Professor Simon McVeigh

Simon is a musicologist specialising in British musical life 1700-1945, violin music and performance practices.

Staff details

Professor Simon McVeigh


Emeritus Professor of Music




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Simon McVeigh is a musicologist specialising in British musical life 1700-1945, and in violin music and performance practices of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Books include Concert Life in London from Mozart to Haydn (Cambridge University Press) and The Italian Solo Concerto 1700-1760 (Boydell Press), while an edition of Arne’s oratorio Judithforms the 100th volume in the flagship series Musica Britannica.

Currently, his research centres on London concert life 1880-1914, and a book on music in Edwardian London is in preparation. A substantial article on the London Symphony Orchestra appeared in the Journal of the Royal Musical Association in 2013. He was also co-investigator on the digital concert-programme initiative, InConcert, funded through the AHRC’s Transforming Musicology project. He recently initiated a new series of Elements in Music and the City for Cambridge University Press, co-edited with Laudan Nooshin.

Following doctoral studies at Oxford University he took up a lectureship at the University of Aberdeen before joining the Music Department at Goldsmiths in 1980. He was appointed Professor of Music and Head of Department in 1997. From 2001 to 2013 he served as a member of the College’s Senior Management Team, as Pro-Warden (Research and Enterprise) and then as Deputy Warden responsible for both academic development and international strategy. Until his retirement in 2020 he was Academic Director of Research Policy, leading multi-disciplinary projects on practice research, on open access and on research integrity.

From 2018 to 2020 he was President of the Royal Musical Association. For many years he was a Strategic Reviewer for the Arts and Humanities Research Council, and he was Deputy Chair of Sub-panel 35 for the Research Excellence Framework 2014.

In addition, he is a violinist, viola-player and conductor, directing the London Mozart Players and the Hanover Band in concerts and recordings. A governor of Trinity College of Music from 1998 to 2005, and currently of the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, he was made an honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Music in 2007.

Areas of supervision

Simon McVeigh has supervised a wide range of research topics from the eighteenth to the twentieth centuries, primarily relating to British musical life and to instrumental music. He is, however, no longer able to take on supervision of new research students.

Awards, grants and media appearances

He is a frequent contributor to radio and TV, advising and appearing on the Haydn programme in the highly regarded BBC2 series ‘The Birth of British Music’, and contributing to the BBC4 series ‘Music, Mischief and Morals in the 18th Century’ and ‘Mozart’s London Odyssey’. He took part in Chi-chi Nwanoku’s Radio 4 series ‘In Search of the Black Mozart’, and also arranged some of the music for the BBC1 period drama series ‘Taboo’.


Publications and research outputs


McVeigh, Simon and Hirshberg, J.. 2004. The Italian Solo Concerto, 1700-1760: Rhetorical Strategies and Style History. Boydell Press. ISBN 1843830922

McVeigh, Simon. 1993. Concert Life in London from Mozart to Haydn. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0521413532

McVeigh, Simon. 1989. The Violinist in London’s Concert Life, 1750-1784: Felice Giardini and his Contemporaries. New York: Garland. ISBN 0824020189

Edited Book

McVeigh, Simon and Lynan, Peter, eds. 2016. Thomas Arne, Judith: an Oratorio. London: The Musica Britannica Trust and Stainer & Bell Ltd. ISBN 9780852499474

Wollenberg, Susan and McVeigh, Simon, eds. 2004. Concert Life in Eighteenth-Century Britain. Aldershot: Ashgate. ISBN 0754638685

Book Section

McVeigh, Simon. 2022. Piano Manufacturers and Concert Promotion in Edwardian London: New Light on the Broadwood Concerts (1902-1912). In: Étienne Jardin, ed. Financing Music in Europe. Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols, pp. 319-342. ISBN 9782503602899

McVeigh, Simon. 2021. Wilhelm Cramer, the Professional Concert, and the Foundation of the Modern Symphony Orchestra. In: Peter Lynan and Julian Rushton, eds. British Music, Musicians and Institutions, c. 1630-1800: Essays in Honour of Harry Diack Johnstone. Woodbridge: Boydell Press, pp. 32-53. ISBN 9781783276479

McVeigh, Simon. 2020. The Nineteenth-Century Concert Series: a Contested Space. In: Paul Watt; Sarah Collins and Michael Allis, eds. The Oxford Handbook of Music and Intellectual Culture in the Nineteenth Century. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780190616922


McVeigh, Simon. 2020. Rescuing a Heritage Database: Some Lessons from London Concert Life in the Eighteenth Century. Research Data Journal for the Humanities and Social Sciences, 5(2), pp. 50-61. ISSN 2452-3666

Dix, Alan; Cowgill, Rachel; Bashford, Christina; McVeigh, Simon and Ridgewell, Rupert. 2014. Authority and Judgement in the Digital Archive. The 1st International Digital Libraries for Musicology workshop (DLfM 2014), pp. 1-8.

McVeigh, Simon. 2013. The London Symphony Orchestra: the First Decade Revisited. Journal of the Royal Musical Association, 138(2), pp. 313-376. ISSN 0269-0403


McVeigh, Simon. 2014. Calendar of London Concerts 1750-1800.

Research Interests

Following his widely-cited book on London concert life in the late eighteenth century (Concert Life in London from Mozart to Haydn) and the associated Calendar of London Concerts 1750-1800, Simon McVeigh’s research on music in Britain is now largely centred on the period around 1900. The AHRC-funded project ‘The Transformation of London Concert Life, 1880-1914’ (in collaboration with Leanne Langley and the late Cyril Ehrlich) has led to numerous publications, including a major reassessment of the first decade of the London Symphony Orchestra (Journal of the Royal Musical Association, 2013). Recent and forthcoming chapters address Sunday concerts, song recitals, concert series, the middlebrow, the Broadwood concerts and the music profession during the period.  A book on music in Edwardian London is in preparation, exploring in the round the rich diversity of music-making in the capital as well as its relationship with continental Europe and music across the world.

This work is connected to his interest in the collection, curation and analysis of concert programme data, through the Concert Life in 19th-Century London Database and InConcert, an initiative within the AHRC project ‘Transforming Musicology’, which explores the concept of a collaborative digital archive of musical ephemera.  As an extension of his work on urban musicology, he recently initiated a new series of short-form Elements in Music and the City for Cambridge University Press, co-edited with Laudan Nooshin.

The early eighteenth-century Italian concerto was the subject of a large-scale project with Jehoash Hirshberg, resulting in The Italian Solo Concerto 1710-1760: Rhetorical Strategies and Style History, along with an extensive programme of editing of violin concertos by Tessarini, Zani and others. Related publications include contributions to two Cambridge Histories: Eighteenth-Century Music and Musical Performance. An edition of Arne’s oratorio Judith (with Peter Lynan) was selected to mark Vol. 100 in the prestigious series Musica Britannica.