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Philip Ross Bullock, M.St., D.Phil. (B.A. Durham)

Professor of Russian Literature and Music

Fellow of Wadham College, Lecturer at Worcester College


My most recent monograph is a short critical life of Tchaikovsky that explores the composer's life within the context of nineteenth-century Russia's evolving musical institutions (conservatoires, publishing, performance, and patronage). I have also edited Rachmaninoff and His World for the University of Chicago Press, part of my role as scholar-in-residence at the Bard Music Festival in summer 2022. I am currently working on an interdisciplinary study of the relationship between words and music in Russian culture from the late eighteenth century to the present day, with a specific focus on the literary, musical and cultural history of the art-song repertoire, as well as on aspects of opera too. In 2022-23, I held a TORCH Knowledge Exchange (Rachmaninov Song at Wigmore Hall), co-curating a series of four recitals with pianist Iain Burnside in 2023-24. A video introducing this series can be found here. I also continue to be interested in the modernist prose writers of the early-Soviet period, particularly Andrei Platonov (on whom I wrote my doctorate) and Isaak Babel'.

My main areas of methodological expertise include theories of gender and sexuality, interdisciplinary approaches to the relationship between literature and the other arts, and the study of translation, reception and cultural exchange (with a particular interest in Russia, Britain, Scandinavia and Finland). I am a member of several international networks, including Writing 1900 (a research project jointly hosted by the University of Oxford and the Humboldt University in Berlin), and since 2015, I have served as an elected member of the Academic Advisory Board of the Tschaikowsky-Gesellschaft. Together with Alexandra Lloyd and Laura Tunbridge, I co-convened the Oxford Song Network: Poetry and Performance at TORCH (The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities), and between 2009 and 2024, I was one of the convenors of Study Group for Slavonic and East European Music (supported by the British Association for Slavonic and East European Studies).

Before coming to Oxford, I taught at the University of Wales, Bangor, and the UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies. I have held British Academy Postdoctoral and Mid-Career Fellowships, and in 2007, I was Edward T. Cone Member in Music Studies at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton. I spent the academic year 2016/17 as a fellow of the Institute for Advanced Study in Paris, supported by a EURIAS Senior Fellowship. In 2009, I received both the Philip Brett Award of the American Musicological Society, and a Philip Leverhulme Prize for Modern Languages. Along with Julie Curtis and Rajinder Dudrah, I was a member of Oxford's AHRC-funded Creative Multilingualism, as part of which I worked closely with the Oxford Lieder Festival. Between 2017 and 2020, I was Director of The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities (TORCH).

I particularly enjoy communicating academic ideas to a broader public, and have written and presented a number of talks and features on Russian literature and music that have been broadcast on BBC Radio 3, as well as contributing to an award-winning film documentary about Tchaikovsky. I have written programme notes, produced translations and given public talks for various organisations, including Garsington Opera, Welsh National Opera,  the Royal Opera House, Stuttgart Opera, the Philharmonia Orchestra, the Oxford Lieder Festival and Wigmore Hall (recordings of talks I gave in association with Garsington Opera can be found here and here, and a list of my collaborations can be found here).


In addition to teaching translation from and into Russian at various levels, I give lectures and tutorials on the full range of nineteenth and twentieth-century authors covered on the undergraduate course. I am particularly interested in interdisciplinary approaches to Russian literature, and have offered lecture series on 'Russian literary classics on the opera stage' and 'Russian literature and the visual arts'.

Graduate Teaching

I have supervised a number of graduate theses and dissertations, including studies of both Russian music and literature in interwar Paris, literary and political representation in late Imperial Russia, Vyacheslav Ivanov's reception of Nietzsche and Dionysus, Bronislava Nijinska's Polish ballets, the Soviet reception of Benjamin Britten, the representation and detection of crime in the novels of Dostoevsky and Zola, the role played by guitar poetry in Soviet film, Soviet translations of Shakespeare, the nineteenth-century Russian opera libretto, and the operas of Rodion Shchedrin. I also teach graduate courses on Russian modernism and on theories of gender and sexuality in modern Russian culture.


Books and edited volumes

Journal articles and book chapters

Other publications

  • 'Kobyz: Hearing Space, Seeing Silence', in Alim Sabitov and Nariman Skakov (eds), 14 Essays Inspired by the Sculptures of Erkin Mergenov (Stuttgart: Ibidem, 2010), pp.41-8, published in Russian as ‘Kobyz (1977)’, in Nariman Skakov (ed.), 14 esse o skul’pturakh Erkina Mergenova (Almaty: Interprint, 2010), pp.67-76
  • 'Prologo', in Alexander Pushkin, Historias de Belkin, trans. James and Marion Womack (Madrid: Nevsky Prospects, 2009), pp.7-19
  • '"How it Strikes a Contemporary": Literature and Culture in Contemporary Russia', in Peter J. S. Duncan (ed.), Convergence and Divergence: Russia and Eastern Europe into the Twenty-First Century (London: UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies, 2007), pp.163-8, previously published in Russian in Antopologicheskii forum, 5 (2006), 431-9
  • 'The Songs of Sergei Prokofiev: Texts and Contexts, Imitations and Interrogations', Three Oranges, 11 (2006), 17-22
  • Twenty entries (including ‘Romans’, ‘Soviet Opera’, ‘Post-Soviet Opera’)', in Karen Evans-Romaine, Helena Goscilo and Tatiana Smorodinskaya (eds), Routledge Encyclopedia of Contemporary Russian Culture (London: Routledge, 2006)
  • ‘Shostakovich and Literature’; ‘Isaak Babel′’ and ‘Konarmiia’; ‘Andrei Platonov’, ‘Kotlovan’, ‘Vozvrashchenie’, ‘Schastlivaia Moskva’ and ‘Chevengur’, in Robert Clark, Emory Elliott and Janet Todd (eds), The Literary Encyclopedia and Literary Dictionary