Front Quad of Lincoln College, the walls covered in bright green ivy

Dr Emma Kavanagh

Dr Emma Kavanagh

  • Lord Crewe Career Development Fellow in Music


I am originally from rural Shropshire, where I attended my local comprehensive school and sixth form. I hold an undergraduate degree from Jesus College, Cambridge, and a master’s from the University of Nottingham, part-funded by a grant from The Walker Trust.

I came up to Oxford in 2018 to study for a DPhil at Linacre College. I was the inaugural recipient of the Oxford-Louis Curran Graduate Scholarship, and was awarded the Ralph Gibson Bursary from the Society for the Study of French History in recognition of the interdisciplinary contribution of my research. Prior to taking up my Career Development Fellowship at Lincoln, I held lecturer positions at Magdalen College and St Hugh's College.

College teaching

I have taught undergraduates at Oxford for several years. I teach across the music course, from foundational modules introducing key ideas and concepts to those that more specifically relate to my research expertise.

As part of my Career Development Fellowship, I will be teaching music students at Lincoln and supporting the College’s active music scene, including the Chapel Choir and Music Society.


I am a musicologist specialising in opera and musical culture in France between the Revolution and the First World War. My current research focuses on opera and representation during the Belle Époque (1870–1914), with a particular interest in race, class, and gender.

As the Lord Crewe Career Development Fellow in Music, I will spend the next year working on journal articles arising from my doctoral thesis, and preparing for a future monograph project on women opera composers in nineteenth-century France.

Select publications

‘“Qu’il est loin mon pays”: Staging (Be)longing in Massenet’s Sapho’. Forthcoming in Dix-Neuf.

‘“Du paradis rêvé”: The Orient in the Male Imagination in Saint-Saëns’s La Princesse Jaune’. In The East, The West, The In-Between in Music, ed. David Vondráček, 59-69. Munich: Allitera, 2021.

Public Engagement

‘Camille Saint-Saëns: A Belated Centenary’. Oxford Musician, Issue 12 (Summer 2022).

‘Declaration of the Rights of Woman and of the Female Citizen, read by Emma Kavanagh’. Guest episode, The French History Podcast, July 2022.

‘Notre Dame in Adaptation: Louise Bertin’s La Esmeralda’. Guest episode, The French History Podcast, June 2021.