Profile of Bruce Wood

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Bruce Wood
Emeritus Professor of Music
+44 (0) 1248 382186
School of Music


Bruce Wood was educated at Grimsby Grammar School, and subsequently at Cambridge, where he took the degrees of M.A., Mus.B. and Ph.D., and was an organ pupil of Sir David Willcocks. He taught for several years at the Leys School, Cambridge, and Cranleigh School, before being appointed to a lectureship at Bangor in 1979. In 2005 he was appointed Professor of Music, retiring in 2010.
Bruce’s primary research interests – on which he has published widely – are in the music of the Restoration period (especially the works of Henry Purcell and John Blow) and twentieth-century English music (especially that of Elgar). He is Chairman of the Purcell Society. He has given numerous guest lectures (universities of Manchester, York, Exeter, Surrey, Southampton, Hull, Huddersfield, the Open University, and the University of Michigan, USA) and public lectures (the Royal Festival Hall, London; the Birmingham Festival; the Cambridge Festival; the Chester Festival; the Spitalfields Festival; for Glyndebourne Opera, and for the Opéra Comique, Paris; and for the New York Camerata at Boston Conservatoire and at the New York Society for Ethical Culture, USA;), and has participated in some 70 broadcasts on BBC Radio 3, Radio 4, World Service, and BBC2.

Main publications


Purcell: An Extraordinary Life (Oxford, 2009)

Volumes in collected scholarly editions

  • (with Andrew Pinnock), Henry Purcell, The Fairy Queen (Collected Works, Volume 12; London: Stainer & Bell, 2009)
  • John Blow, Venus and Adonis (Purcell Society Companion Series, 2; London: Stainer & Bell, 2008)
  • Henry Purcell, Three Occasional Odes (Collected Works, Volume 1; London, Stainer & Bell, 2008)
  • Henry Purcell, Symphony Songs (Collected Works, Volume 27; London: Stainer & Bell, 2007)
  • Henry Purcell, Royal Welcome Songs, 1684-88 (Collected Works, Volume 18; London: Novello, 2004) 
  • Henry Purcell, Royal Welcome Songs, 1680-83 (Collected Works, Volume 15; London: Novello, 2000)
  • John Blow, Anthems III: Nine anthems with Orchestra (Musica Britannica, Volume 79; London: Stainer & Bell, 2002)
  • Henry Purcell, Birthday odes for Queen Mary, 1692-94 (Collected Works, Volume 24; London: Novello, 1998)
  • John Blow, Anthems II: Nine Anthems with Strings (Musica Britannica, Volume 64; London: Stainer & Bell, 1994)
  • Henry Purcell, Birthday odes for Queen Mary, 1689-91 (Collected Works, Volume 11; London: Novello, 1993)
  • Henry Purcell, Three odes on St Cecilia’s Day (Collected Works, Volume 10; London: Novello, 1990)
  • John Blow, Anthems I: Seven Anthems with Orchestra (Musica Britannica, Volume 50; London: Stainer & Bell, 1984)

Contributions to volumes of essays

  • “‘Only Purcell e’re shall equal Blow’”, in Purcell Studies, ed. Curtis Price (Cambridge, 1995), 106–144
  • ‘Purcell’s Odes: A Reappraisal’, in The Purcell Companion, ed. Michael Burden (London, 1995), 200–253
  • ‘Genius of England: Purcell and his Age’, in Fairest Isle, ed. David Fraser (London, 1995), 39–46
  • ‘The First Performance of Purcell’s Funeral Music for Queen Mary’, Performing the Music of Henry Purcell, ed. Michael Burden (Oxford, 1996), 61–81

Articles in works of reference

  • The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (London, 1980): articles on Bartholomew Isaack, John Walter
  • The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, 2nd edition (London, 2000): articles on John Blow, Henry Cooke, Henry Hall, James Hawkins, Pelham Humfrey, William Tucker, Thomas Tudway, John Walter

Other articles

  • (with Andrew Pinnock), ‘Come, ye sons of art — again: court cross-subsidy for Purcell’ s opera orchestra, 1690–1695’, Early Music, xxxvii (2009), 445–466
  • (with Andrew Pinnock), ‘A mangled chime: the accidental death of the opera libretto in Civil War England’, Early Music, xxxvi (2008), 265–284
  • ‘“Fled is that music”: performing Purcell’s choral works in the 1990s’, published simultaneously in the journals Cathedral Music (London, 1995) and Europa Cantat (Hanover, 1995)
  • (with Andrew Pinnock), ‘The Fairy Queen: a fresh look at the issues’, Early Music, xxi (1993), 44–61
  • (with Andrew Pinnock), ‘“Unscarr’d by turning times”?: the dating of Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas’, Early Music, xx (1992), 372–390 
    • Prof. Wood and Dr Pinnock also contributed three shorter articles to the controversy which this one engendered.
  • (with Andrew Pinnock), ‘A Counterblast on English Trumpets’, Early Music, xix (1991), 436–443
  • ‘The English Amphion’, The Listener (22 June 1989), 36–37
  • ‘A newly identified Purcell autograph’, Music & Letters, lix (1978), 329–332
  • ‘Matthew Locke’, Music and Musicians, xxv (1977), 34–38
  • ‘Cavendish Weedon: impresario extraordinary’, The Consort, xxxix (1977), 221–224
  • ‘A Purcell coronation anthem lost and found’, Musical Times, cxviii (1977), 466–468
  • ‘A note on two Cambridge manuscripts and their copyists’, Music & Letters, lvi (1975), 308–312