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 latest biography, Dweller in Shadows: A Life of Ivor Gurney, was published by Princeton University Press in 2021. She is currently working on an object biography of the cello, drawing on her experiences as a classically trained cellist.
She has published widely on British composers and writers in the early twentieth century. She edited Literary Britten (Boydell and Brewer, 2017) and The First World War: Literature, Music, Memory (Routledge, 2011), co-edited The Silent Morning: Culture and Memory after the Armistice (Manchester University Press, 2013), and has contributed numerous chapters for books and journal articles.
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 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 such as Songs of Suffrage, 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.
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.