About

Kate Kennedy has held Research Fellowships at Girton College, Cambridge; Wolfson College, Oxford; and is the Associate Director of the Oxford Centre for Life-writing. She lectured in both Music and English at Cambridge University until 2016, and specialises in interdisciplinary biography. Her biography Dweller in Shadows: Ivor Gurney, poet, composer will be published by Princeton University Press in 2020, and she is currently working on a triple biography of Rupert Brooke and composers FS Kelly and William Denis Browne, entitled The Fateful Voyage.

She has published widely on British composers and writers in the early twentieth century, co-editing The Silent Morning: Culture and Memory after the Armistice (Manchester University Press, 2013), The First World War: Literature, Music, Memory (Routledge, 2011) and contributing numerous chapters for books and journal articles.  She is the editor of Literary Britten, a compendium of scholarship on Benjamin Britten’s use of text, to be published by Boydell and Brewer in 2017.

Both her biographies have been featured on BBC Radio 3, and she is a regular broadcaster and academic consultant to the BBC, directing the commemorations for the First World War and for International Women’s Day for Radio 3, among other projects. She is particularly interested in developing biographical research as performance, her opera libretto Out of the Ruins was a Royal Opera House commission in 2014, and her dramatized recitals for singer, pianist and actor have been performed in Literary and Music Festivals across the UK, and commissioned by the Wigmore Hall and Southbank Centre.

Other publications include: The silent morning: culture, memory and the armistice, 1918 (Manchester University Press, 2013). The First World War: literature, music, memory (The Journal of First World War Studies, Routledge), The Cambridge Companion to Women Composers (CUP, forthcoming); Literary Britten: Words and Music in Benjamin Britten’s Vocal Works.

Kate is interested in developing the concept of the recital, experimenting with blending biography and archival research with elements taken from the theatre and the concert platform. Her dramatized recitals The Fateful Voyage, A Music of One’s Own, The Dark Pastoral, Literary Britten and To His Love are performed regularly throughout the UK by leading actors and singers including Fiona Shaw, Sarah Connolly and Simon Russell Beale. The Dark Pastoral has also been recorded as a CD (Altara Records).

She writes for BBC Music Magazine, and gives talks at literary and music festivals around the country, and at venues such as the Wigmore Hall, the Royal Albert Hall and the Southbank Centre, and is a regular guest on BBC Radio 3, on programmes such as Essential Classics, Composer of the Week, Music Matters, and the Proms Plus series. She is the consultant to Radio 3 for their First World War programming, and has appeared on BBC 2 and 4 television.

Kate Kennedy
Kate Kennedy