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Dr Helen Coffey

Profile summary

  • Lecturer in Music
  • Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences
  • helen.coffey

Professional biography

Helen Coffey joined the Open University as a Research Assistant in 2007 and was appointed Lecturer in January 2012. She studied for a BA in German and Music at Royal Holloway, University of London, subsequently completing her MMus there in Advanced Musical Studies (Historical Musicology) with German. Following this, she read for a DPhil in Music at the University of Oxford. She spent two separate years in Germany as part of her university education: for her BA degree she studied for a year at the University of Constance, and research for her DPhil was carried out during a year’s residence in the south of the country while affiliated to the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg.

Research interests

 Collected Documents, vol. 1Helen’s research interests concern court and civic musical patronage in Britain and the Holy Roman Empire from the fifteenth to the eighteenth century. She is co-chair of the OU's Medieval and Early Modern Research Group and is also a member of the Literature and Music Research Group.

Helen has published on various aspects of the employment of civic and court musicians as a reflection of social and political developments. She has a particular interest in experiences of music in city and court life, as well as the movement of musicians between institutions across Europe. Her research has focused on musical patronage in the Empire of Maximilian I (1459-1519), most recently contributing to Musikleben des Spätmittelalters in der Region Österreicha project based at the University of Vienna. She was awarded a British Academy Small Research Grant in 2012 to carry out research in Hanover on musical patronage at the electoral court there c.1700. Helen is co-editor of the five-volume work George Frideric Handel: Collected Documents (CUP, 2013-) and a council member of the Handel Institute.

For details of Helen's publications please see her publications page.

Teaching interests

Helen has authored materials for A342 Central Questions in the Study of Musicboth parts of the MA in Music, and is currently writing for the new arts interdisciplinary level 1 module. She is on the presentation teams for AA100 The arts past and present and A342. She previously taught as an Associate Lecturer on A179, A870 and A877.  Helen is also responsible for PhD students in the Music Department.


Wind instrumentalists in the churches of Maximilian I’s Augsburg (2012)
Green, Helen
Historic Brass Society Journal, 24 (pp. 25-35)
Defining the city “trumpeter”: German civic identity and the employment of brass instrumentalists, c.1500 (2011)
Green, Helen
Journal of the Royal Musical Association, 136(1) (pp. 1-31)
City life and music for secular entertainment during the reign of Maximilian I (2017-03)
Coffey, Helen
In: Biddle, Ian and Gibson, Kirsten eds. Cultural Histories of Noise, Sound and Listening in Europe, 1300–1918 (pp. 171-185)
ISBN : 978-1-4094-4439-8 | Publisher : Routledge
Opera for the House of Brunswick-Lüneburg: Italian Singers at the Hanover Court (2017)
Coffey, Helen
In: Kaufold, Claudia; Strohmann, Nicole K. and Timms, Colin eds. Agostino Steffani: European Composer, Hanoverian Diplomat and Bishop in the Age of Leibniz (pp. 107-122)
ISBN : 978-3-8471-0709-5 | Publisher : Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht | Published : Goettingen
Meetings of City and Court: Music and Ceremony in the Imperial Cities of Maximilian I (2009)
Green, Helen
In: Hartmann, Sieglinde and Müller , Ulrich eds. Kaiser Maximilian I. (1459 bis 1519) und die Hofkultur seiner Zeit. Jahrbuch Der Oswald Von Wolkenstein Gesellschaft (pp. 261-274)
ISBN : 978-3-89500-664-7 | Publisher : Reichert
George Frideric Handel: collected documents: Volume 2: 1725-1734 (2015-06)
Burrows, Donald; Coffey, Helen; Greenacombe, John and Hicks, Anthony eds.
ISBN : 9781107019546 | Publisher : Cambridge University Press | Published : Cambridge
George Frideric Handel: collected documents: volume 1 1609-1725 (2013)
Burrows, Donald; Coffey, Helen; Greenacombe, John and Hicks, Anthony eds.
ISBN : 9781107019539 | Publisher : Cambridge University Press
Music for an Elector and King: the Hanover Hofkapelle during the reigns of George I and II (2015)
Coffey, Helen
In : Händel und die Musikgeschichte des Hauses Hannover (10-11 June 2014, Halle, Saale) (pp. 135-152)

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