Current Scholarship

 

Vickers has been named a 2020-2021 US Fulbright Scholar to

United Kingdom.

He specializes in twentieth-century British music history, primarily

that of Benjamin Britten. He is in the midst of writing the authorized

history of the Aldeburgh Festival of Music and the Arts (1948-1986), for

which he is a frequent reader at the Britten-Pears Foundation in

Aldeburgh, Suffolk, UK. Vickers also conducts archival research at the

British Library, London; the archives of the Royal Academy of Music

and the Royal College of Music, London; and the BBC Written Archives.

Vickers has presented his research in papers and lectures throughout

the United States, England, France, and Russia.

 

Vickerss award-winning 2011 doctoral dissertation on Michael Tippetts

compositional process and the genesis of the song cycle The Hearts

Assurance received the 2014 Nicholas Temperley Prize for Excellence

in a Dissertation. Dr. Vickers was honored as the recipient of the 2019

Wonsook Kim College of Fine Arts Research Award, the 2015 

Illinois State University Research Initiative Award and the 2015

College of Fine Arts Research Initiative Award for his early-career

scholarship. He is a contributor to Grove Music Online and the

author of numerous book reviews for Notes: Quarterly Journal of the

Music Librarians Association, Music & Letters, and Brio: Journal of the

International Association of Music Librarians.

 

Vickers was Director of the international conference Benjamin Britten at 100: An American Centenary Symposium (24-27 October 2013) on the campus of Illinois State University, where he is Associate Professor of Voice. Vickers received a 2012 Britten Centenary Award from The Trustees of The Britten Estate.

 

Book Projects

  • The Aldeburgh Festival of Music and the Arts: A History of the Britten and Pears Era, 1948–1986, Justin Vickers; the first scholarly monograph devoted to the Aldeburgh Festival, in anticipation of the 75th Festival in 2023.

          [The Boydell Press, Forthcoming, 2023]

 

  • Benjamin Britten in Context, Justin Vickers and Vicki P. Stroeher, Editors; a collection of Britten essays focused on the non-biographical aspects of his life, framing the composer within the context of his surroundings, his contemporaries, and his century.

          [Cambridge University Press, Forthcoming, 2021]

  • Benjamin Britten Studies: Essays on An Inexplicit Art, Justin Vickers and Vicki P. Stroeher, Editors; a multi-author collection of essays by the world’s preeminent and emerging voices in Britten scholarship.

          [The Boydell Press,  2017]

 

Chapters in Multi-Author Volumes

 

  • Britten’s Donne Sonnet.” In Literary Britten: Words and Music in Benjamin Brittens Vocal Music, Kate Kennedy, Editor.

[The Boydell Press, 2018]

 

  • An Empire Built on Shingle: Britten, the English Opera Group, and the Aldeburgh Festival. In Benjamin Britten Studies: Essays on An Inexplicit Art, Justin Vickers and Vicki P. Stroeher, Editors. 

            [The Boydell Press, 2017]

  • Amanuensis of the Sea: Peter Maxwell Davies's Symphonies Nos. 1 and 2 and the Antarctic Symphony. In The Sea in the British Musical Imagination, Eric Saylor and Christopher Scheer, Editors. 

            [Boydell & Brewer, 2015]

 

 

Selected Published Essays & Articles

 

  • “‘The Echo of the Song’: Pears and Twentieth-Century Composers” in “Such an artist to write for”: Inspiration and Collaboration (Britten-Pears Foundation and The Trustees of The Britten Estate, 2020 Exhibition: March-October 2020)

  • Work of the Week #39: “Britten’s Sechs Hölderlin-Fragmente,” filmed in the Britten-Pears Archive Centre for the Britten-Pears Foundation website and media supplements (Britten-Pears Foundation, October 2018)

  • “An Illinois Snapshot: January 1940” in Britten in America (Britten-Pears Foundation and The Trustees of The Britten Estate, 2018 Exhibition: March-October 2018)

 

  • “The Indecency of the Closet” in Queer Talk: Homosexuality in Britten’s Britain (Britten-Pears Foundation and The Trustees of The Britten Estate, 2017 Exhibition: March-October 2017)

 

  • Benjamin Brittens Silent Epilogue to The Holy Sonnets of John Donne, The Musical Times, vol. 156, no. 1933 (December 2015)

 

  • Peter Maxwell Daviess Variations on a Theme: A Catalogue of the Sea Works, NOTES: Quarterly Journal of the Music Library Association, Vol. 71, No. 4 (June 2015)

 

  • “The Voice of America’s Musical Vitality”: Benjamin Britten in Illinois, January 1940

— Commissioned by Sonorities, the magazine of the University of Illinois School of Music for their online publication (Fall 2013) and in print (Winter 2014)

 

  • A Centenary Retrospective of Britten’s Operas: “Those Voices That Will Not Be Drowned”

— Commissioned by General and Artistic Director Michael Egal for the Benjamin Britten Centenary for Des Moines Metro Opera’s 2013 Festival Season 

 

  • Justin Vickers, Michael Foster, and Roderick Dunnett, Through a Distorted Mirror’: Arthur Bliss, Christopher Hassall, and The Beatitudes,” in The Beatitudes – Coventry Cathedral 2012 Golden Jubilee, edited by Michael Foster (Coventry: The Bliss Trust, 2012)

 

  • Justin Vickers, Michael Foster, and Roderick Dunnett, The Fate of The Beatitudes,” in The Beatitudes – Coventry Cathedral 2012 Golden Jubilee, edited by Michael Foster (Coventry: The Bliss Trust, 2012)

 

Conference Presentations & Invited Lectures / Talks

 

  • The Red House, The Music Room (The Home of Britten and Pears)

          “The Creative Process: Two Artists Discuss”

—90-minute discussion between librettist Justin Vickers and composer Tony Solitro with Lucy Walker, Head of Public Engagement for Britten Pears Arts and sponsored by the Britten-Pears Foundation; in association with the Britten-Pears Foundation’s eight-month “Such an artist to write for”: Inspiration and Collaboration (Britten-Pears Foundation and The Trustees of The Britten Estate, 2020 Exhibition: March-October 2020) / (March 13, 2020), Aldeburgh, Suffolk, England

 

 

 

  • Vickers was awarded a two-week Creative Retreat in Cosy Nook on the grounds of The Red House, in which to write his first opera libretto, The Jeremy Thorpe Affair for Solitro

 

  • British-Russian Crossroads: Exchanges of Words and Music — 2020 International Conference in Saint Petersburg, The Russian Federation (Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov Memorial Apartment-Museum)

“Britten, Pears, and Pushkin: The Poet’s Echo in Translation”

† Lecture-Recital includes a complete performance of Benjamin Britten’s only Russian song cycle, a setting of Alexander Pushkin poetry, The Poet’s Echo, Op. 76, in Peter Pears’s English-language translation

† Invited by conference organizers to give a second performance of the song cycle on a full evening public recital in Saint Petersburg

 

  • Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, London

“Benjamin Britten’s Operas: Our Twenty-first Century Perspective”

† Lecture for the combined third- and fourth-year opera history and twentieth-century opera classes in a three-hour seminar format with audio, video, readings, and discussion focused on the critical need to examine Britten’s operas in the twenty-first century with a rootedness in their twentieth-century cultural, social, and ideological contexts

 

  • The Red House, The Music Room (The Home of Britten and Pears)

“Britten in America”

† Lecture-Recital performances of Britten’s American-era folksong compositions and his inspiration, “I wonder as I wander” by John Jacob Niles, sponsored by the Britten-Pears Foundation; in association with the Britten-Pears Foundation’s seven-month exhibition Britten in America (June 8, 11, 18, 21, 22, 2018), Aldeburgh, Suffolk, England

 

  • QUEERTalk Series, University Galleries, Illinois State University (March 2018)

“The Midcentury Politics of the Closet in Great Britain (and, What Parallels Still Persist?)”

† This lecture explores the socio-cultural climate surrounding composer Benjamin Britten and his spouse Peter Pears, and the 1957 Wolfenden Report that preceded the 1967 Sexual Offences Act, which partially decriminalized homosexuality in the UK

† Lecture sponsored by the LGBT/Queer Institute at Illinois State University

  • “Beginners Like Ourselves”: Benjamin Britten, Eric Crozier, John Piper and the Independence of an English Opera Group (1946-1948)

    • Invited Scholar at Benjamin Britten Centennial Celebration: In Words and Music (April 11, 2014) on The Rey M. Longyear Lecture Series, University of Kentucky, Lexington

 

  • “Who cares if there is English opera?”: Britten’s Tradition of Native Opera and the Founding of the E.O.G.

    • Presented at Benjamin Britten at 100: An American Centenary Symposium (24-27 October 2013), Illinois State University, Normal

    • Invited Scholar at Britten’s Birthday Weekend (22-23 November 2013), Oberlin College Conservatory of Music, Ohio 

 

  • Britten’s Tradition of Native Opera and the Founding of the English Opera Group

    • Presented at Benjamin Britten on Stage and Screen (5-7 July 2013), University of Nottingham, England 

 

  • Britten, Rainier, and Donne: A Silent “Epilogue” Finds its Voice

    • Lecture-Recital presented at Drake University (1 March 2013), Des Moines, Iowa

    • Lecture-Recital presented at the 2012 Conference of the North American British Music Studies Association, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (The Lecture Recital includes complete performances of Benjamin Britten’s The Holy Sonnets of John Donne, Priaulx Rainier’s Cycle for Declamation, featuring the world première of Britten’s unpublished “Epilogue” to The Holy Sonnets.)

 

  • In Britten’s Shadow: Arthur Bliss and the 1962 Coventry Cathedral Festival Fifty Years On

    • Presented at the 2012 Spring meeting of the American Musicological Society of Greater New York (AMS-GNY) held jointly with the North American British Music Studies Association (NABMSA), Hunter College

 

  • Retracing Michael Tippett’s Journey through the Creative Process of The Heart’s Assurance

    • Presented at the 2011 Analyser les Processus de Création Musicale Conference at the Université Lille Nord de France

 

  • Guarded Aldeburgh: Capturing Benjamin Britten in Tony Palmer’s A Time There Was (1979)

    • Presented at the 2011 Music and the Moving Image VI Conference at NYU Steinhardt, New York University

 

  • “Love Under the Shadow of Death”: Grief, Pacifism and the Composition of Michael Tippett’s The Heart’s Assurance

    • Presented at the 2010 Biennial Conference of the North American British Music Studies Association, Drake University

 

Dissertation

 

  • “The Ineffable Moments Will Be Harder Won”: The Genesis, Creative Process, and Early Performance History of Michael Tippett’s The Heart’s Assurance [Doctor of Musical Arts in Performance and Literature – Dissertation, 2011; University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign] 

    • Recipient of the 2014 Nicholas Temperley Prize for Excellence in a Dissertation

 

© 2020 by Justin Vickers.