Reception Studies'. In: Clare Mills, Michael Pidd and Esther Ward. Proceedings of the Digital Humanities Congress 2012. Studies in the Digital Humanities. Sheffield: HRI Online Publications, 2014. 

‘Forgotten offerings: Messiaen’s first orchestral works’ Tempo, 241 (July 2007), pp. 2–21.

‘La statue reste sur son piédestal: Messiaen’s La Transfiguration and Vatican II’. Tempo, 212 (April 2000), pp. 8–11.

‘Charm and Simplicity - the works of Olivier Messiaen's final years'. Tempo, 192 (April 1995), pp. 2–7.

Theses

Understated charm: style and technique in the last works of Olivier Messiaen, 2 volumes (PhD; Sheffield, February 2000).

Mystery and light: Olivier Messiaen's La Transfiguration de Notre-Seigneur, Jésus-Christ , 2 volumes (MPhil; Sheffield, September 1994).

Journal Reviews

The Vocal Score for Messiaen’s Saint François d’Assise’, MLA Notes 70/2 (December 2013), 332-336.

‘Messiaen’s Contemplations of Covenant and Incarnation: Musical Symbols of Faith in the Two Great Piano Cycles of the 1940s. By Siglind Bruhn; Messiaen’s Explorations of Love and Death: Musical Signification in the ‘‘Tristan Trilogy’’ and Three Related Song Cycles. By Siglind Bruhn; Messiaen’s Interpretations of Holiness and Trinity: Echoes of Medieval Theology in the Oratorio, Organ Meditations and Opera. By Siglind Bruhn’ in Music and Letters 91 (3) (August, 2010), 457-62.

‘Messiaen Studies edited by Robert Scholl; Olivier Messiaen: A Research and Information Guide by Vincent P. Benitez’, in Tempo, 246 (October 2008), 70-72.

‘Peter Hill & Nigel Simeone: Olivier Messiaen: Oiseaux exotiques’, in Tempo no.243 (January 2008), 65-70.

‘Ravel: Analyses des Œuvres pour Piano de Maurice Ravel [in French] by Olivier Messiaen and Yvonne Loriod-Messiaen. Durand (United Music Publishers); Technique of my Musical Language by Olivier Messiaen, English translation by John Satterfield, Alphonse Leduc (United Music Publishers).’ in Tempo, 231 (January 2005), 61-2.

Traité de rythme, de couleur, et d’ornithologie (1949–92), Tome V, volumes 1 & 2, Tome VI & Tome VII by Olivier Messiaen’, Tempo, 227 (January 2004), 41-45.

Traité de rythme, de couleur, et d’ornithologie, Tome IV by Olivier Messiaen (book); Le tombeau de Paul Dukas for piano solo, doigtés et révision de Yvonne Loriod-Messiaen (score)’, Tempo, 205 (July 1998), 26-27.

‘Jean Barraqué: Debussy’, Tempo, 202 (October 1997), 22-3.

Traité de rythme, de couleur, et d’ornithologie (1949–1992), Tomes II & III by Olivier Messiaen; La Classe de Messiaen by Jean Boivin (books)’, Tempo, 202 (October 1997), 25-26.

‘Messiaen: Turangalîla-Symphonie (study score) / La Ville d’En-Haut (full score) / Un Sourire (full score)’, Musical Times (August 1995), 432.

‘Boulez in Webern and Ligeti’ - review of Deutsche Grammophon discs 437 786-2 and 439 808-2, Tempo, 194 (October 1995), 57-58.

Traité de rythme, de couleur, et d’ornithologie (1949–1992), Tome I, by Olivier Messiaen (book); Music and color (book); complete organ works (CD – Gillian Weir); La Nativité, etc. (CD – Olivier Messiaen)’, Tempo, 192 (April 1995), 20-32.

Invited Papers

‘Prophets of Doom (and the Doom of Profit): The End of British Music Criticism’s Golden Age?’ – keynote paper, Théories et Conceptions de la critique musicale au xxe siècle, Université libre de Bruxelles, October 2015.

‘Messiaen, Truth and Reality’ – Messiaen’s World and the Vingt Regards, King’s College, London.

‘Truth, Reality and Messiaen’s Transfiguration of Nature’ – keynote speech, Environs Messiaen, Cornell University, March 2015.

‘False Memories and Dissonant Truths: In Search of Music Criticism’s Golden Age’, Music Seminar Series, Kingston University, November 2014.

‘On Messiaen, Late Style and Edward Said’, Music Seminar Series, Bangor University, March 2013.

‘Prophets of doom and the doom of profit: Music Criticism in the 21st Century’, - SMA Study Day on Performance Criticism, IMR, London, December 2009.

‘Not nice, but truthful: faith and the faithful in Messiaen’s music’ – keynote speech, Messiaen Symposium, Stavanger, November 2008.

‘Messiaen’s Late Organ Music’, co-presentation with David Titterington, Research Forum, Royal Academy of Music, October 2008.

Participation in round table – Symposium: Interpreting Messiaen's Piano Music, Royal Academy of Music, October 2008.

Participation in round table – Messiaen Weekend, Royal Northern College of Music, May 2008.

Other Conference Papers

‘Les Maîtres de son Voix: Messiaen’s Voice(s) in the 1930s’, Music, Intertextuality, & Inter-Art Forms in Third Republic France: Remembering Paul Dukas at 150 Conference, Maynooth, July 2015

‘From the Cahiers to the Scores: Charting Messiaen’s Thoughts for Des Canyons aux étoiles…’ – paper given as part of themed session ‘Glimpses of the Maître’s Workbench: New Research on Messiaen’s Sources’ (also convenor and chair), RMA Annual Conference, IMR, London, September 2013.

‘Commission and Omission: the Canon according to Messiaen’ – paper given as part of plenary themed session ‘Messiaen, Formation and the Canon’ (also convenor and chair), Music Since 1900 Conference, Liverpool Hope, September 2013.

Christopher Dingle and Laura Hamer, ‘The Puccini Paradox: Critics, Unpopular Prejudice and the Populist Canon’ – Royal Musical Association ‘Love to Death: Transforming Opera’ Conference, Cardiff, May-June 2012.

‘After Messiaen’s Late Style’ – Royal Musical Association ‘Love to Death: Transforming Opera’ Conference, Cardiff, May-June 2012.

Christopher Dingle and Laura Hamer, ‘A Varied and Diverse Landscape: Criticism of New Music at The Times Pre- and Post- the Appointment of Glock’ - New Music in Britain Conference, Canterbury, May 2012.

Christopher Dingle and Laura Hamer, 'Ambassadors, Battlelines and the Progressive Canon: the evolving reception of New Music in The Times since World War Two', – Seventh International Conference on Music Since 1900, Lancaster, July 2011.

Christopher Dingle and Laura Hamer, ‘Evolutions and Revolutions: A New Methodology for the Application of Digital Resources to Music Criticism’, – RMA ‘Horizons’ Conference, Sussex, July 2011.

‘Éclairs sur l’Au-Delà…: Messiaen’s music after his final work’, – Colloque International: Le grand âge et ses œuvres ultimes, Université de Poitiers – GERHICO, December 2009.

‘Messiaen as pianist: a Romantic in a modernist world’, – Symposium: Interpreting Messiaen's Piano Music, Royal Academy of Music, October 2008.

‘A love without influence? Messiaen and Mozart’ – Messiaen 2008 International Centenary Conference, Birmingham Conservatoire, June 2008.

‘Recording Messiaen: a Romantic in a modernist world’ – French Analysis and Performance, BYU Hawaii, November 2007.

‘Recording Messiaen: a Romantic in a modernist world’ - CHARM/RMA conference, Royal Holloway, September 2007.

‘Symbols, Tam Tams and Wisdom: The Influence of Vatican II and Transcendence in Messiaen‘s La Transfiguration de Notre-Seigneur, Jésus-Christ’ – FMCS Meeting 2007, Yale, March 2007.

‘The Mysterious Workings of Liberty: Mechanical Procedures in Messiaen’s Natural and Theological Works’ – Fourth Biennial International Conference on Twentieth-Century Music, Sussex, August 2005.

‘Natural selection: understanding the distribution of material in Messiaen’s birdsong choruses’ – Third Biennial International Conference on Twentieth-Century Music, Nottingham, June 2003.

‘Mystery and Light: Faith and the Faithful in La Transfiguration’ – Messiaen 2002 International Conference, Sheffield University, June 2002.

‘Harmonic Transfiguration: The Evolution of Messiaen’s Approach to Tonality, Colour and Self-analysis’ – Second Biennial International Conference on Twentieth-Century Music, Goldsmiths, June 2001.

‘Illuminating Lightning Flashes: Motivic Development and Harmonic Structure in Late Messiaen’ – Form and Forming in Music conference, Anglia Polytechnic University, April 2000.

‘The Simple, the Complex and the Superfluous in Olivier Messiaen’s La Transfiguration de Notre-Seigneur Jésus-Christ’ – Royal Musical Association research conference, Southampton University, January 1998.

‘The problem with Messiaen: A Reflection upon Inconspicuous Interpretational and Analytical Difficulties in the Music of Olivier Messiaen’ – Towards the Millenium conference, Cardiff University, March 1996.

‘Charm and Simplicity: Messiaen’s Last Decade’ – RMA research conference, Manchester University, December 1994.

‘Light and Transcendence: An introduction to Olivier Messiaen’s La Transfiguration de Notre-Seigneur Jésus-Christ’ – Royal Musical Association Northern Chapter meeting, Edinburgh University, December, 1994.

Saint François d’Assise: The Spirit of Messiaen’s Opera’ – Royal Musical Association research conference, Hull University, December, 1993.

Selected Journalism

Reviews of recordings every month for BBC Music Magazine since 1994 (c.750 in total)

‘Building a Library: Debussy Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune’, BBC Music Magazine (May 2014).

‘Debussy’s Jeux’, BBC Music Magazine (February 2011).

‘Olivier Messiaen’ – composer of the month article in BBC Music Magazine (February 2011).

‘Olivier Messiaen’, in The Great Composers, BBC Music Magazine publication, 2010.

‘All Creatures Great and Small’, BBC Music Magazine (July 2009), pp.30-33.

‘Studying the Maître’, Organists’ Review (November 2008), 29-33.

‘Messiaen Centenary Article’, BBC Music Magazine (November 2008).

‘Sin isn’t interesting, I prefer flowers’, The Guardian (29 August 2008), Film & Music, p.17.

25 entries (Lili Boulanger, Messiaen and Stravinsky) in 1001 Classical Recordings You Must Hear Before You Die, Matthew Rye (ed.) (Cassell, 2007).

‘More than an outsider: Messiaen’s Saint François d’Assise in Paris’, The Tablet (23 October 2004).

‘Henri Dutilleux’ – composer of the month article in BBC Music Magazine (April 2004).

‘Flashes of eternity in an Indian summer’ - article on Messiaen’s Éclairs sur l’au-delà… in The Independent (10 March 2000), Friday Review, p.15.

‘Homage to the master of birdsong: Messiaen Birthday Concert, CBSO Centre’ in The Independent (16 December 1998), Wednesday Review, p.10.

‘Olivier Messiaen’ - composer of the month article in BBC Music Magazine (December 1998).

‘The hope that can conquer cynicism’ - article on Messiaen’s Éclairs sur l’au-delà… in The Herald (14 October 1998).

‘This one goes out to God’ - article on Messiaen’s La Transfiguration in The Independent (25 September 1998).

‘An instrument for Messiaenic devotion’ - article in The Independent (8 May 1998).

‘Stravinsky’s Œdipus Rex’ - review of new production at the Châtelet, Paris in The Independent (18 November 1996).

‘What is perfection in a Performance?’ - article in BBC Music Magazine (August 1995), pp. 30-1.

‘Not of the next world, but of this’ - article on the rediscovery of Olivier Messiaen’s Chant des déportés in The Independent (17 March 1995).

Reviews of the 1994 Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival in The Independent (22 November, 23 November and 02 December 1994).

‘Olivier Messiaen: Concert à 4’ - review article of the posthumous world première at the Bastille, Paris, in The Independent (30 September 1994).

Media Work

Chris is on the review panel for BBC Music Magazine and broadcasts on BBC Radio 3.