Carrie Churnside

Senior Lecturer in Music & Research Degrees Coordinator

Birmingham Conservatoire

Carrie Churnside is a Senior Lecturer in Music and Research Degrees Coordinator.

She specialises in Italian Baroque music, particularly the genre of the cantata.

After graduating from the University of Birmingham with a BA (Hons, First Class) in English and Music in 2002, she went on to complete an MPhil on cantatas by Giovanni Paolo Colonna ('Colonna's Cantatas for the Medici: A Study of GB-Lbm Add. MS 27931') and a PhD on Bolognese volumes of cantate morali e spirituali ('A Study of Sacred Cantatas Printed in Bologna 1659-1717').

Prior to joining the staff of the Conservatoire in 2010 she held a Rome Fellowship at the British School at Rome (2008-9), studying Roman seventeenth-century sacred cantatas.

Carrie's research centres on Italian seventeenth-century vocal music, in particular the relationship between text and music, and its performance context. She has presented at various international conferences throughout Europe. Recent work includes studies of the relationship between composer and librettist in early eighteenth-century oratorio, propaganda cantatas that discuss the Ottoman conflict, and music printing and publishing in Bologna at the beginning of the eighteenth century. She is also a member of the Council of the Handel Institute.

Current projects include a chapter on musical discourse in Italy 1500-1800 for The Cambridge History of Music Criticism and a study of musical patronage in Bologna c. 1700, based on newly discovered documents in the Albergati archive. She is also working on a critical edition of cantatas by Giovanni Paolo Colonna.

She teaches on a number of modules for both undergraduate and postgraduate courses, on subjects including performance practice, Italian Baroque music, women and music, and music and philosophy, as well as supervising research students.

Current Activity

Senior Lecturer - BMus, MMus, PGDip, PGCert (as well as supervising research students)

  • 'Musical Discourse in Italy, 1500-1800'. Chapter in The Cambridge History of Music Criticism. In preparation.
  • Study of the composer Count Pirro Albergati's role as patron and opera impresario in Bologna c.1700
  • Critical edition of cantatas by Giovanni Paolo Colonna.
Areas of Expertise
  • Italian Baroque music
  • The Italian cantata and oratorio
  • Music printing and publishing in the 17th and early 18th centuries
  • Relationships between text and music
  • PhD (2008) and MPhil (2004) in Music (University of Birmingham)
  • BA (Hons) (First class) English and Music (2002), University of Birmingham 
  • PGCert in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (2011), Birmingham City University

Carrie is module co-ordinator for:

  • Performance Traditions 1 (BMus 1)
  • Contextual Studies Project (BMus 4)
  • Music and Ideas (Postgraduate)

Carrie also teaches on the following modules:

  • History of Western Music to 1900 (BMus 1)
  • Contextual Specialisms (Women in Music; The Genesis of Genre in Baroque Italy: BMus 3)
  • Musicianship Specialisms (Understanding Baroque Song: BMus 3)
  • Performance Traditions 3 (BMus 3)
  • Performance Matters (Postgraduate)
  • Professional Portfolio (Postgraduate)
  • Advanced Editorial Techniques (Postgraduate)

Research Project (Postgraduate)

Postgraduate Supervision

Research Supervision

Carrie would like to hear from potential research/graduate students with interests in her research areas.

Completed research
  • Embodied Knowledge:
The Case of Ensemble Performance
  • Gaspar Cassadó’s Cello Arrangements and Performance Style
Current research
  • The Masses of Francesco Foggia (1604-1688) (Director of Studies)
  • Music-making in Country Houses of the English Midlands, 1750-1830
  • Finding the Composer's Voice: The Creation of a Personal Musical Language
  • Anubis: A Triptych of Orchestral Pieces
  • Metta Vee: Studies in Polystylistic Musical Composition
  • New Tonal: Musical Composition Exploiting and Developing the Alternative Functional Harmony of the Bohlen-Pierce Scale

'"Guerra,guerra,all'armi o guerrieri!": Depictions of the Ottoman Conflict in Bolognese Cantatas.' Journal of Seventeenth-Century Music 20 (2014) (forthcoming)

'S'oda in Ciel sempr'ecchegiare: "Viva pur Felsina viva!"': Patriotism in Bolognese Oratorios' in Dramma scolastico ed oratorio nell'età barocca. Atti del convegno di Reggio Calabria, ottobre 2012, ed. Nicolò Maccavino (forthcoming)

'Text-Music Relations in the Early Settecento: The Case of Il Trionfo della Carità', Ars Lyrica 21 (2012), 1-16.

'Music printing in early eighteenth-century Bologna: the case of Giuseppe Antonio Silvani and Pirro Albergati (1716-1717)', Fonti musicali italiane 17 (2012), 105-134.

'Colonna's Cantatas for Modena and Florence: Art and Music Combined' in La cantata da camera intorno agli anni italiani di Händel: problemi e prospettive di ricerca, ed. Teresa M. Gialdroni (Rome: Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, 2009), 129-152, viii (2006)

'Images of Crying in Bolognese Sacred Cantatas: The Jesuit Influence', British Postgraduate Musicology


'A Wealth of Cantatas', Early Music 42 (2014) (forthcoming).

Review of Rosanna Scalfi Marcello, Twelve Cantatas for Alto Voice and Basso Continuo, ed. Deborah Haynes and John Glenn Paton, Eighteenth-Century Music 10 (2013), pp. 299-301.

Review of concert performance of Agostino Steffani's Orlando generoso at the Barber Institute (September 2012) in 17th-Century Music, Newsletter of the SSCM, Spring 2013.

Review of Tomaso Giovanni Albinoni, The Cantatas for Soprano and Basso Continuo in the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin, ed. Michael Talbot, Eighteenth-Century Music 8 (2011), 133-5.

Review of Bolognese Instrumental Music, 1660-1710 by Gregory Barnett, Notes: Quarterly Journal of the Music Library Association 66 (2009), 301-3.

Sleeve-notes for Academia Montis Regalis's recording of Alessandro Scarlatti's Davidis pugna et Victoria (Hyperion records; October 2009).

'Seicento Naples', Early Music 37 (2009), 118-9.

'Italian Handel Conferences', The Handel Institute Newsletter 19 (2008), 5.

'Ghizzolo and Gagliano', Early Music 35 (2007), 648-649.

Conference Papers

'Reflections on Working on Italian Music Printing in the Early Eighteenth Century: The Case of Giuseppe Antonio Silvani'. Music Printing and Publishing in Early Modern Italy: New Approaches. Venice, February 2014 [invited paper].

'"O Reno, o Reno, o fortunato fiume": Patriotism in Early Settecento Bolognese Oratorios. Dramma scolastico ed oratorio nell'età barocca. Reggio Calabria, October 2012.

'Musical Patronage in Bologna at the Turn of the Eighteenth Century: Papers from the Albergati Archive'. Fifteenth Biennial Conference on Baroque Music, Southampton, July 2012.

'Text-Music Relations in Early Settecento Oratorio: The Case of Il trionfo della carità'. Eighteenth annual conference of the Società Italiana di Musicologia, Genoa, October 2011.

'The war in words: the Ottoman conflict depicted in Bolognese cantatas'. Fourteenth Biennial International Conference on Baroque Music, Belfast, July 2010.

(with Giulia Giovani) 'The Bolognese music printing firm of Silvani as revealed by archival documents'. European Sacred Music 1500-1800: New Approaches, Fribourg, Switzerland, June 2010.

'"Che Roma viva de' sensi priva è vano pensier": The Seventeenth-Century Sacred Cantata in the Papal States'. Public lecture delivered at the British School at Rome, June 2009.

'Colonna's Cantatas for Florence and Modena: Art and Music Combined', RMA Annual Conference, Aberdeen July 2008; Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia's conference 'La cantata negli anni italiani di Händel', Rome, October 2007.

'A Poetic Approach to Bolognese Sacred Cantatas'. Thirteenth Biennial International Conference on Baroque Music, Leeds, July 2008.


'A Study of Sacred Cantatas Printed in Bologna (1659-1717)' (PhD, Birmingham, 2008)

'Colonna's Cantatas for the Medici: A Study of GB-Lbm Add. MS 27931' (MPhil, Birmingham, 2004).