Mary O’Neill University of Birmingham

Mary O’Neill University of Birmingham

University of Birmingham crest

Dr Mary O’Neill BA, BMus, MA; PhD (Cantab)

Department of Music

Contact details

Bramall Music Building
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

To work in a subject about which one is passionate is special, but to have the opportunity to design the ideal working environment, is a rare privilege indeed. This has been precisely my experience at The University of Birmingham, having sat down with the architects at the design stage of Birmingham’s stunning new Bramall Music Building, and been asked to assist in the design of what the ideal facilities and needs would be for a world-leading early music centre. I look forward to working with colleagues and students in our state-of-the-art facilities that will enable us to pursue new directions in our mission for bringing together excellence in research with excellence in performance at all levels.


I teach postgraduate courses on medieval music, baroque music and performance practice. My undergraduate teaching in Music covers a range of topics: historical, analytical, technical and performance-based. Current or recent courses have included: Number and Proportion (in medieval and contemporary music); Words and Music (case studies across all periods); Songs and Sagas; Baroque Performance Practice; and Early Small Ensemble.


A major focus of my research to date has been medieval music, and I am writing a series of monographs on medieval song traditions (women’s songs, dance songs etc). My book on Courtly Love Songs in Medieval France, published by Oxford University Press (OUP), has received widespread critical acclaim. A longer term project is a large study of songs associated with the Cult of Mary.

Other areas of research include performance practice in a range of repertoires from the Middle Ages to the late eighteenth century; Renaissance keywords; the music of Frescobaldi; the interaction between oral and written traditions; Iberian music of the Middle Ages, the Renaissance and the Baroque; and the relationship between music, image and text.