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Prof Barry Cooper - research

Research interests

Specific research interests:

His research interests include the following:

  • English Baroque music
  • Baroque keyboard music
  • Baroque music theory
  • Beethoven and contemporaries
  • Handel
  • Child composers
  • Editing early music
  • Source collections.

He has a wide range of research interests from medieval to 19th century music, notably on English baroque music and the music of Beethoven and his contemporaries.

His main research in recent years has been on Beethoven himself, and he is regarded as a world authority on this composer. His books include Beethoven and the Creative Process (Oxford, 1990, 2nd ed. 1992); Beethoven's Folksong Settings (Oxford, 1994); Beethoven (The Master Musicians, Oxford, 2000, 2nd ed. 2008). He is also the General Editor and co-author of The Beethoven Compendium (London, 1991, 2nd ed. 1996), which has been translated into French, German, Dutch, Portuguese and Japanese.

In 1988 his completion of the first movement of Beethoven's unfinished Tenth Symphony attracted widespread international attention when it was premiered at the Royal Festival Hall, London. It has since been performed in over twenty countries, with CD recordings issued on the Chandos (CHAN 6501), Carlton Classics (30369 0013-2) and other labels. The score is published by Universal Edition, London. A revised edition with slight modifications is due to appear in 2013 (Vienna: Universal Edition). 

In 2007 the Associated Board (ABRSM) published his complete edition of Beethoven's 35 piano sonatas (including three early ones often wrongly omitted). The edition includes extended commentary to each sonata, including history, assessment of the sources and detailed notes on interpretation and performance practice. It was awarded the title '2008 Best Classical Publication' by the Music Industries Association, and the commentary has now been published in a German edition (2009) and a Chinese edition (2010).

His dissertation was revised and published as English Solo Keyboard Music of the Middle and Late Baroque (New York, 1989), and his other writings include a monograph on music theory in Britain in the 17th and 18th centuries, three catalogues of musical source material, and numerous journal articles and reviews. He has also published a pioneering study on child Composers and Their Works (Lanham, 2009).

Current research projects:

He is currently planning further editions of Beethoven's music, and a book on Beethoven's piano sonatas.