The biennial international conference on Music in Nineteenth-Century Britain was founded at the University of Hull in 1997 and will celebrate its 13th meeting in 2023.
For many years the MNCB conference has been a crucial gathering point for scholars from a wide range of disciplines including musicology, cultural, social, and economic history, politics, sociology, and cultural geography. Work presented and honed at the conference has been published regularly in volumes of collected essays by Ashgate (see Publications) and in two seminal book series: ‘Music in Nineteenth-Century Britain’ edited initially for Ashgate and now Routledge by Bennett Zon, and ‘Music in Britain, 1600-2000’ (formerly ‘Music in Britain, 1600-1900’) edited for Boydell & Brewer by Byron Adams, Rachel Cowgill and Peter Holman.
Enriched by interdisciplinary dialogue and engaged with leading historians and cultural theorists, this body of work has made a major contribution to recent developments in musical scholarship and done much to overturn persistent notions of nineteenth-century Britain as a musical wasteland. Additionally it has long since squashed the notion that musicologists are not interested in the broad and deep contextualization of music and its significance as a cultural practice.
The conference celebrates the vitality and diversity of music-making across Britain in whatever form it took and wherever it was found, exploring its aesthetic dimensions alongside its meaning for contemporaries, its place in the global market, and its use in the promotion of political and social agendas.
To date, MNCB conferences have been held in the UK, and venue and programme committee change every two years. MNCB conferences played a catalyzing role in the founding of the North American British Music Studies Association in 2004 and have enjoyed a long and fruitful partnership with the NABMSA membership: NABMSA meetings are held every other year and alternate with the Music in Nineteenth-Century Britain conference.