Professor Benjamin Walton

Fellow, Senior President of the Jesus College Music Society, Director of Studies in Music
University Positions
Director of Graduate Education
Professor of Music History

Benjamin Walton is a Professor of Music History.

Academic interests

Benjamin Walton's academic interests include:

  • Cultural history of music during the 19th century
  • History of opera
  • Operatic globalisation
  • Music historiography.

Degrees obtained

  • BA Music, King’s College, University of Cambridge.
  • MA Aesthetics and Analysis of Music, University of Sussex.
  • PhD History of Music, University of California, Berkeley.


Benjamin Walton is Professor of Music History, and Fellow and Director of Studies in Music at Jesus College.

He studied at the universities of Cambridge for his BA and Sussex for his MA, before moving to the University of California, Berkeley for his doctoral research, where he completed a dissertation on musical culture in Paris during the 1820s.

He held the Kathleen Bourne Junior Research Fellowship at St Anne’s College, Oxford, and then took up a lectureship in Music at the University of Bristol. He joined the Faculty of Music at Cambridge in 2006.

His research interests centre on the social and cultural history of music during the 19th century. His recent work has focused on musical transnationalism in the first half of the century, with an emphasis on touring opera troupes beyond Europe, on the reception of Gioachino Rossini and Vincenzo Bellini, on the material history of opera, and on the idea of the ‘Twin Styles’, represented by Rossini and Beethoven, in the historiography of European music.

His recent and current PhD students have worked on:

  • Opera in Milan during the 1860s (Carlos del Cueto)
  • Music in French New Wave cinema (Denice McMahon)
  • Musical culture in Berlin around 1800 (Katherine Hambridge)
  • Cultural transfer of European music in Chile, Peru, and Bolivia in the first half of the 19th century (José Manuel Izquierdo König)
  • Ideas of nationalism and pan-Americanism in early 20th century Latin American opera (Vera Wolkowicz)
  • French opera in New Orleans during the 1830s, 1840s, and 1850s (Charlotte Bentley)
  • Opera in Buenos Aires, New York and Milan around 1900 (Ditlev Rindom)
  • the music of Charles Verrinder at the West London Synagogue during the 19th century (Danielle Padley)
  • Manuel García and operatic culture in early republican Mexico (Francesco Milella)
  • Musical life in Jamaica in the decades around 1800 (Wayne Weaver).

Department link

Publications, links and resources

Benjamin Walton's monograph, Rossini in Restoration Paris: The Sound of Modern Life, was published by Cambridge University Press in 2007.

A collection of essays entitled The Invention of Beethoven and Rossini, also from Cambridge University Press and jointly edited with Nicholas Mathew, appeared in 2013.

From 2013-2018 he was editor of Cambridge Opera Journal with Stefanie Tcharos, and in 2019 he published two edited books: 19th-Century Opera and the Scientific Imagination, with David Trippett (Cambridge University Press), and Gioachino Rossini, 1868-2018: La musica e il mondo (Fondazione Rossini), with Ilaria Narici, Emilio Sala and Emanuele Senici. He is currently working on a book about the first operatic troupe to go around the world.

Hear from our students