Oxford musicologist wins Balzan Prize

An Oxford University musicologist has won a 2012 Balzan Prize.

Professor Reinhard Strohm, an emeritus professor of music in the Music Faculty, was praised by the prize committee for extensive research on the history of European music from the late Middle Ages to the present.

The Balzans are awarded each year in a variety of fields and are given by a foundation based in Milan and Zurich, Switzerland.

Professor Strohm was Heather Professor at Oxford from 1996 to 2007. Before that, he held posts at King’s College London and Yale University.

His research interests include eighteenth-century Italian opera; late-medieval music and its social context; and modernist/postmodernist debates in musical historiography.

Professor Strohm said: ‘When hearing the incredible news I spontaneously thought about my teachers and about the colleagues and students in the Music Departments where I have worked. Academic achievement is always a shared thing, just as knowledge itself should be.’

Professor Jonathan Cross, chair of the Music Faculty board, said: 'The Faculty of Music is thrilled to learn of this honour bestowed on our colleague, Reinhard Strohm. His work has unequalled breadth and depth, ranging from medieval and renaissance music, Bach studies, and opera, to his engagement with recent controversies over such matters as the "work concept". The award of the Balzan Prize gives international recognition to his extraordinary achievements in musicology.'

Professor Shearer West, head of the Humanities Division, said: ‘Reinhard Strohm has made a significant contribution to debates in musical historiography and to the knowledge of eighteenth-century Italian opera and late medieval music. He richly deserves to be awarded such a prestigious prize.’