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Staff Profile

Professor Bennett Zon, DPhil (Oxon), MMus (Edin), BMus (Michigan), HIgher Education Teaching Certificate (Hull)

Professor in the Department of Music
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 41064
Room number: Room 204, Main Building

Contact Professor Bennett Zon (email at


Professor Zon has published The English Plainchant Revival (OUP, 1999); Music and Metaphor in Nineteenth-Century British Musicology (Ashgate, 2000); and Representing Non-Western Music in Nineteenth-Century Britain (University of Rochester Press, 2007), a monograph funded in part by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. This latter examines the influence of anthropological theories of developmentalism, evolution, individualism and cultural inscription on British perceptions of non-Western music in the long nineteenth century.

Professor Zon is General Editor of the Ashgate book series Music in Nineteenth-Century Britain and in 1997 founded the biennial conference on that topic. He is editor of Nineteenth-Century British Music Studies 2 (Ashgate, 2002), and co-editor of Nineteenth-Century British Music Studies 1 (Ashgate 1999); Nineteenth-Century British Music Studies 3; Nineteenth-Century Music Studies: Proceedings of the Tenth International Conference (Ashgate, 2002); and the upcoming Music and Orientalism in the British Empire, 1780-1940: Portrayal of the East (Ashgate, 2007). He has contributed to numerous articles to the second edition of New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, The New Dictionary of National Biography, the Grolier Encyclopedia of the Victorian Era, the Dictionary of 19th Century Journalism, and the New Dictionary of Hymnology.

Professor Zon is founder and General Editor of the international peer-reviewed journal Nineteenth-Century Music Review, and is founding Director of the Centre for Nineteenth-Century Music, Durham University. He is also a founding owner of the Nineteenth-Century JISCmail. Zon is also an active composer, with recent commissions including Military Fanfare (for the King's Division Waterloo Band); Gothic Fragment (for the John Turner Ensemble), and Litany of the Sea (for the Hull Philharmonic Orchestra). He is currently working on a piece called Repercussions, for brass band. He has had numerous performances in America, England, and Europe, both live and on radio, and has been recorded by the Gentlemen of St John's College, Cambridge.

Research Interests

  • Music theology
  • Nineteenth- and twentieth-century historiography and aesthetics with particular interest in music in nineteenth- and twentieth-century Britain
  • Post-Reformation chant and liturgical music

Selected Publications

Authored book

  • Zon, BM. (2007). Representing Non-Western Music in Nineteenth-Century Britain. Rochester, New York: University of Rochester Press.

Chapter in book

  • Zon, Bennett (Accepted). Evolution. In Edinburgh Critical History of Nineteenth-Century Theology. Whistler, Daniel Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
  • Zon, Bennett (2017). Music. In Oxford Handbook of Nineteenth-Century Christian Thought. Rasmussen, Joel, Wolfe, Judith & Zachhuber, Johannes Corby: Oxford University Press. 459-470.
  • Zon, Bennett (2017). Spencer, Sympathy and the Oxford School of Music Criticism. In British Musical Criticism 1850-1950. Dibble, Jeremy & Horton, Julian Boydell & Brewer.
  • Zon,Bennett (2014). 'Carl Engel and the Non-Darwinian Revolution'. In Music of the Most Ancient Nations Commented Reprint. ekho. 1: xxv-xxxii.
  • Lightman, Bernard & Zon, Bennett (2014). 'Introduction'. In Evolution and Victorian Culture. Lightman, Bernard & Zon, Bennett Cambridge University Press. 1-16.
  • Zon, Bennett (2014). The ‘non-Darwinian’ revolution and the Great Chain of Musical Being. In Evolution and Victorian Culture. Lightman,Bernard & Zon,Bennett Cambridge University Press. 196-226.
  • Zon, Bennett (2013). The music of non-Western nations and the evolution of British ethnomusicology. In Cambridge History of World Music. Bohlman, Philip V. Cambridge University Press. 298-318.
  • Zon, Bennett (2012). 'Spiritual' Selection: Joseph Goddard and the Music Theology of Evolution. In Music and Theology in Nineteenth-Century Britain. Clarke, Martin V. Ashgate. 215-236.
  • Zon, Bennett (2012). Orientalism and the Natural Theology of Indian Music. In Mochizuki, Tetuso & Maeda, Shiho Slavic Research Center, Hokkaido University, Sapporo. 13: 29-41.
  • Zon, Bennett (2012). Recapitulation and the musical education of Victorian children: The Child’s Pianoforte Book (1882) by H. Keatley Moore. In Music and Performance Culture in Nineteenth-Century Britain: Essays in Honour of Nicholas Temperley. Zon, Bennett Ashgate. 299-321.
  • Zon, Bennett (2010). Du Grand Homme au survivant le plus apte. Renommée, recapitulation et survie: génie wagnérien et concepts victoriens. In Musique et évolution. Deliège, Irène Vitouch, Oliver & Ladinig, Olivia Wavre, Belgium: Mardaga. 335-353.
  • Zon, Bennett. (2010). Histories of British music and the Land Without Music: National Identity and the Idea of the Hero. In Essays on the History of English Music in Honour of John Caldwell Sources, Style, Performance, Historiography. Hornby, Emma Hornby. & Maw, David. Woodbridge: Boydell & Brewer. 311-324.
  • Zon, Bennett (2010). Victorian Anti-Semitism and the Origin of Gregorian Chant. In Renewal and Resistance: Catholic Church Music from the 1850s to Vatican II. Collins, Paul Oxford: Peter Lang. 99-119.
  • Zon, BM (2007). '"Violent passions" and "inhuman excess": Simplicity and the representation of non-Western music in nineteenth-century British travel literature'. In Music and Orientalism in the British Empire, 1780s–1940s Portrayal of the East. Clayton, M & Zon, BM Aldershot: Ashgate. 209-235.
  • Zon, Bennett. (2006). "From 'incomprehensibility' to 'meaning': Transcription and Representation of Non-Western Music in Nineteenth-Century British Musicology and Ethnomusicology". In Europe, Empire, and Spectacle in Ninteenth-Century British Music. Cowgill, Rachel. & Rushton, Julian. Aldershot: Ashgate. 185-199.
  • Zon BM (2006). From 'Very Acute and Plausible' to 'Curiously Misinterpreted': Sir William Jones's 'On the Musical Modes of the Hindus' (1792) and its Reception in Later Musical Treatises. In Romantic Representations of British India. Franklin, Michael London: Routledge. 197-219.
  • Zon BM (2002). Creation/Evolution: Metaphoric Syntheses in Nineteenth and Early Twentieth-Century Music Historiography in Britain. In Nineteenth-Century Music: Selected Proceedings of the Tenth International Conference. Samson J & Zon BM Aldershot: Ashgate. 314-331.

Edited book

  • Lightman, Bernard & Zon, Bennett (2014). Evolution and Victorian Culture. Cambridge Studies in Nineteenth-Century Literature and Culture. Cambridge University Press.
  • Zon, Bennett (2012). Music and Performance Culture in Nineteenth-Century Britain: Essays in Honour of Nicholas Temperley. Music in Nineteenth-Century Britain. Ashgate.
  • Clayton, M & Zon, BM (2007). Music and Orientalism in the British Empire, 1780s–1940s: Portrayal of the East. Ashgate.
  • Horton P & Zon BM (2006). Nineteenth-Century Music Studies 3. Music in Nineteenth-Century Britain. Aldershot: Aldershot.
  • Dibble J & Zon BM (2002). Nineteenth-Century Music Studies 2. Music in Nineteenth-Century Britain. Aldershot: Ashgate.
  • Samson J & Zon BM (2002). Nineteenth-Century Music: Selected Proceedings of the Tenth International Conference. Music in Nineteenth-Century Britain. Aldershot: Ashgate.


  • Zon BM (2000). Music and Metaphor in Nineteenth-Century British Musicology. Aldershot: Ashgate.
  • Zon BM (1999). The English Plainchant Revival. Oxford University Press.

Journal Article

  • Zon, Bennett (2016). Anthropology, Theology, and the Simplicity of Benedict XVI's Chant. Logos: A Journal of Catholic Thought and Culture 19(1): 15-40.
  • Zon, Bennett (2014). Science, theology and the simplicity of chant: Victorian musicology at war. Journal of the History of Ideas 75(3): 439-469.
  • Zon, Bennett (2013). Nineteenth-Century Britain and Musical Representations of Asia. Comparative Studies on Regional Powers 13: 47-57.
  • Zon, Bennett (2011). Bedazzled by breakthrough: Music theology and the problem of composing music in words. Journal of the Royal Musical Association 136(2): 429-435.
  • Zon, Bennett (2010). The Evolution of C. Hubert H. Parry’s Evolution of the Art of Music. Victorian Review 35(1): 68-72.
  • Zon, B (2009). "Loathsome London": Ruskin, Morris, and Henry Davey's History of English Music (1895). Victorian Literature and Culture 37(2): 359-375.
  • Zon, Bennett (2009). C. Hubert H. Parry, The Evolution of the Art of Music (1893/96). Victorian Review 35(1): 68-72.
  • Zon, B. (2009). From Great Man to Fittest Survivor: Reputation, Recapitulation and Survival in Victorian Concepts of Wagner’s Genius. Musicae Scientiae 13(2 Supplement): 415-445.
  • Zon, BM (2006). ''More than the sum of the life of its several parts': Individual differences in the psychology and ethnomusicology of C. S. Myers’. Nineteenth-Century Contexts
  • Zon BM (2006). 'Disorienting Race: Humanizing the Musical Savage and the Rise of British Ethnomusicology'. Nineteenth-Century Music Review 3(1): 25-43.
  • Zon BM (2005). 'Mahler's Liszt and the Hermeneutics of Chant'. Studia Musicologica Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae 46(3-4): 383-402.

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