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portrait of Professor Stephen Cottrell

Professor Stephen Cottrell

Professor of Music

Rector and President, Department of Music

Contact Information


Visit Stephen Cottrell

ALG12B, College Building

Postal Address

City, University of London
Northampton Square
United Kingdom



Stephen Cottrell is Professor of Music at City, University of London. He studied at the University of East Anglia, the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and the Paris Conservatoire. During a freelance musical career spanning nearly two decades he earned an international reputation as a saxophonist performing contemporary music, particularly as leader of the Delta Saxophone Quartet. He later returned to academia, completing an M.Mus. in Ethnomusicology at Goldsmiths College. A British Academy scholarship facilitated doctoral studies, also at Goldsmiths, where he was subsequently awarded a PhD for ethnomusicological research into professional musicians in London.

Before joining City in 2010 he was a Senior Lecturer, and Head of the Department of Music, at Goldsmiths College, London. From 2010-15 he was Head of the conjoint Departments of Music and Culture & Creative Industries at City, and from 2013-15 also Associate Dean (International) for the School of Arts and Social Sciences. He has also held positions at Middlesex and Thames Valley Universities.


BA (Hons), MMus Ethnomusicology (with Distinction) and PhD.


Professor Cottrell's research interests fall into three inter-related areas: ethnographic approaches to musicians and music-making, particularly within the Western art music tradition; the study of musical instruments, particularly the saxophone; and the study and analysis of musical performance.

He was on the executive committee of the British Forum for Ethnomusicology from 2005-2012 and is presently on the ethnomusicology committee of the Royal Anthropological Institute. He was an associate editor of the journal Twentieth-Century Music (2008-13), and is an external advisor to the Hong Kong Research Grants Committee, and an artistic advisor to the record label Saxophone Classics.

Research Students

Jocelyn Howell

Thesis title: Wind instrument design and manufacture at Boosey & Hawkes: a corporate history

Further information: Musicology, (AHRC funded). Completed

Anna Kounadi

Thesis title: Analysing Skryabin performances on record

Further information: PhD in Performance Practice - completed

Alejandro Toledo

Thesis title: World Music, Creative Interpretation, and the East Moldavian Roma Tradition

Further information: Performance
PhD completed

Stephen Wilford

Thesis title: Musical production and consumption amongst the Algerian diaspora of London and Paris

Further information: Ethnomusicology (AHRC/City funded). Completed

Sam Mackay

Thesis title: Music, identity, and urban change in the city of Marseilles

Further information: Ethnomusicology (ARHC funded)

Jennifer Brand

Thesis title: From design to decline: Boosey & Hawkes and clarinet manufacturing in Britain, 1879-1986

Further information: Musicology (AHRC funded)
PhD completed

Emma Brinkhurst

Thesis title: Music, memory and belonging in London's King's Cross

Further information: Ethnomusicology (AHRC funded)
PhD completed

Kostas Tsahourides

Thesis title: Folk vocal techniques of Pontos and Epirus in modern Greece: A study in reflexive musical ethnography

Further information: Ethnomusicology
PhD completed

Chris Morris

Thesis title: Metal Onna-bugeisha: Japanese women and the challenge to hegemonic masculinity in heavy metal’s transnational flow

Further information: Ethnomusicology

Roya Arab

Thesis title: The female voice and musical performance in Iranian film


Books (4)

  1. Brown, J., Cook, N. and Cottrell, S.J. (Eds.), (2017). Defining the Discographic Self: Desert Island Discs in Context. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-726617-5.
  2. Cottrell, S.J. (2013). The Saxophone. Yale University Press.
  3. Cottrell, S. (2004). Professional music-making in London. Ashgate Pub Ltd. ISBN 978-0-7546-0889-9.
  4. Cottrell, S. (2004). Professional music-making in London. Ashgate Pub Ltd. ISBN 978-0-7546-0887-5.

Chapters (11)

  1. Cottrell, S. and Impey, A. (2018). Community music and ethnomusicology. The Oxford Handbook of Community Music (pp. 525–542). ISBN 978-0-19-021950-5.
  2. Cottrell, S. (2017). Musicianly lives musically told: Oral history, classical music and Desert Island Discs. In Brown, J., Cook, N. and Cottrell, S. (Eds.), Defining the Discographic Self: Desert Island Discs in Context (pp. 257–284). Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-726617-5.
  3. Cottrell, S. (2017). The creative work of large ensembles. In Rink, J., Gaunt, H. and Williamsom, A. (Eds.), Musicians in the Making: Pathways to Creative Performance (pp. 156–205). New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-934667-7.
  4. Brown, J., Cook, N. and Cottrell, S.J. (2017). Introduction: Desert Island Discs in context. Defining the Discographic Self: Desert Island Discs in Context (pp. 1–27). Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-726617-5.
  5. Cottrell, S.J. (2012). Musical Performance in the Twentieth Century: an overview. In Lawson, C. and Stowell, R. (Eds.), The Cambridge History of Musical Performance ISBN 978-0-521-89611-5.
  6. Cottrell, S.J. (2010). The Rise and Rise of Phonomusicology. In Bayley, A. (Ed.), Recorded Music: Performance, Culture and Technology (pp. 15–36). Cambridge Univ Pr. ISBN 978-0-521-86309-4.
  7. Cottrell, S.J. (2006). The Clarinet and its Players in Eastern Europe and Greece. In Heaton, R. (Ed.), The versatile clarinet ISBN 978-0-415-97317-5.
  8. Cottrell, S.J. (2004). Smoking and all that Jazz. In Gilman, S.L. and Zhou, X. (Eds.), Smoke: A Cultural History of Smoking (pp. 154–159). ISBN 978-1-86189-200-3.
  9. Cottrell, S.J. (2003). The Future of the Symphony Orchestra. In Lawson, C. (Ed.), The Cambridge companion to the orchestra Cambridge Univ Pr. ISBN 978-0-521-00132-8.
  10. Cottrell, S.J. (2003). ‘Shawm’. In Shepherd, J. (Ed.), Continuum encyclopedia of popular music of the world ISBN 978-0-8264-6322-7.
  11. Cottrell, S. (2003). The future of the orchestra. The Cambridge Companion to the Orchestra (pp. 251–264). ISBN 978-0-521-80658-9.

Conference papers and proceedings (29)

  1. Weyde, T., Cottrell, S., Dykes, J., Benetos, E., Wolff, D., Tidhar, D. … Tovell, A. (2014). Big data for musicology.
  2. Cottrell, S.J. (2011). ‘Ethnomusicology, “World Music”, and Iconographies’. Society for Ethnomusicology conference November, Philadelphia.
  3. Cottrell, S.J. (2011). 'Music, Mediation and Identity in Middle England: Seven Decades of Desert Island Discs’. Invited paper as part of Dent Medal Award. September, Royal Musical Association.
  4. Cottrell, S.J. (2010). Convenor of conference on ‘The Impact of Ethnomusicology’. Convenor of conference on ‘The Impact of Ethnomusicology’,British Forum of Ethnomusicology, in association with Institute for Musical Research December, London.
  5. Cottrell, S.J. (2010). ‘Charles-Jean-Baptiste Soualle – the first saxophone showman’. CHOMBEC conference on ‘Worlds to Conquer: The travelling virtuoso in the long 19th century’ July, University of Bristol.
  6. Cottrell, S.J. (2009). ‘The Saxophone in England in the Nineteenth Century’. Conference on ‘Making the British Sound’ July, Galpin Society, Edinburgh.
  7. Cottrell, S.J. (2009). The Saxophone as a Global Musical Icon. British Forum of Ethnomusicology conference April, Liverpool.
  8. Cottrell, S.J. (2007). Convenor of annual autumn conference on ‘Ethnomusicology and the Culture Industries'. British Forum for Ethnomusicology November, Goldsmiths College.
  9. Cottrell, S.J. (2007). Convener and chair of panel on ‘The Past is Another Country: Recorded Sounds and Recording Practice in Ethnomusicology and Beyond’ including paper on ‘Ethnomusicology vs. Phonomusicology: The Shifting Boundaries of Musicological Discourse’. CHARM/RMA Annual Conference September, Royal Holloway College.
  10. Cottrell, S. (2007). Local Bimusicality among London's freelance musicians.
  11. Cottrell, S.J. (2006). Convener and chair of panel on ‘The Gendering of Musical Instruments’ including paper on ‘The Gendered Saxophone’. British Forum for Ethnomusicology Conference April, Winchester.
  12. Cottrell, S.J. and Redgate, R. (2005). 'Writing Graffiti, Deciphering Graffiti'. Centre for Contemporary Music Cultures conference October, Goldsmiths College.
  13. Cottrell, S.J. (2005). 'From Wax Cylinders to Waxing Lyrical: Ethnomusicology or Phonomusicology?' Society for Ethnomusicology conference September, Atlanta.
  14. Cottrell, S.J. (2005). ‘Self and other in the study of Historical Recordings’. Centre for History and Analysis of Recorded Music inaugural conference April, Royal Holloway College.
  15. Cottrell, S.J. (2004). ‘Ethnomusicology, Western art music, and bimusicality’. Society for Ethnomusicology conference November, Tucson, Arizona.
  16. Cottrell, S.J. (2004). ‘The ethnographic study of the recording event in Western art music’. Society for Music Analysis conference October, Royal Holloway College.
  17. Cottrell, S.J. (2004). ‘Conceptualizing sound among London’s musicians’. Conference on Sonic subjects and acoustic objects June, Goldsmiths College.
  18. Cottrell, S.J. (2003). ‘Ethnomusicological reflections on bodily empathy in musical performance'. Music and Gesture conference August, University of East Anglia.
  19. Cottrell, S.J. (2002). Convenor of annual autumn conference on ’Ethnomusicology and Authenticity’ including paper on ‘A taste for Authenticity?’ British Forum of Ethnomusicology November, London.
  20. Cottrell, S.J. (2002). ‘Ethnomusicology and the Writing Experience’. British Forum of Ethnomusicology conference April, Edinburgh.
  21. Cottrell, S.J. (2001). Convenor of conference on ‘Comparative Music Praxes’, including paper on ‘Bridging the composition/improvisation divide: problematic
    issues from the world of new complexity.
    Comparative Music Praxes April, Middlesex University.
  22. Cottrell, S.J. (2001). ‘Between a Rock and a Hard Place: the Ambiguity of Creation and Re-creation in
    Performing Roger Redgate’s Graffiti.'
    RMA/SMA one-day conference February, Royal Holloway College.
  23. Cottrell, S.J. (2000). ‘To Dance is Human, to Conduct Divine?’ European Society of Ethnomusicology conference September, Belfast.
  24. Cottrell, S.J. (2000). Convenor of conference on ‘Comparative Music Praxes’,
    including paper on ‘The challenges to the performing musician, and the consequences
    for the musicologist, in the post-modern age’,.
    Comparative Music Praxes May, Middlesex University.
  25. Cottrell, S.J. (1999). ‘Music as Capital: Deputising Among London’s Freelance Musicians’. British Musicological Societies Conference July, Guildford.
  26. Cottrell, S.J. (1999). ‘Iconic Values and Cultural Engagement: The Hoffman Report and the ‘London’
    February, GoldsmithsCollege.
  27. Cottrell, S.J. (1998). ‘Concepts of Sound Among London Musicians’. British Forum of Ethnomusicology conference April, Cambridge.
  28. Cottrell, S.J. (1997). ‘The Theatre of Music: Ethnomusicological Perspectives on Performing Western Art
    November, Goldsmiths College.
  29. Cottrell, S.J. (1994). Performance and Ritual in Western Art Music: The Symphony Orchestra Concert. ICTM one-day conference November, Cambridge, MA.

Journal articles (18)

  1. Cottrell, S. and Howell, J. (2019). Reproducing musical instrument components from manufacturers’ technical drawings using 3D printing: Boosey & Hawkes as a case study. Journal of New Music Research, 48(5), pp. 449–457. doi:10.1080/09298215.2019.1642362.
  2. Cottrell, S. (2019). Big Music Data, Musicology, and the Study of Recorded Music: Three Case Studies. The Musical Quarterly, 101(2-3), pp. 216–243. doi:10.1093/musqtl/gdy013.
  3. Cottrell, S. (2017). Performing Civility: International Competitions in Classical Music. By Lisa McCormick. Music and Letters, 98(2), pp. 322–324. doi:10.1093/ml/gcx032.
  4. Cottrell, S. (2011). The Impact of Ethnomusicology. Ethnomusicology Forum, 20(2), pp. 229–232. doi:10.1080/17411912.2011.596395.
  5. Cottrell, S.J. (2011). The impact of Ethnomusicology. Ethnomusicology Forum, 20(2), pp. 229–232.
  6. Cottrell, S.J. (2010). ‘Ethnomusicology and the Music Industries’. Ethnomusicology Forum, 19(1).
  7. Cottrell, S.J. (2010). Ethnomusicology and the Music Industries: an overview. Ethnomusicology Forum, 19(1), pp. 3–25.
  8. Cottrell, S.J. (2007). Music, Time, and Dance in Orchestral Performance: The Conductor as Shaman. Twentieth-century Music, 3(1), pp. 73–96.
  9. Cottrell, S.J. (2007). ‘Local Bimusicality among London’s freelance musicians’. Ethnomusicology, 51(1), pp. 85–105.
  10. Cottrell, S.J. (2006). Review of Nicholas Cook and Eric Clarke (eds), Empirical Musicology: Aims, Methods, Prospects (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004). Ethnomusicology Forum, 15(1), pp. 153–155.
  11. Cottrell, S.J. (2005). Review of ‘East Meets West: The Russian Trumpet Tradition from the Time of Peter the
    Great to the October Revolution, with a Lexicon of Trumpeters Active in Russia from the Seventeenth Century to the Twentieth’ by Edward H. Tarr Pendragon Press.2003.
    The Galpin Society Journal: for the study of musical instruments.
  12. Cottrell, S.J. (2003). Review of ‘Reed Instruments: the Montagu collection: an annotated catalogue. Volume 4 part 2’ by Jeremy Montagu. British Journal of Ethnomusicology, 12(2).
  13. Cottrell, S.J. (2002). Music as Capital: Deputising Among London’s Freelance Musicians. British Journal of Ethnomusicology, 11(2), pp. 61–80.
  14. Cottrell, S.J. and Mantzourani, E. (2001). The Clarinet and its Players in Eastern Europe and Greece. Musical Performance, 3(1), pp. 5–19.
  15. Cottrell, S.J. (2001). Review of Smithsonian Folkways video ‘Europe’. Yearbook for Traditional Music, 32, pp. 251–252.
  16. Cottrell, S.J. (2000). The challenges to the performing musician, and the consequences for the musicologist, in the post-modern age. Performance Arts International on-line.
  17. Cottrell, S. (2000). The JVC/Smithsonian Folkways Video Anthology of Music and Dance of Europe. Yearbook for Traditional Music, 32, pp. 251–251. doi:10.2307/3185308.
  18. Cottrell, S.J. Charles Jean-Baptiste Soualle and the Saxophone. Journal of the American Musical Instrument Society.

Performances (29)

  1. Cottrell, S.J. (2003). Solo Saxophone in UK premiere of Mauricio Kagel’s Burleske. Aldeburgh festival.
  2. Cottrell, S.J. (2002). DSQ tour of Uzbekistan (Tashkent/Samarkand) and Russia (Moscow). Uzbekistan and Russia.
  3. Cottrell, S.J. (2001). DSQ work. Taiwan, Perugia, Bath and London.
  4. Cottrell, S.J. (2000). DSQ tour of Austria (Vienna/Steinach) and Italy (Milan). October, Austria and Italy.
  5. Cottrell, S.J. (2000). DSQ tour of Austria (Oberwart) and Slovenia (Ljubliana). March, Austria and Slovenia.
  6. Cottrell, S.J. (1998). DSQ. Blackheath Concert Halls.
  7. Cottrell, S.J. (1997). DSQ commission: Glinting, Glancing, Shards by Eleanor Alberga. Premiered at Rainbow Over Bath.
  8. Cottrell, S.J. (1996). DSQ. Huddersfield Festival.
  9. Cottrell, S.J. (1996). DSQ commission: Selected Movements of Great Masters by Michael Finnissy. Premiered Huddersfield Festival..
  10. Cottrell, S.J. (1995). Artistic Director of ‘Four Quartets’ festival, a weekend of contemporary chamber music. St. Giles Cripplegate, London..
  11. Cottrell, S.J. (1994). Ruggero Lagana’s Red Duets for concertante saxophone and ensemble. Premiered Piccolo Teatro, La Scala, Milan..
  12. Cottrell, S.J. (1994). DSQ: Premiere of Rhythm and Blues by Gabriel Jackson. Queen Elizabeth Hall.
  13. Cottrell, S.J. (1994). Solo commission: Multiple Reeds by Rodrigo Velloso. Premiered Norwich. .
  14. Cottrell, S.J. (1994). BBC Broadcast of Roger Redgate’ s Graffiti. BBC.
  15. Cottrell, S.J. (1994). DSQ: First British performance of Facing Death by Louis Andriessen.
    World Premiere of Unravel A Shining Thread by John Cooney.
    Greenwich festival.
  16. Cottrell, S.J. (1993). DSQ. Premiered 5 new works as part of SPNM regional day. Nottingham.
  17. Cottrell, S.J. (1993). Solo commission: Graffiti for solo saxophone by Roger Redgate. Newcastle.
  18. Cottrell, S.J. (1993). Solo commission: The Bastard’ s Broth for saxophone and tape by Steve Ingham. Newcastle.
  19. Cottrell, S.J. (1991). DSQ commission: STUB by Graham Fitkin. Blackheath Concert Halls, London..
  20. Cottrell, S.J. (1990). DSQ commission: Stone.Wind.Rain.Sun. by Chris Fox. Braford Festival..
  21. Cottrell, S.J. (1990). Solo commission: Kulamen Dilan for saxophone and percussion by Michael Finnissy. Darmstadt, Germany..
  22. Cottrell, S.J. (1990). DSQ: British Premiere of Night by Elena Firsova. Huddersfield Festival.
  23. Cottrell, S.J. (1989). DSQ commission: Alaric I or II by Gavin Bryars. Leicester.
  24. Cottrell, S.J. (1988). Solo commission: Tilt for saxophone and tape by Mike Vaughan. Birmingham.
  25. Cottrell, S.J. (1988). Musical Director of Guys and Dolls. Leicester Haymarket Theatre.
  26. Cottrell, S.J. (1987). DSQ commission: IN A FIX - 30’ music theatre piece by Mike Westbrook. Almeida Theatre and toured England.
  27. Cottrell, S.J. (1987). Solo commission: LILT for saxophone and tape by Ian Dearden. Norwich.
  28. Cottrell, S.J. (1987). Solo commission: On Going On for saxophone and tape by Javier Alvarez. Norwich.
  29. Cottrell, S.J. (1986). DSQ commission: Lyricisms by Peter Seabourne. Purcell Room, London.

Other (13)

  1. Cottrell, S.J. (2002). The Electric Saxophone on Clarinet Classics.
  2. Cottrell, S.J. (2002). The History of the Saxophone. A collection of historical recordings of saxophone music, with 20,000 word accompanying booklet.
  3. Cottrell, S.J. (2002). Facing Death (Delta Saxophone Quartet).
  4. Cottrell, S.J. (1998). DSQ Minimal Tendencies on Clarinet Classics.
  5. Cottrell, S.J. (1997). Solo CD release of Jonty Harrison’s EQ for saxophone and tape on NMC.
  6. Cottrell, S.J. (1997). Solo CD release of Rodrigo Velloso’s Multiple Reeds for saxophone and tape on RioArte
  7. Cottrell, S.J. (1996). DSQ BBC Broadcast. Fox/Bryars/Alvarez.
  8. Cottrell, S.J. (1996). DSQ: Saxophone Quartet by Geert van Keulen for Unknown Public (UP007).
  9. Cottrell, S.J. (1993). DSQ DECCA (Argo 440 216-2): Graham Fitkin’s STUB.
  10. Cottrell, S.J. (1989). Electro-acoustic music on Overhear (OhM 001). Dearden/Alvarez/ Williams.
  11. Cottrell, S.J. (1989). DSQ BBC Broadcast: Absil/Bedford.
  12. Cottrell, S.J. (1988). BBC Broadcast with Jessica Drake (pno.). Handel/Muldowney/Boutry.
  13. Cottrell, S.J. BBC Broadcast with Jessica Drake (pno.). Bach/Bainbridge/Creston.

Other Activities

Online articles (2)

  1. Review of ‘Retuning Culture’ ed. Slobin, ‘Shadows in the Field’ ed. Barz/Cooley and ‘Bela Bartok: Studies in Ethnomusicology’ ed. Suchoff. (1997). BBC Music Magazine
  2. ‘The Danish Institute of Electro-Acoustic Music’. (1990). Classical Music