The 38th Annual Conference on Music in 18th-Century Britain


The 38th Annual Conference on Music in 18th-Century Britain will take place at the Foundling Museum.

Offers of contributions to the programme are invited.  We encourage proposals for presentations focusing on all aspects of music in 18th-century Britain.  As well as formal papers we can accommodate formats such as round tables, reports on work-in-progress, lecture-recitals and performance. Proposals should be approximately 250 words.  The length of the paper or presentation is normally limited to 30 minutes, but longer or shorter formats will be considered.  Collaborative or related topic papers are also welcomed.

Please submit your abstract by e-mail to ; be sure to include your name, address or institution, telephone, and email address in the body of the message.  All submissions will be acknowledged by a return email.

Closing date for submissions is Thursday 30 September 2022.


The finalised programme will be advertised in autumn 2022.

Ruth Smith | Charles Jennens: The man behind Handel's Messiah


Charles Jennens was not only Handel’s best librettist, he was also a ground-breaking editor of Shakespeare’s plays, a Christian philanthropist, innovative patron of the arts and political outsider. This talk, delivered by writer and broadcaster Ruth Smith, leading expert on Handel’s oratorios and Jennens’ biographer, explores his personality and his principles, his aims and his achievements, illuminating his fertile, and sometimes fractious, collaboration with Handel.

The 37th Annual Conference on Music in 18th-Century Britain, 2021


The 37th Annual Conference on Music in 18th-Century Britain took place virtually.


Talks available via YouTube.

Lizzy Buckle | Practice Makes Perfect: How to be a Musician in the Eighteenth Century


Shortly before his arrival in London in 1704, composer and conductor Johann Sigismund Cousser recorded some important advice in his notebook. Under the heading ‘What a virtuoso should observe upon arriving in London’, Cousser wrote down thirty-three tips given to him by fellow German and musician Jakob Greber. While some instructions are clearly aimed specifically at visiting virtuosi like Cousser, Greber’s advice alludes to many of the key practical concerns experienced by a whole range of London’s musicians, whether celebrated Italian castrati or inexperienced English instrumentalists.

With the help of Cousser’s notebook, this podcast seeks to challenge romantic stereotypes that, even today, portray musicians as lone geniuses, wedded to their art, and apparently unmotivated by money. Instead, eighteenth-century musicians are revealed to be hardworking, entrepreneurial, and well-practised in both commercial and musical pursuits.

Click here to listen to this podcast.

Collection of 18th-century musicians by James Vertue
'Harpsichord fin du 18me siècle' by James Vertue


Handel the Philanthropist | Messiah Reimagined at the London Handel Festival


Katharine Hogg gives insights into Handel's connection with the Foundling Hospital, the UK's first children's charity, and how the concerts of Messiah made the piece popular in London and the whole country. Lizzy Buckle has a closer look on the underpinning objectives of charitable activities during Handel's time and questioned whether Handel really was quite as golden-hearted as we commonly regard him to be...

The 36th Annual Conference on Music in 18th-Century Britain, 2020


The 36th Annual Conference on Music in 18th-Century Britain took place virtually.


Talks via YouTube from 9AM on Fri 27 November, 2020.

Reports, questions, comments, discussion via Zoom from 15.00

  • Sarah McCleave (Belfast), 'Fame and the Female Dancer' (project)
  • Ellen Moerman, Charles Burney in Translation (project)
  • Handbook XXIV and other notices

Lizzy Buckle | Georgian Live Aid


As part of the Being Human Festival 2020, researcher Lizzy Buckle introduces her work with the Foundling Museum’s Gerald Coke Handel Collection and discusses who the real beneficiaries of eighteenth-century benefit concerts were.