Somerville’s Lecturer in Music and Philosophy, Dr Toby Young, has been awarded a Knowledge Exchange Fellowship at The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities (TORCH) for his project titled Transforming the Operatic Voice.
The short term fellowships, supported by the Higher Education Innovation Fund, were created for humanities scholars to build mutually beneficial partnerships with external organisations. For example, a theatre group could use an academic’s research as the basis for a new play, while the group’s unique interpretation helps the academic to see their research afresh.
Transforming the Operatic Voice will investigate the relationship between singing styles in popular music and opera, in order to broaden the appeal of opera to a wider and more diverse demographic. The project will bring Young together with performers from the opera company McCaldin Arts to collaborate on the creation of an innovative concert programme that fuses popular and operatic vocal styles together into a new musical language.
Dr Young is a composer whose work explores the boundaries between pop music and sonic art. His research looks at the philosophy of creativity, in particular exploring the relationship between aesthetics, culture and the creative mind. As well as lecturing at Somerville, Toby is a Research Fellow at the University of Bristol (Department of Philosophy) and Visiting Fellow at Cornell University (Department of Music).
Since studying with Robin Holloway at Cambridge, his music has been performed by ensembles and orchestras including the London Symphony Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Academy of Ancient Music, Fretwork and Endymion Ensemble, and many choirs including Westminster Abbey, King’s College Cambridge, and the BBC Singers. He also writes for pop music artists including Chase&Status, Ellie Goudling, MOKO, and has recently collaborated with Duran Duran on their new album.