Professor of Russian Literature and Music, Fellow and Tutor in Russian
My path to Russian has been a long and, at times, indirect one. I first became fascinated by Russia at school, when I discovered the music of Shostakovich. Through him, I began to explore Russian literature and, thanks to a wise teacher, began to explore the language. I then headed to Durham University, where I studied not just Russian, but French and German too. For several years, I was torn between which of these languages I would like to specialise in, but a year spent in Krasnoyarsk and Ulyanovsk convinced me Russia was my real passion.
After a DPhil at Oxford on the Soviet writer, Andrei Platonov, I taught at the University of Wales, Bangor, before returning to Oxford to take up a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship at Wolfson College. Here, I began to combine my expertise in Russian literature with my love of music, and since then, I have written equally about both subjects. I took up my present position in 2007, having previously taught at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University College, London. I have also been lucky enough to spend time as a fellow of both the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, and the Paris Institute for Advanced Study.
Alongside my academic work, I enjoy sharing my fascination with Russian culture with wide and diverse audiences. I have written essays and given talks for Garsington Opera, Opera Holland Park, the Royal Opera House, Stuttgart Opera, the Vienna State Opera, and Welsh National Opera, and work closely with the Oxford Lieder Festival and Wigmore Hall. I also regularly contribute to the UNIQ course in Modern Languages, as well as Wadham's own summer school, and am always very happy to hear from prospective applicants interested in studying Russian at Wadham.
For a full list of my academic activities, see: