Welcome to Early Music World, the personal website of music historian, lecturer, broadcaster and early music critic Brian Robins. On the site you will find a wide range of articles, interviews and details of published books The contents are indexed at the top of this page.
Also included are viewpoints on topics relating to the world of early music, in addition to details and extracts from reviews concerning three published books, The John Marsh Journals: The Life and Times of a Gentleman Composer 1752-1828 (1998, second edition July 2011), and Catch and Glee Culture in Eighteenth-Century England (2006). The John Marsh Journals, vol 2 was published in June 2013.
Brian Robins was born in Cheltenham, England, but spent his early life in Bournemouth, where he pursued an academic life notable for its singular lack of distinction. This he subsequently rectified by obtaining an Honours pass in the History of Music Diploma (University of London). After more than thirty years in the retail record business, increasing interest in research and adult education led him to become a free-lance writer and lecturer. His academic work has been acknowledged by prestigious awards from the Hinrichsen Foundation (1992 & 2012), the Leverhulme Trust, the British Academy and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. From 1994 until mid-2007 Brian Robins was a regular contributor of reviews and interviews to the US publication Fanfare.
In 1997 he was involved with the launch of Goldberg Early Music Magazine (Spain), remaining a contributor, consultant and member of the Advisory Board for every issue until the cessation of publication in November 2008. In addition Brian Robins has broadcast for BBC Radio 3 and BBC TV, and has contributed to such scholarly publications as Early Music, the RMA Research Chronicle and the Huntington Library Quarterly. He has also written essays in Concert Life in Eighteenth-Century Britain (ed. S. Wollenberg & S. McVeigh) (2004), Marsh of Chichester: Gentleman, Composer, Musician, Writer 1752-1828 (2004), the revised New Grove Dictionary of Music & Musicians (2001), and the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004). In 2007 he was invited to become a member of the panel for the Stanley Sadie International Handel Recording Prize. He has also written for the BBC Music Magazine, Gramophone and Early Music Today. Brian Robins is currently a regular contributor to Early Music Review and Opera. Over the years Brian Robins has presented numerous academic papers at international conferences in the UK, France and Germany.
In more recent years Brian Robins has become increasingly preoccupied with the staging of early opera, an interest that led to a debut as a stage director of an acclaimed performance of Handel's pastoral cantata Aminta e Fillide at St George's, Hanover Square in November 2019, a production successfully revived at the Resonanzen Early Music Festival in Vienna in January 2022 (see the Baroque Opera Productions page). In January 2020 he narrated ballads in a programme based around the legend of Robin Hood and featuring sopranos Angela Hicks and Penelope Appleyard (Fair Oriana) at the Resonanzen Festival. Also in January 2020 a Facebook page for those with a practical professional interest in historically informed staging of Baroque opera was created. September 2020 saw the launch of a new video 'Toward a Better Understanding of Baroque Opera' https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3SmJ5tfTvIk