Syracuse University

SU News

Jenny Doctor appointed director of Belfer Audio Archive

October 17, 2011

Pamela Whiteley McLaughlin
(315) 443-9788

Jenny Doctor has been appointed director of the Belfer Audio Archive at Syracuse University Library, effective January 2012. She will hold a concurrent appointment as a faculty member in the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. A faculty member in the Department of Music at the University of York (UK) from 2005-2011, Doctor is a musicologist who has specialized in 20th-century British composers and the development of sound recording technologies.

The position of Belfer director is supported in part by a $505,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Following the grant, SU’s College of Arts and Sciences, Newhouse School, College of Visual and Performing Arts, Library and the University will collaborate to provide ongoing funding for the position.

Doctor is the author of “The BBC and Ultra-Modern Music, 1922–36: Shaping a Nation’s Tastes” (Cambridge University Press, 1999), based on her doctoral research. She also co-edited “The Proms: A New History” (Thames & Hudson, 2007), with Sir Nicholas Kenyon and David Wright, and co-edited “Silence, Music, Silent Music” (Ashgate, 2007), with Nicky Losseff, to which she contributed the essay, “The Texture of Silence.” Doctor has also published articles on Elgar, Vaughan Williams and Britten, as well as “The Parataxis of British Musical Modernism” in Musical Quarterly in 2008. She was awarded a Fulbright grant to the United Kingdom in 1989, and remained as a resident in that country until this appointment.

Doctor’s current research includes an edition of correspondence by composers Elizabeth Maconchy and Grace Williams, co-edited with Sophie Fuller (for Ashgate); an essay exploring collaborations between Vaughan Williams and Adrian Boult in BBC broadcasts (for Cambridge University Press); and an essay investigating audiovisual recordings of jazz performances televised by the BBC, 1946-66.

Suzanne Thorin, dean of libraries and University librarian, spoke with enthusiasm about Doctor’s appointment, saying, “Under Jenny Doctor’s leadership, the Belfer Archive will again be part of national and international conversations about the preservation of historical sound recordings and their use in scholarship. Her joint faculty/library appointment is especially appropriate for the interdisciplinary work that Belfer’s collections inspire.”

Newhouse School Dean Lorraine Branham says, “The Newhouse School is pleased not only that we could attract a scholar of Jenny Doctor’s stature, but also a teacher who cuts across schools and disciplines. One of the first challenges she will face in her role as director of the Belfer is to expand access of this precious resource to students and faculty across the University.”

Doctor received a bachelor’s degree in mathematics (1980) from Oberlin College, and a bachelor’s degree in piano performance (1981) from Oberlin Conservatory of Music. She studied viola with the Vermeer Quartet (1984–85) before working on post-graduate degrees in music history at Northwestern University (M.Mus 1986, Ph.D 1993). 

During her Fulbright year and afterward, Doctor was affiliated with King’s College London (1989–92), while she carried out her Ph.D research into the BBC’s interwar programming practices, exploring as a case study the attitudes and policies of its music department toward Second Viennese School composers and their works. Doctor was later affiliated with St. Hilda’s College, Oxford, where she organized the archives of Elizabeth Maconchy and researched aspects of her life and music.

Prior to university teaching, Doctor worked as a professional editor at Macmillan Publishers, contributing to various New Grove dictionaries, and as a senior editor responsible for 20th-century composers on the second edition of “The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians” (2001), the basis of Grove Online. She was the director of the Britten-Pears Library (1998–2002), and began her teaching career at Trinity College of Music in London. While at York, she was also a research fellow at the Borthwick Institute for Archives, with responsibility for the University of York Sound Archives.

Recent News