Rufus Wainwright - Katherine Williams

Rufus Wainwright - Katherine Williams

Western Art Music and Pop: Conflict and Coherence

Rufus Wainwright - Katherine Williams

Katherine Williams [+-]
University of Bristol
Dr Katherine Williams is Lecturer in Music at Plymouth University. Prior to her appointment in 2014, she lectured at Leeds College of Music and Cardiff University, and taught on various modules at the University of Bristol. Throughout her musicological study (BMus King's College London, MA and PhD University of Nottingham), Katherine maintained an active profile as a saxophonist, performing and teaching in the idioms of classical, jazz and new music. Katherine's research has been published by Jazz Perspectives, Journal of Music History Pedagogy, and Jazz Research Journal (forthcoming 2014). Her first monograph is in production with Equinox Press, and she is co-editor of the Cambridge Companion to the Singer-Songwriter (forthcoming 2016), and the Singer-Songwriter Handbook (Bloomsbury Academic, 2017).


This chapter evaluates the co-existence and inherent tensions between the Western Art Music and popular music worlds in Wainwright’s music and life, using musicological perspectives from both disciplines. I consider Wainwright’s experiences of and attitudes towards music education, and the songwriting technique that he has developed. Songs analysed include ‘Imaginary Love’ and ‘Pretty Things’, and the second half of the chapter is an exploration of his western art music projects: Yellow Lounge, Sonnette, and his 2009 opera Prima Donna. More details about Rufus Wainwright can be found at Williams’ recent blogpost on Thinking About Music, available here .

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Williams, Katherine . Western Art Music and Pop: Conflict and Coherence. Rufus Wainwright. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. 28-54 Jan 2016. ISBN 9781781795194. Date accessed: 16 Jul 2020 doi: 10.1558/equinox.23865. Jan 2016

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