Chris Mark

Dr Christopher Mark

BMus (Music) Programme Leader
BA (Hons), PhD
+44 (0)1483 686534
45 PA 01



I am a graduate of the University of Southampton (1979), where I stayed to write a PhD on the early music of Britten under the supervision of Peter Evans (1989, published as Early Benjamin Britten in 1995). While still working on it I moved to Australia and taught at the University of Melbourne and the Australian Catholic University before coming back to the UK to take up a post at Surrey in 1995. I was editor-in-chief of the journal twentieth-century music (Cambridge University Press), which I co-founded with Allan Moore, from 2004-09, and was founder of the Biennial International Conference on Twentieth-Century Music (now renamed Biennial International Conference on Music Since 1900), which held its inaugural meeting at Surrey in 1999 and will return to Surrey in 2017.

Research interests

My main area of specialisation is English music of the twentieth century. While I have also written a biography (of Britten, for his centenary year, 2013) my usual approach is analytical, drawing on various methodologies in the service of what I hope will be the listener's enhanced experience and critical apprehension of the music under examination. As well as two books on Britten I have published a monograph on the Anglo-Australian composer Roger Smalley and book chapters and articles on Britten, Tippett, Vaughan Williams, and Elgar.

My main current project is melancholy in post-1900 English music.


FHEQ Level 4: Harmony; Topic Study 1A (Beethoven's Ninth Symphony)FHEQ Level 5: Classical StudiesFHEQ Level 6: English Music from Elgar to Britten; Dissertation

MMus: various modules on the Musicology pathway.

My publications



Early Benjamin Britten: A Study of Stylistic and Technical Evolution (New York: Garland, 1995).

Roger Smalley: A Case Study of Late-20th-Century Composition (Farnham: Ashgate, 2012).

Britten: An Extraordinary Life (London: Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music, forthcoming, 2013).

Chapters in Books

'Rigorous Contemplation of Essentials: Material and Structure in the Concerto for Piano and Orchestra' in Poles Apart: The Music of Roger Smalley (Perth: Evos and CIRCME, 1994), pp. 45-58.

'Tippett, Sequence and Metaphor' in David Clarke, ed., Tippett Studies (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999), pp. 95- 116.

'Juvenilia: 1923-33' in Mervyn Cooke, ed., The Cambridge Companion to Benjamin Britten (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999), pp. 11-35.

'Later orchestral music (1910-1934)', in Daniel Grimley and Julian Rushton, eds, The Cambridge Companion to Elgar (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004), pp. 154-70.

'Taking the plunge: opera in England' in Mervyn Cooke, ed., The Cambridge Companion to Twentieth-Century Opera (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005), pp. 209-221.

'Constructing tonality: Smalley as (post-)modernist' in Graham Hair, ed., Modernism in Australian Music, 1950-2000: Eight Case Studies (Canberra: Southern Voices, 2004), pp. 113-31.

'Elgar and the Idyllic: “By the Wayside” and other perspectives' in Paul Harper-Scott and Julian Rushton, eds, Elgar Studies (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007), pp. 78-98.

'Supported by Tradition: Sonority, Form, and Transcendence in Britten's String Quartets' in Evan Jones, ed., Intimate Voices: Aspects of Construction and Character in the Twentieth-Century String Quartet (Rochester: University of Rochester Press, 2009), pp. 41-74.

'An excess of less? Critiquing Britten's late song cycles' in Philip Rupprecht, ed., Rethinking Britten (New York: Oxford University Press, 2013), pp. 209-36

'Tippett and the English traditions', in Kenneth Gloag and Nicholas Jones, eds, The Cambridge Companion to Tippett (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013), pp. 25-47

'Chamber Music and Concertos', in Alain Frogley and Aidan Thomson, eds, The Cambridge Companion to Vaughan Williams (forthcoming, 2013).


'Britten's Quatre Chansons Françaises', Soundings 10 (Summer 1983), pp. 23-35.

'Simplicity in Early Britten', Tempo 147, December 1983, pp .8-14.

'Contextually Transformed Tonality in Britten', Music Analysis, 4/3 (October 1985), pp. 265-87.

'Symmetry and Dynamism in Bartók', Tempo 183 (December 1992), pp .2-5.

'Britten and the Circle of Fifths', Journal of the Royal Musical Association vol. 119 no. 2 (1994), pp. 268-97.


'Roger Smalley's Writings', in Poles Apart: the Music of Roger Smalley (Perth: Evos and CIRCME, 1994), pp. 119-23.


David Clarke, Language, Form and Structure in the Music of Michael Tippett in Music Analysis, 10/1-2, March 1991, pp. 193-207.

Scores by Britten, The Musical Times, March 1991, pp. 133-4.

A recording of piano music by Britten, The Musical Times, August 1992, p. 406.

Zohar Eitan, Highpoints: A Study of Melodic Peaks in Music & Letters, 80/1 (February 1999), pp.123-5.

Mervyn Cooke, Britten and the Far East in Notes, September 2000, pp. 145-8.

Anthony Pople, Messiaen: Quator pour le fin de Temps in Music & Letters, 82/1 (February 2001), pp. 143-5.

Michael Oliver, ed., Settling the Score: A Journey through the Music of the 20th Century and Anders Byer, ed., The Voice of Music: Conversations with Composers of Our Time in Music & Letters, 84/1 (February 2003), pp .125-7.

Recording of music by Frank Bridge, Nineteenth-Century Music Review, 2 /1 (2005).

Lionel Pike, Vaughan Williams and the Symphony in Music & Letters, 88/3 (August 2007), pp. 542-5.

Alison Latham, ed. Sing Ariel: Essays and Thoughts for Alexander Goehr's Seventieth Birthday in Music & Letters, 89/3 (May 2008), pp. 287-90.

Recording of music by Leos Janacek, Nineteenth-Century Music Review, 6/2 (2009).

John Evans, ed, The Journey Boy: The Diaries of the Young Benjamin Britten 1928-1938 and Lucy Walker, ed, Benjamin Britten: New Perspectives on his Life and Work, in Music & Letters, 92/1 (February 2011), pp. 153-8.

John Bridcut, Faber Pocket Guide to Britten and Mervyn Cooke and Philip Reed, eds, Letter from a Life: The Selected Letters of Benjamin Britten vol. 5 1958-1965 (Woodbridge: Bowdell, 2010) in Music & Letters 93/1 (February 2012), pp. 96-101.