Nicholas Mathew

Associate Professor, Music History

University of California, Berkeley

Nicholas Mathew holds a PhD from Cornell University, where he also studied period pianos with Malcolm Bilson. Before joining Berkeley, he returned to Oxford as a Junior Research Fellow in Music at Jesus College.  For three years he was co-editor of the journal Eighteenth-Century Music, and he remains on its editorial board, as well as the advisory board of Eighteenth-Century Studies.

His published work has mainly focused on the relationships between music and politics in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries: the place of music in political institutions, the role of music in public life, and the ways in which music constructs collective identity – as well as issues of political appropriation, subversion, musical trashiness, and political kitsch. In his book, Political Beethoven (2013), he re-examines the politically charged rhetoric of Beethoven’s music and its later reception, teasing out relationships between his canonical music and the political schlock of the Napoleonic era, including his own alleged potboilers.  The essays in the volume The Invention of Beethoven and Rossini (edited with Benjamin Walton in 2013) revisit the history of the fraught opposition between the two eponymous composers, and the artistic and philosophical traditions they have come to represent.