Rachel Beckles Willson
List of Publications


  1. György Kurtág’s The sayings of Péter Bornemisza op.7. (Aldershot, 2004). 192 pp. ISBN-10: 0754608093.
  2. Ligeti, Kurtág and Hungarian Music during the Cold War (Cambridge, 2007). 282 pp. ISBN-10: 1107403308.
  3. Orientalism and Musical Mission: Palestine and the West (Cambridge 2013). 365 pp. ISBN-10: 1107036569.
  4. The OudAn Illustrated History. (Interlink Books. 2023). 256 pp. ISBN 9781623717520.

Edited Books

  1. (with Alan E. Williams), Perspectives on Kurtág (Guildford, 2001), 160 pp.

Articles in refereed journals

  1. ‘Bulgarian Rhythm and its disembodiment in Kurtág’s The sayings of Péter Bornemisza’, Studia musicologica XLIII/3-4 (2002), pp. 269-280.
  2. ‘To say and/or to be? Incongruence in The Sayings of Péter Bornemisza op.7’. Music Analysis 22/3 (October 2003), pp. 315-338.
  3. ‘”Behold! The long-awaited new Hungarian opera has been born!” Discourses of denial and Petrovics’ C’est la guerre’. Central Europe I/2 (November 2003), pp. 133-145.
  4. ‘Longing for a national rebirth: mythological tropes in Hungarian music criticism, 1968-74’, Slavonica (November 2004), pp. 139-156.
  5. ‘A study in “tradition”, geography and identity in concert practice’, Music & Letters (November 2004), pp. 602-613.
  6. ‘Whose utopia? Perspectives on the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra?’, Music and Politics (June 2009) http://www.music.ucsb.edu/projects/musicandpolitics/archive/2009-2/beckles_willson.pdf
  7. ‘The Parallax Worlds of the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra’, Journal of the Royal Musical Association (November 2009), pp. 319-347. DOI: 10.1080/02690400903109109.
  8. ‘Music teachers as missionaries: Understanding Europe’s recent dispatches to Ramallah’, Ethnomusicology Forum (November 2011), pp. 301-325. DOI: 10.1080/17411912.2011.641370.
  9. Round Table: Edward Said and Musicology Today’, including contributions by Brigid Cohen; Sindhumanthi Revuluri, Martin Stokes, Kofi Agawu, James R. Currie, in Journal of the Royal Musical Association 141, 2016. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02690403.2016.1151245
  10. ‘Listening through the warzone of Europe’, in Ethnomusicology, 63/2, 2018.
  11. Hearing global modernity: Munir Bashir and the Iraqi oud’, in International Journal for History, Culture and Modernity, 2018, 7, DOI: http://doi.org/10.18352/hcm.559.
  12. ‘Orientation through Instruments : The Oud, the Palestinian Home, and Kamīlyā Jubrān’ in World of Music, 8/1, 2019. Winner of Frances Denmore Prize of the American Musical Instrument Society.
  13. Migration, music and the mobile phone: a case study of technology and socio-economic justice in Sicily’, in Ethnomusicology Forum, 2021. https://doi.org/10.1080/17411912.2021.1939088

Book Chapters

  1. ‘”Culture is a vast weapon, its artistic force is also strong.” Finding a context for Kurtág’s works: an interim report’, in Beckles Willson & Williams (eds.) Perspectives on Kurtág, pp. 3-38.
  2. ‘Bartók and vocal music: inspiration and ideology’, in Amanda Bayley (ed.) The Cambridge Companion to Bartók (Cambridge, 2001), pp. 78-91
  3. ‘Eastern Europe’, in Mervyn Cooke (ed.) The Cambridge Companion to Twentieth-Century Opera (Cambridge, 2005), pp. 146-64.
  4. ‘Sehnsucht als Mythos? Zur musikalischen Dramaturgie in den Drei Schwestern’, in Hans-Klaus Jungheinrich (ed.) Péter Eötvös (Frankfurt, 2005), pp. 17-26.
  5. ‘Reciprocity and mysticism: a new model for art in State Socialism’, in Tsukasa Kodera (ed.) Crossing boundaries in art from East Central Europe (Osaka, 2007) pp. 205-242
  6. ‘Veress and the Steam Locomotive in 1948’, in Anselm Gerhardt and Doris Lanz (eds.) Komponist – Lehrer – Forscher. Sándor Veress zum 100. Geburtstag. (Kassel, 2008), pp. 20-35.
  7. ‘Theory and Analysis’, in Jim Samson (ed.) Understanding Music (Cambridge, 2008), pp.25-42.
  8. ‘Ligeti at the Musicians’ Union 1949-56′ in Roberto Illiano and Massimiliano Sala (eds), Music and Dictatorship in Europe and Latin America (Turnhout, 2010), pp. 471-486.
  9. ‘Letters to America’, in Friedemann Sallis (ed.), Centres and Peripheries, Roots and Exiles (Victoria, 2011), pp.129-174.
  10. ‘Listening to Palestine’, in The Storyteller of Jerusalem: the Musical Life and Times of Wasif Jawhariyyeh, translated by Nada Elzeer, edited by Salim Tamari and Issam Nassar, with a Foreword by Rachel Beckles Willson (Olive Branch Press, 2013), pp. IX-XVI. ISBN 978-1-56656-925-5.
  11. ‘Doing more than representing western classical music’, in Representation and Western Music ed Joshua Waldon (Cambridge, 2013) pp. 249-266. ISBN 978-1-107-02157-0.
  12. ‘Palestinian song, European Revelation, and Mission’, in Surviving in Song: Exploring Music among Palestinians since 1900 eds. Moslih Kanaaneh, David McDonald, Stig-Magnes Thorsén (Indiana University Press, 2013), pp.15-36. ISBN 978-0-253-01098-8.
  13. ‘Simulated culture and the juggernaut of capitalism: Reflections on European music in the Middle East’, in Entgrenzte Welt?: Musik und Kulturtransfer eds. Jin-Ah Kim & Nepomuk Riva, (Ries & Erler, Berlin, 2014) pp. 290-310. ISBN 987-3-87676-024-7.
  14. ‘Peacebuilding and afterwards: the early years of the Barenboim Said Foundation (2003-2009)’, in The Art of Peacebuilding eds R.Scott Appleby, Hal Culbertson, Jolyon Mitchell & Theodora Hawksley (OUP Strategic Peacebuilding Series, New York).
  15. ‘Value and Abjection: Listening to Music with Edward W. Said’, in Against Value in the Arts, eds. Emile Bojesen; Sam Ladkin; Bob McKay. Rowman & Littlefield, 2016. p. 215-230.
  16. ‘Analysing Sonic Authority: Sensoriality, Affect and the Unsettled Body’, in Music Analysis and the Body: Experiments, Explorations and Embodimentseds. Nicholas Reyland & Rebecca Thumpston, (Leuven Studies in Musicology, Leuven), 2018, pp.125-140. ISBN 978-90-429-3641-6.
  17. ‘The individual outside the community: music education in a fraught space’ , in My Body was Left on the Street : Music Education and Displacement, eds. Kinh T. Vu & André de Quadros. (Sense Publishers, 2020), pp.49-61.

Conference Proceedings

  1. ‘Auge in Auge mit der Musik’, in Eric Singer & Basil Rogger (eds.) Composers-in-residence. Lucerne Festival, Sommer 2003, Isabel Mundry, Heiner Goebbels (Frankfurt am Main, 2003) pp. 125-134.
  2. ‘Who is Péter Eötvös?’, in Max Nyffeler (ed.) Péter Eötvös (Münich, 2003), pp. 5-18.
  3. ‘Socialist Realism and Beyond: 1961-63 responses to Kurtág’s opp.1-4’, in Petr Macek, Mikulás Bek & Geoffrey Chew (eds.) Colloquium, Socialist Realism and Music: Anti-Modernisms and Avant-gardes, Brno 1.-3.10.2001 (Colloquia on the History and Theory of Music at the International Music Festival in Brno, Vol. 36) (Prague, 2004), pp. 49-61.
  4. ‘Meeting points and national authenticity: Bartók from inside and out’, in Masakata Kanazawa (ed.), Musicology and Globalization: Proceedings of the International Congress in Shizuoka 2002 (Tokyo, 2004), pp. 384-88.

Articles in non-refereed journals

  1. “The Repertoire Guide: György Kurtág” Classical Music 8, February 1997, 43.
  2. “Kurtág’s Instrumental Music 1988-1998”, Tempo, December 1998, pp. 15-21.
  3. ‘The fruitful tension between inspiration and design in György Kurtág’s The Sayings of Péter Bornemisza opus 7’, Mitteilungen der Paul Sacher Stiftung, March 1998, pp. 36-41.
  4. ‘Péter Eötvös in conversation about ‘Three Sisters’, Tempo, April 2002, pp. 11-13.
  5. ‘Bolgár ritmus és eltestetlenedése Kurtág Bornemisza Péter mondásaiban’, Magyar Zene XVI/2 (January 2003), pp. 47-58.
  6. ‘The West-Eastern Divan Orchestra’, British Academy Review 10 (2007), pp.15-17.
  7. ‘A new voice, a new 20th century? An experiment with Sándor Veress’, Tempo: A quarterly review of modern music, 62/243 (Jan 2008), pp. 36-41. Translated by Michael Kunkel as ‘Vertreibung, Verankerung: Uberlegungen zur Kontextualisierung des Schaffens von Sándor Veress anlässlich des Berner Festivals “veress07″‘, dissonanz 99 (Sept 2008), pp. 30-33.
  8. العود في أوروبا والولايات المتحدة : ريتشل بكلس ويلسون., in Jardat al Fonoon, Vol. 8, No. 1, 04.2018, p. 84.
  9. ‘György Kurtág, Samuel Beckett: Fin de partie – scènes et monologues, opéra en un acte.’ Tempo, vol. 73, no. 288, pp. 91-92. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0040298218001043

Encyclopaedia entries

  1. ‘György Kurtág’ and twelve entries on further German and Hungarian composers of the 20th century, The Revised New Grove’s Dictionary of Music and Musicians, Macmillan, 2000.
  2. ‘Piano Trios’, in Cliff Eisen (ed.) The Mozart Companion (Oxford, 2006).

Book reviews

  1. Derek Jarman (ed.) The Twentieth Century String Quartet, Music and Letters 84/2 (May 2003).
  2. Richard Steinitz György Ligeti. Music of the Imagination. London: Faber & Faber, 2003; Marina Lobanova György Ligeti. Style, Ideas, Poetics. Berlin: Ernst Kuhn, 2003; “Träumen Sie in Farbe?” György Ligeti im Gespräch mit Eckhard Roelcke. Vienna: Paul Zsolnay, 2003′, Music and Letters 85/4 (November 2004).
  3. Danielle Fosler-Lussier, Music Divided: Bartók’s legacy in Cold War Culture, Music & Letters 89/4 (November 2008).
  4. Erik Levi and Florian Scheding, Diasporas, Mobilities, and Dislocations in Europe and Beyond, and Byron Dueck and Jason Toynbee, Migrating Music. Yearbook for Traditional Music (Vol. 44, 2012), pp. 187-190. 

Music reviews

  1. Kurtág: String Quartets ECM New Series 1598, Tempo, January 1997, p. 52.
  2. Dillon: Blitzschlag Edinburgh Festival August 1997, Tempo, January 1998, pp. 22.
  3. Kurtág: Plays and Games ECM New Series 1619, Tempo, April 1998, pp. 45-46.
  4. György Kurtág, Samuel Beckett: Fin de partie – scènes et monologues, opéra en un acte, Tempo, April 2019, pp. 91-92.