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Professor Donald Burrows

Donald Burrows

Profile summary

Professional biography

Donald Burrows, Professor of Music at the Open University, is recognised internationally as a leading scholar on the life and music of George Frideric Handel. He is the author, co-author or editor of seven books about the composer, and the editor of several major music editions. He also has a special interest in the music of Edward Elgar, reflected in journal articles and music editions. His work is informed by considerable practical experience as a performer, principally as a conductor and keyboard player, but also as a violinist and singer.

 He is at present director of the ‘Handel Documents Project’, based at the Open University, to collect together documentary material from Handel’s lifetime relating to the composer: publication, eventually in five volumes, is in progress from Cambridge University Press. In the year 2000 he was awarded the Händelpreis der Stadt Halle, and in 2010 he received the award ‘Best Book of the Year, Classical Music Division’ from the Music Pen Club Japan for the Japanese edition of The Cambridge Companion to Handel. He is a Vice-president of the Händelgesellschaft, Chairman of The Handel Institute, and also Honorary President of the Abingdon and District Musical Society.  

Following the completion of his undergraduate studies in History and Music at Trinity Hall, Cambridge, (BA 1968; PGCE 1969; MA 1971), Donald Burrows worked as a provincial musician in Oxfordshire, teaching music, performing and conducting. He became a part-time postgraduate student at the Open University in 1977, completing his PhD on the subject of Handel and the English Chapel Royal in the Reigns of Queen Anne and King George I in 1981, the first PhD to be awarded in the University’s Music Department. In 1982 he became a Lecturer in Music at the Open University, receiving promotion to Senior Lecturer in 1989 and to Professor of Music in 1995. From 1991 to 2002 he was also Head of the Music Department.

While in Oxfordshire he conducted a substantial repertory of choral and orchestral music with the Abingdon and District Musical Society and the Wantage Choral Society, including a performance of Berlioz'sGrande Messe des Morts in Dorchester Abbey. With the Oxford Holiday Orchestra his performances included Elgar’s Symphonies 1 and 2. He conducted his first complete performance of Handel'sMessiah in 1971, marking the start of a specialist interest in Handel's music. In 1972-3 he reconstructed Handel's Anthem on the Peace, for which he conducted the first modern performance in 1973, accompanied by his first substantial article, in The Musical Times for December 1973. This was followed by the first modern performances of some of Handel's Chapel Royal music in 1975, and of orchestrally-accompanied anthems by William Croft in 1979. In 1990 he conducted Handel's oratorio Theodora at the Händel-festspiele in Halle-an-der-Saale, the city of Handel's birth. He has given lectures and seminars about Handel's music in Britain, Ireland, Germany, France, Italy, the USA, Canada, Australia and Japan. In 2004 he co-directed a performance/study day on Handel's church music for the London Handel Festival, conducting part of the evening concert performance. On 20 March 2005, coinciding with the publication of his book Handel and the English Chapel Royal (Oxford University Press), he conducted a programme of Handel's Music for the Chapel Royal, in his own editions, at the Episcopal Cathedral of St John, Albuquerque, New Mexico (USA), with the Cathedral Chamber Choir and a period-instrument orchestra, the Santa Fe Pro Musica. This was part of the 2005 International Handel Festival at Albuquerque and Santa Fe, running jointly with the biennial conference of the American Handel Society. In 2006-7 he also conducted performances of Handel's church music for the University of Portsmouth, and for the Deal and Walmer Handelian Society.

Research interests

Principal research interests

All aspects of the music and biography of Handel and his contemporaries, particularly in Britain, Germany and Italy. His music editions of works by Handel are complemented by a collected edition of the orchestrally-accompanied English church music by William Croft. Other interests include concert life in Britain in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the music of Edward Elgar, techniques for the study of musical sources (manuscripts, printed music and recordings), performance practice and the development of musical styles in Europe c. 1700-1900. Professor Burrows's publications reflect his wish to balance (and, where possible, connect) biographical, historical or social topics with the practical and stylistic aspects of music, so that his books and articles are complemented by musical editions for modern performers. Since 1992 he has been General Editor of the Novello Handel Edition, and since 1983 a member of the Redaktionskollegium (Editorial Board) of the Hallische Händel-Ausgabe. He has been a member of the Vorstand of the Georg Friedrich Händel-Gesellschaft since 1987 and a Vice-President since 1999. He was a founding member of the Handel Institute in 1983, and is now Chairman of the Trustees and Council. He was a member of the Advisory Board for the Maryland Handel Festival (University of Maryland, College Park, USA) from 1988 to 2001, and was also a member of the Advisory Board for Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart. From 1996 to 2000 he was a Board member of the Gerald Coke Handel Foundation (which he still serves as a member of the Collections Committee), and from 2000-2002 a member of the Advisory Committee for the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, The British Library. In 2000 he was awarded the Händel-Preis der Stadt Halle. Since June 2004 he has contributed to programmes on BBC Radio3 and Radio 4 on musical topics, including English choral singing and Handel's major oratorios. In April 2009 he appeared on The One Show, interviewed by Giles Brandreth on the River Thames about Handel's Water Music.

His edition of Handel's oratorio Samson received its first performances in February 2005 at Berkeley, California (four performances by the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, cond. Nicholas McGegan) and in May 2005 at the London Handel Festival (St. George's Church, Hanover Square, cond. Lawrence Cummings). His edition of Handel's opera Ariodante for the Hallische Händel-Ausgabe, published in 2008, received its first performance at the Halle Händel-festspiele in June 2007. Research for these music editions has been supported by a British Academy Research Grant. His forthcoming edition of Handel’s L’Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato received its first performance in April 2013 at the London Handel Festival (cond. Cummings). In 2013 also his edition of Imeneo was performed at the London Handel Festival in March (cond. Cummings) and in the ‘Radio 3 Live in Concert’ series in May (Barbican, cond. Christopher Hogwood). 
He is currently director of the 'Handel Documents' project, based at the The Open University’s London Regional Office, supported by a major grant from the Arts and Humanities Research Council and subvention from the Winton Dean Fund.

See also Open Research Online for further details of Donald Burrows’s research publications.


Handel's 'Messiah' x + 127 pp; ISNB 0-521-37479-0 and 0-521-37437-0. (Cambridge University Press, 1991)
A guide to the composition, performance history and structure of Handel's most famous oratorio; this book is still available in the 'Cambridge Music Handbooks' series. There is also a Korean edition (Imprima Korean Agency, Seoul, 2006, 184 pp., ISBN 89 8038 585 4 94670)

A Catalogue of Handel's Musical Autographs (with Martha J. Ronish), xxxix + 332 + 200 pp. ISBN 0-19-315250-9. (Oxford University Press, 1994)
More than 7,500 leaves of Handel's musical autographs survive today, in collections in Britain, Germany, Switzerland, Austria and the USA. The catalogue presents a survey of the complete repertory, identifying the musical contents with reference to standard collected editions of Handel's works, and recording the physical characteristics of each leaf: format, rastra (stave-rulings) and watermarks. All of the watermark figures are reproduced, in full size.

Handel, (Second Edition, Oxford University Press, New York), xv + 635 pp. ISBN 978-0-19-973736-9. 
A comprehensive biography of the composer, in the 'Master Musicians' series, with coverage of Handel's career and of all his major compositions. Appendices include a calendar and a list of works; the book also has genealogical tables of Handel's ancestry and the inter-related ruling dynasties of Hanover, Britain and Prussia. This book first appeared in 1994, published from Oxford, with revised reprints in 1996 and 2002; the text was thoroughly revised and considerably expanded for the second edition.

The Cambridge Companion to Handel (editor) (Cambridge University Press, 1997), xvi + 349 pp. ISBN 0-521-45425-5; 0-521-45613-4 (pbk).
A collection of essays by authors who have specialist knowledge of Handel's music and the contexts of his career. Part 1 (Background) deals with topics about contemporary musical life in Germany, Italy and London; Parts 2 and 3 cover Handel's music and its performance. There is also a revised Japanese edition (trans. Koko Fujie and Hiroko Kobayashi, Shunjusha Publishing Company, Tokyo, 2009, 527 + 82 pp. ISBN 798-4-393-93185-1

Music and Theatre in the Papers of James Harris and his family, 1732-1780 (with Rosemary Dunhill) (Oxford University Press, 2002.) xliv + 1212 pp., ISBN 0-19-816654-0. The boook provides transcriptions (with commentary) of all of the references to music and theatre during James Harris's lifetime, from the Malmesbury archive. They include several new first-hand descriptions of Handel and his performances, an unrivalled diary of London concert-going, and information about performances in London, Salisbury, Durham, Hertford, Madrid, Berlin and St Petersburg.

Handel and the English Chapel Royal (Oxford University Press, 2005), xxiv + 651 pp.; ISBN 0-19-816228-6.
This is the first full-length study of Handel's English Church music. As well as dealing with the many aspects of the compositions themselves, it traces the background to the diverse items in the repertory, which relates directly to Handel's constant but changing relationship with the Hanoverian British royal family, and was affected by political and dynastic events. It also examines the circumstances of Handel's performances, including the relevant buildings which (unlike his theatres) still survive in London today.

Handel’s Will: Facsimiles and Commentary, Editor and author of Introduction (pp. 5- 8) (The Gerald Coke Handel Foundation, London, 2008) 64 pp. ISBN 978-0-9560-9980-8 (hardback), 978-0-9560-9981-5 (paperback)
Handel wrote his will, in his own hand, on 1 June 1750; further signed codicils were added in 1756, 1757 and 1759. The two copies of his will and codicils are reproduced here, accompanied by other documents relating to the administration following the composer’s death in 1759, and preceded by essays on ‘Handel and his Will’ (Ellen Harris), ‘Handel’s German Relatives’ (Klaus Peter Koch), and ‘An Exceptional Estate’ (Richard Crewdson).

George Frideric Handel: Collected Documents (with Helen Coffey, John Greenacombe and Anthony Hicks). Forthcoming, Cambridge University Press. This collects together documentary texts from Handel’s lifetime referring to the composer and his music, with commentaries. Foreign-language texts are given in the original languages and in English translations. Volume I, covering the years 1609-1725, includes texts about Handel’s family, his early career in Halle, Hamburg, Rome, Naples, Venice and Hanover, and about the first fifteen years of his work in London. 

Music Editions

Works by Handel:
The Anthem on the Peace (Novello, Handel Edition, 1981)
This anthem was written for the same Peace celebrations in 1749 as Handel’s Fireworks Music. The original complete score is lost, but other sources enable reconstruction of the music, which includes recomposition of movements from Messiah.   

Alexander’s Feast (Novello Handel Edition, 1982)
Based on a thorough survey of all early sources, this edition presents two authentic versions of this Ode: Handel’s first version with soprano, tenor and bass soloists, and his later version incorporating a contralto. It is also the first edition of a work by Handel to take account of the original performing parts that show how the harpsichord and organ were used.

Foundling Hospital Anthem (Edition Peters, 1983)
This anthem with orchestral accompaniment was composed by Handel for a charity concert in 1749, as an all-choral work, and then revised by him to include soloists about two years later. The edition gives the two versions, as alternatives: both end with the ‘Hallelujah’ chorus from Messiah.

Complete Violin Sonatas (Edition Peters, 1985-6, 2 vols.)
Published editions of Handel’s solo sonatas from the composer’s lifetime included four sonatas of doubtful authenticity, but which nevertheless proved to be popular with violinists. This edition gives the complete repertory of Handel’s sonatas for violin, including theSonata a Cinque (violin concerto) with a keyboard arrangement of the orchestral accompaniment.

Messiah (Edition Peters, 1987)
Although somewhat controversial at its early London performances,Messiah was in the end the oratorio for which Handel gave the most performances, and inevitably he made changes from year to year to suit his combinations of soloists. This edition provides the music for the performance of eleven different authentic versions.

As Pants the Hart (Novello Handel Edition, 1988
This edition gives the anthem in two versions: as written by Handel for collegiate-style performance in the Chapel Royal in the 1720s (HWV 251c), and then expanded for oratorio-style performance in 1738 (HWV 251e).

Songs and Cantatas for Soprano and Continuo (Oxford University Press, 1988)
Aside from the arias in Handel’s operas and oratorios, there are several attractive pieces for soprano voice with modest accompaniment (for a keyboard instrument or a small ensemble). This anthology includes theatre songs written for the actress Kitty Clive, Italian cantatas with texts suitable for female characters, four authentic songs in diverse languages (French, German Spanish) and a selection of songs from early London publications.

Complete Hymns and Chorales (Novello, 1988)
Includes Handel's English hymns to words by Charles Wesley, with facsimiles of Handel's autograph, the edition by Samuel Wesley, and the related hymn-settings of J. F. Lampe.

Belshazzar (Novello Handel Edition, 1993)
The first modern edition of this major oratorio, based on a new review of the sources, giving the full music from Handel's original 1745 score and the variants from his 1751 revival.

Suite à deux Clavecins (Edition Breitkopf, 1998)
This engaging 4-movement suite was probably composed by Handel in Hamburg at the early stage of his career. Surviving sources give only the part for Harpsichord I; the music for second harpsichord has been reconstructed by the editor.

As Pants the Hart (Novello Handel Edition, 2000)
Handel’s first setting of this text (HWV 251a), for choir accompanied by organ. Originally composed for the singers of the Chapel Royal, this features an alto soloist: the setting of the English words is fluent and lively, but at the same time the music benefits from Handel’s previous musical experience in Germany and Italy.

ImeneoHallische Händel-Ausgabe, Serie II Band 40. pxii + 338 pp. ISMN M-006-49787-4. (Bärenreiter, 2002)
Imeneo was first composed by Handel in 1738, re-drafted in 1739 but not performed until 1740, during the composer's last season of operas in London. The main sources for the opera appear to be very muddled because of the layers of revisions, and further alterations relating to concert performances that Handel gave in Dublin in 1742. This is the first score to disentangle the work’s composition history and to present in complete form Handel's four versions of the opera.

Four Coronation Anthems (with Damian Cranmer), (Novello Handel Edition, 2002.) xi + 123pp. ISBN 0-7119-9589-3. The anthems are also published separately; Donald Burrows is sole editor of Let thy hand be strengthenedZadok the Priest and My heart is inditing.

Neun Deutsche Arien, (Breitkopf und Härtel, 2003.) 60 + 12 + 27 pp. ISMN M 004 18153 9. Includes commentary in English, and English translations of the German texts.

Samson (Novello Handel Edition, 2005). xxi + 300 pp. ISBN 1-84609-187-X. 
The first comprehensive modern edition of one of Handel's greatest oratorios, composed in 1741 as a 'twin' with Messiah. The edition includes all of the music for Handel's original 1743 performing version, and also a guide to his later shorter versions, with variant musical arrangements.

This is the Day (Novello Handel Edition, 2007). xiii + 40 pp. ISBN 13: 978-1-84449-084-4
Handel's grand anthem for the wedding of his student Princess Anne with the Prince of Orange in 1734 here receives its first modern edition, based on a survey of all surviving sources.

Ariodante, Hallische Händel-Ausgabe, Serie II Band 32, lxviii + 429 pp. (Bärenreiter, Kassel, 2007) ISMN M-006-49779-9; also Preface to Vocal Score ISMN M-006-53285-8. 
Ariodante is one of Handel’s best operas, both for drama and music. This score gives the work as performed by Handel in 1735, and also the version from his revival the following year, when music by other composers was introduced to suite the young castrato Gioacchino Conti.   

Händel Arienalbum (compiler, and author of prefaces). Six volumes of movements from Handel’s operas, selected according to the voices, and published by Bärenreiter, Kassel: Frauenrollen fur höhe Stimme aus Händels opern (2009, ISMN 979-0-006-53727-0); Männerrollen fur höhe Stimme aus Händels opern (2009, ISMN 979-0-006-53728-0);Duette, Terzette und Ensemblesätze aus Händels opern (2009, ISMN 979-0-006-53729-0); Arienalbum aus Händels Opern für Mezzosopran und Alt  (2010, ISMN 979-0-006-53932-1); Arienalbum aus Händels Opern für Tenor  (2010, ISMN 979-0-006-53933-8); Arienalbum aus Händels Opern für Bass (2010, IMN 979-0-006-53934-5).

Ode for St Cecilia’s Day, vocal score xiii + 62 pp. (Novello Handel Edition, Novello, London, 2009)  ISBN: 978-1-84772-906-4
Handel composed his setting of Dryden’s shorter Cecilian Ode as a companion-piece to Alexander’s Feast, but it is a complete free-standing work lasting about half an hour: an engaging combination of a major English poet and a major British composer.

Te Deum in A Major, vocal score ix + 32 pp. Novello Handel Edition, Novello, London, 2011  ISBN: 978-1-78038-356-9
More intimate in style than Handel’s grand ‘Utrecht’ and ‘Dettingen’ settings, this version of the Te Deum is for soloists, choir and a chamber orchestra, and features some of Handel’s most ambitious writing for bassoon.

Let God arise (Chapel Royal version), vocal score ix + 30 pp. Novello Handel Edition, Novello, London, 2011  ISBN: 978-1-78038-357-6
This anthem was composed as a companion-piece for the Te Deum in A Major, and includes music re-composed from one of the ‘Cannons’ anthems for the more conventional combination of voices in the Chapel Royal.

Works by other composers:

Edward Elgar, Salut d'Amour (versions for violin and piano, and piano solo); Chanson de Matin and Chanson de Nuit (Edition Peters, 1995)
The edition of Salut d’Amour for violin and piano includes Elgar’s original version as well as the later, more familiar, re-working. The piano solo version is edited with reference to both printed and manuscript sources.

William Croft, Canticles and Anthems with Orchestra (Musica Britannicaxci), full score li + 234 pp. (Stainer and Bell, London, 2011)  ISMN: 979 0 2202 2272 6; ISBN 978 0 85249 917 7; ISSN 0580-2954
Croft was the most important English composer in London when Handel arrived there in 1710, and had been brought up as a chorister in the Chapel Royal during Henry Purcell’s last years. His music provides an important stylistic link between Purcell and Handel, but also shows Croft’s individual quality as a composer in this important English repertory.

Principal articles and book chapters since 2004

'Something necessary to the connection: Charles Jennens, James Hunter and Handel's Samson', The Handel Institute Newsletter 15/1 (Spring 2004), pp.1-3 ISSN 0962-7960

'Orchestras in the new cathedral', in Derek Keene, Arthur Burns and Andrew Saint (eds) St. Paul's, The Cathedral Church of London, 1604-2004 (Yale University Press, 2004) pp. 399-402 ISBN 0-300-09276-8

'Musicians and Music Copyists in Mid-Eighteenth-Century Oxford' (with Peter Ward Jones), in Susan Wollenberg and Simon McVeigh (eds.), Concert Life in Eighteenth-Century Britain (Ashgate, 2004), pp. 115-139 ISBN 0-7546-3868-5 [see also ‘An inventory of mid-eighteenth-century Oxford musical hands’ (with Peter Ward Jones), in Jonathan P. Wainwright (ed.), Royal Musical Association Research Chronicle 35 (2002, published 2003), pp. 61-139. ISSN 1472-3808.] 

'Which style? The performance of the Overture to Messiah', Händel-Jahrbuch Jg. 50 (2004), pp. 185-195 ISSN 3-7618-1444-5

'Handel and the London opera companies in the 1730s: venues, programmes, patronage and performers', in Hans Joachim Marx (ed)Göttinger Händel-Beiträge X, (Göttingen, 2004), pp. 149-165. ISBN 3-525-27821-7

'Handel's 1736 Performances of Ariodante', in Patrizia Radicchi and Michael Burden (eds.), Florilegium Musicae: Studi in onore di Carolyn Gianturco (Edizioni ETS, Pisa, 2004), pp. 429-446. ISBN 88-467-1125-4

'Aesthetics and Politics: Italian Opera as revealed in the Correspondence of James Harris', La Revue LISA/LISA e-journal, Vol. 2 No. 3 (2004), pp. 1-18; ISSN 1762-6153

'German Chorales and English Hymns: the work of three Germans in London (Jacobi, Lampe and Handel), Händel-Jahrbuch Jg. 51 (2005), pp. 235-251; ISBN 3-7618-1445-3; ISSN 0440-0992

'The word-books for Handel's Samson', The Musical Times, Spring 2005, pp. 7-15; ISSN 0027 4666

(with William Weber) ‘Henry Purcell and The Universal Journal: The Building of Musical Canon in the 1720s’, in Jeffrey H. Jackson and Stanley C. Pelkey (eds.), Music and History: Bridging the Disciplines(University of Mississippi Press, Jackson, 2005), pp. 181-199; ISBN 1-57806-762-6

‘From Milton to Handel: the Transformation of Milton’s L’Allegro and Il Penseroso into a Musical Work for Performance in the London Theatres’, in Claire Bardelmann and Pierre Degott (eds.), Musique et théâtricalité dans les îsles Brittaniques (Centre d’Étude des Textes et Traductions, Université Paul Verlaine – Metz, 2005), pp. 73-89, ISBN 2-9517096-6-8 – EAN 9782951709669

‘“Mr Harris’s Score’: A New Look at the “Mathews” Manuscript of Handel’s “Messiah”’, Music & Letters, Vol. 86 No. 4 (November 2005), pp. 560-572. ISSN 0027-4224

‘Handel and the English Chapel Royal’, Royal College of Organists Yearbook 2004-5 (Royal College of Organists, 2005), pp. 54-8, ISBN 0-902462-15-6

‘Two connections completed’, The Handel Institute Newsletter, Vol. 16 No. 2 (Autumn 2005), pp. 9-11; also concert review pp. 8-9. ISSN 0962-7960

‘The trail of the Samson word-books’, Newsletter of The American Handel Society, Vol. XX No. 2 (December 2005), pp. 00-00. ISSN 0888/8701

‘Two more musical autographs by Handel’, Göttinger Händel-BeiträgeXI (2006), pp. 41-62. ISBN 3-525-27822-5

‘Handel, Walsh, Sonatas and Concertos in the early 1730s’ The Handel Institute Newsletter, Vol. 17 No. 1 (Spring 2006), pp. 1-3; see also 'Walsh's edition of Handel's Solos',Vol. 19 No 1 (Spring 2008), p. 4. ISSN 0962-7960

‘Handel’s use of soloists in Samson: characterisation versus practical necessity’, Handel-Jahrbuch, 52. Jg (2006), pp. 37-47. ISSN 0440-0992

‘More than just an editor’, in Richard Lyne (ed.), Reminiscence and Recollection [memoirs of Watkins Shaw, 1911-1996], pp. 36-38, Church Music Society, 2006

‘Perhaps Handel was right after all: some thoughts on editing Ariodante’, The Musical Times, Vol. 148 No. 1898 (Spring 2007), pp. 35-48 ISBN 0027 4666

'Did Handel perform a Pergolesi aria?', The Handel Institute Newsletter, Vol 18 No 1 (Spring 2007) pp. 1-3. ISSB 0962-7960

'Making the "classic" accessible: Vincent Novello's vocal scores of Handel's oratorios', Händel-Jahrbuch, Jg. 53 (2007).pp. 103-128 ISSN 0440-0992

'Singing the Hallelujah Chorus, still', The Handel Institute Newsletter, Vol 18 No 2 (Autumn 2007), pp. 4-6; also 'The Handel Documents Project', pp. 7-8. ISSN 0962-7960

'The composition of three arias in Handel's Ariodante', Handel-Jahrbuch, 54. Jahrgang (2008), pp. 131-149 ISSN 0440-0992

‘Handel’s England (1710-1759)’, in BBC Music Magazine, January 2009, pp. 32-35

‘John Walsh and his Handel Editions’, in Robin Myers, Michael Harris and Giles Mandelbrote (eds), Music and the Book Trade from the Sixteenth to the Twentieth Century (New Castle, Delaware, and [The British Library], London, 2008), pp. 69-104. ISBN 978-1-58456-245-0 / 978 0 7123 5030 3.

Commentary to Georg Friedrich Händel, ‘Messiah’ HWV 56 (Documenta Musicologica, Zweite Reihe, Handschriften –Faksimiles Band xl; Kassel, 2008), pp. 1-55 (English / German / Japanese texts) ISBN 978-3-7618-2109-1; also published as Introduction to Handel, ‘Messiah’: the composer’s autograph manuscript…in facsimile (The British Library, 2009), pp. 7-21. ISBN 978 0 7123 5068 6.

‘Who does what, when? On the instrumentation of the Basso Continuo and the use of the organ in Handel’s English oratorios’, in Richard G. King (ed.), Handel Studies: a Gedenkschrift for Howard Serwer (Hillsdale, NY, 2009), pp. 107-     126. ISBN 978-1-57647-154-8.

‘The Royal Music Library and its Handel collection’, The Electronic British Library Journal, Article 2 2009 (Available online in PDF format 2.94MB)

‘A Sacred Oratorio for the Theatre: an Experiment that nearly failed’,Händel-Jahrbuch, 55. Jg. (2009), pp. 135-144)

‘Eternal source for speculation: Handel’s Birthday Ode for Queen Anne’, The Handel Institute Newsletter, Vol. 20 No. 2 (Autumn 2009), pp. 5-7  ISSN 0962-7960

25 articles in Annette Landgraf and David Vickers (eds.), The Cambridge Handel Encyclopedia, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2009  ISBN 978-0-521-88192-0    

‘Didn’t Handel go to Oxford in 1749?’, The Musical Times, Winter 2009, pp. 31-8; ISSN 0027 4666

‘“I feel that what I saw is really worthless’: Elgar and the Chapel Royal part-books’, The Elgar Society Journal 16/4 (March 2010), pp. 9-22. ISSN 0143-1269

‘Lists of Musicians for Performances of Handel’s Messiah at the Foundling Hospital, 1754-1777’, Royal Musical Association Research Chronicle 43 (2010), pp. 85-109  ISSN 1472-3808

‘What we know – and what we don’t know – about Handel’s career in Rome’, in Sabine Ehrmann-Herfort and Matthias Schnettger (eds.),George Friedrich Händel in RomAnalecta musicologica Band 44 (Bärenreiter, Kassel, 2010),    pp. 97-108. ISBN 978-3-7618-2130-5

‘Not such a ‘low employment’: Dr Johnson and editing’, Newsletter of the American Handel Society, Vol. 25 No. 3 (Winter 2010), pp. [4-5]  ISSN 0888-8701

‘HWV 301 and all that: the history of Handel’s “oboe concertos”, The Musical Times, vol. 152/1 (Spring 2011), pp. 3-6.  ISSN 0027 4666

‘“Sometimes it is impossible to guess why Handel was so scrupulous”: Handel’s versions of the aria ‘Thou art gone up on high’ in Messiah’, in Wolfgang Hirschmann (ed.), Aria. Eine Festschrift for Wolfgang Ruf. (Olms, Hildesheim, 2011), pp. 280-307. ISBN: 978-3-487-14711-6; ISSN 0176-0033

‘Good for the Garden: The Composition of Handel’s Ariodante’, in Berta Joncus and Jeremy Barlow (eds.), “The Stage’s Glory”: John Rich 1692-1761, pp. 149-56. (University of Delaware Press / The Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group, Inc., 2011)  ISBN: 978-1-61149-032-9; eISBN: 978-1-61149-033-6

‘A German in London: the trail of a “European” music copyist’,Händel-Jahrbuch, 58. Jahrgang (2012), pp. 130-149  ISSN 0440-0992

‘The Balfour Handel Collection’, Understanding Bach, vol. 6 (2012), pp. 53-55. Read this online.

‘The re-composition of Handel’s Italian music for London in Rinaldo’, in Wolfgang Birtel (ed.), Händels Weg von Rom nach London (Are Musik VerlagsGmbH, Mainz, 2012), pp. 63-83. ISBN 978-3-92452241-4

‘Reconstructing Handel’s performances of L’Allegro’, The Musical Timesvol. 154/1 (Spring 2013), pp. 69-76.  ISSN 0027 4666

‘A new Handel letter’, The Handel Institute Newsletter vol.24/1 (Spring 2013), pp. 1-2; also (with Paul Tindall) ‘Gustavus Waltz: a new discovery’, pp. 3-4  ISSN 0962-7960

‘The English Chapel Royal as the intersection of religion and politics in Hanoverian London’, Händel-Jahrbuch, 59. Jahrgang (2013), pp.   ISSN 0440-0992


Current Projects

George Frideric Handel: Collected Documents. A comprehensive collection of texts from Handel’s lifetime referring to the composer, his music, and the circumstances of his career. To be published, in five volumes, by Cambridge University Press.

Music edition of Handel, L’Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato, to be published in the Novello Handel Edition.

Conference/seminar papers, pre-performance talks etc.since 2009

This list does not include papers that were subsequently published as articles.

‘Retracing Handel’s steps in Ariodante’, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland (USA), 24 February 2009  

‘Crossing the bridge: the orchestrally-accompanied church music of William Croft’, American Handel Society Conference, Centre College, Danville, Kentucky (USA), 28 February 2009

‘Handel and the English organ concerto’, The English Organ Concerto in the Eighteenth Century, Peacock Room, Trinity College of Music, London (London Handel Festival, in partnership with the Royal College of  Organists and Trinity College of Music), 12 March 2009 

‘Chasing the Royal Music Library – a lot of Handel and a little Mendelssohn’, Purcell, Handel, Haydn, Mendelssohn: anniversary reflections, conference, New College, Oxford, 29 March 2009
‘Handel’s first decade in London’, Wimbledon Community Centre, 31 March 2009

Guest speaker for book launch, Irish Musical Studies 10, St Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin, 25 April 2009 

‘The circumstances of the composition and performance of Ariodante’, Study session on Handel’s opera Ariodante, University Music School, Cambridge, 2 May 2009 

‘Handel’s Funeral Anthem for Queen Caroline and its Italian-text version’, pre-performance talk (University of Portsmouth Choir and The Consort of Twelve), Theatre Royal, Portsmouth, 9 May 2009 
Messiah at the Foundling Hospital – the performances by Handel, Smith and Giardini’, Foundling Hospital Museum, 27 May 2009 

‘Handel’s Messiah: the work of the editor’, Lecture, Derby Cathedral, 5 September 2009

‘Too hot to Handel? Performers, audiences, scholars and attitudes to “authenticity”’, 2009 Frank Callaway Lecture, The University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia, 20 September 2009

‘Writing Handel’s Biography’, Symposium ‘George Frederick Handel, The Glory of the Baroque’, Institute of Advanced Studies, The  University of Western Australia, University Club Theatre Auditorium, Perth, Australia, 21 September 2009

‘Handel’s Partenope’, pre-performance talk, English National Opera, London Coliseum, 18 October 2009

‘Handel and his London singers’, Grove Forum (public seminar series) pre-concert talk for ‘An evening with Handel’ (RCM/English Touring  Opera), Inner Parry Room, Royal College of Music, London, 22 October 2009

Principal lecturer (2 papers), ‘Handel Insight Day’, The Sixteen 30th Anniversary, National Centre for Early Music, York, 1 November 2009

Joint chair of programme committee, International Anniversary Conference ‘Handel, Purcell and Literature’, School of Advanced Study, Senate House, London, 19-21 November 2009

‘Handel’s Messiah’, pre-performance talk, University of York, 9 December 2009

‘Handel the opera composer’, Lecture-Seminar, University of Hull, 23 February 2010

‘How Handel composed an aria in Ariodante’, Maynooth, Eire, 26 March 2010

19 June 2010 ‘Handel’s Ariodante: from composition to performance’, Princeton University, U.S.A.

‘The Handel Documents Project’ American Handel Society Conference, Seattle, U.S.A., March 2011 (also seminar, ‘What do we know about Handel?’ for the Seattle Baroque Festival).

‘What do we know about the first performances of Agrippina?’, Study Day, Cambridge Handel Opera, Faculty of Music, Cambridge, 7 May 2011

‘Turning the Handel: how Handel’s music survived 250 years’, keynote paper for conference ‘Handel after Handel’, University of Tours, 19 October 2012

‘Handel and the Organ’, lecture for Portsmouth Organists’ Association, St Cuthbert’s Church, Copnor, 10 November 2012

‘Handel, the Hanoverians and the Maxwells: George I and II in London society and how this affected Handel’, Handel Institute Conference, Foundling Museum, London, 23 November 2012

‘Milton from the Lego box: the composition and revision of Handel’sL’Allegroil Penseroso ed il Moderato’, American Handel Society Conference, Princeton University (USA), February 2013.

‘Handel’s Imeneo’, pre-performance talk for performance at the London Handel Festival, Royal College of Music, 12 March 2013

‘Wedding or warfare? The opera season of 1735-1736 in Handel’s career’, Study session on Handel’s opera Atalanta, Faculty of Music, University of Cambridge, 4 May 2013

‘Handel, the British Court and the London public’, Symposium ‘The Power of Musick – Music and Politics in Georgian London’, German Historical Institute, London, 14 June 2013   

‘Handel in London: a documentary journey’, AOUG Foundation Lecture, The Open University, Milton Keynes, 4 October 2013.

‘The power of music – the significance of Handel’s Alexander’s Feastin his career’, Internationale Wissenschaftliche Konferenz ‘Macht und Ohnmacht der Musik: Händel der Staatskomponist’, Händel-Haus Halle, November 2013

Contributions to Open University Courses

Donald Burrows was Chair of the second-level course Understanding Music (A214) from its introduction in 1994 until its final year of presentation in 2010. As well as contributing as an author to that course, he has written for the Arts Foundation Course (A102),Beethoven (A314), Culture and Belief in Europe 1450-1600 (A205); for the third-level music courses From Composition to Performance(AA302) and Studies in Music 1750-2000 (AA341); courses A870 and A871 in the taught Music MA programme; and for the courses From Enlightenment to Romanticism (A207; study units on Mozart's Don Giovanni) and The Technology of Music (TA225). He is the presenter of two DVD sequences for A214, (originally made as BBC programmes) and of a DVD/video sequence on the history of music printing for TA225. He also composed the songs for the broadcast performance of T.S. Eliot's Sweeney Agonistes for the course Literature in the Modern World (A319), and an unaccompanied choral work, Cecilia's Choir, for the Open University Choir in 1998.

Teaching interests

His teaching at the Open University is represented in course material (printed, audio and video), including contributions on the music of Mozart and Beethoven, and for the course on the Technology of Music. From 1994 to 2010 he was course team chair throughout the presentation period of the second-level course A214Understanding Music, which was taken by 10,000 students. During his career at the Open University he has been responsible for teaching or directing 56 weeks of the residential schools for courses A304, A314 and A214.


Correcting the ‘grossest faults’: Charles Jennens and the Composition of Handel’s Messiah (2023-11)
Burrows, Donald
Music & Letters, 104(4) (pp. 533-566)

King George III and the ‘Smith Collection’ of Handel manuscripts (2023-05)
Burrows, Donald
Early Music, 51(2) (pp. 217-233)

Handel’s singers from the London choirs (2021-05)
Burrows, Donald
Early Music, 49(2) (pp. 173-183)

HWV301 and all that: the history of Handel’s 'oboe concertos' (2011-04)
Burrows, Donald
Musical Times, 152(1914) (pp. 3-6)

Lists of Musicians for Performances of Handel’s Messiah at the Foundling Hospital, 1754-1777 (2010)
Burrows, Donald
Royal Musical Association Research Chronicle, 43 (pp. 85-109)

Bringing Europe to Britain: Handel’s first decade in London (2010)
Burrows, Donald
Händel-Jahrbuch, 56 (pp. 65-77)

Didn’t Handel go to Oxford in 1749? (2009-01)
Burrows, Donald
Musical Times, 150(1909) (pp. 31-38)

The Royal Music Library and its Handel collection (2009)
Burrows, Donald
The Electronic British Library Journal, 2009, Article 2

A Sacred Oratorio for the Theatre: an Experiment that nearly failed (2009)
Burrows, Donald
Händel-Jahrbuch, 55 (pp. 135-144)

‘The composition of three arias in Handel’s Ariodante’ (2008)
Burrows, Donald
Händel-Jahrbuch, 54 (pp. 131-149)

Perhaps Handel was right after all: some thoughts on editing 'Ariodante' (2007)
Burrows, D.
The Musical Times, 148(1898) (pp. 35-48)

Mr Harris’s Score’: A new look at the ‘Mathews’ manuscript of Handel’s ‘Messiah’ (2005-11)
Burrows, Donald
Music & Letters, 86(4) (pp. 560-572)

The word-books for Handel's performances of 'Samson' (2005)
Burrows, Donald
Musical Times, 146(1890) (pp. 7-15)

The Word-Books for Handel's Performances of "Samson" (2005)
Burrows, Donald
The Musical Times, 146(1890) (pp. 7-15)

An Inventory of Mid-Eighteenth-Century Oxford Musical Hands (2003)
Ward Jones, Peter and Burrows, Donald
Royal Musical Association Research Chronicle(35) (pp. 61-139)

Handel (2012-06-15)
Burrows, Donald
ISBN : 9780199737369 | Publisher : Oxford University Press | Published : New York

Handel and the English Chapel Royal (revised paperback edition) (2008-08-07)
Burrows, Donald
Oxford Studies in British Church Music
ISBN : 978-0-19-955096-8 | Publisher : Oxford University Press | Published : Oxford

Handel and the English Chapel Royal (2005-03-17)
Burrows, Donald
Oxford Studies in British Church Music
ISBN : 198162286 | Publisher : Oxford University Press | Published : Oxford, UK

Music and theatre in Handel's world : the family papers of James Harris 1732-1780 (2002-02-21)
Burrows, Donald and Dunhill, Rosemary
ISBN : 198166540 | Publisher : Oxford University Press | Published : Oxford, UK

Handel's Messiah (Korean edition) (1991)
Burrows, Donald
Cambridge music handbooks
ISBN : 521374790 | Publisher : Imprima Korean Agency | Published : Seoul

Handel, the British Court and the London public (2014-02-01)
Burrows, Donald
In: Marx, H. J. and Sandberger, Wolfberger eds. Göttinger Händel-Beiträge XV (pp. 109-118)
ISBN : 978-3525278321 | Publisher : Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht | Published : Göttingen

The Power of Music - the significance of "Alexander's Feast" in Handel's London career (2014-02-01)
Burrows, Donald
In: Händel-Jahrbuch 2014, 60(BVK 1454) (pp. 243-252)
ISBN : 9783761814543 | Publisher : Bärenreiter

“Sometimes it is impossible to guess why Handel was so scrupulous”: Handel’s versions of the aria ‘Thou art gone up on high’ in "Messiah" (2011)
Burrows, Donald
In: Hirschmann, Wolfgang ed. Aria. Eine Festschrift für Wolklfgang Ruf. Studien und Materialien zur Musikwissenschaft (65) (pp. 280-307)
ISBN : 9783487147116 | Publisher : Georg Olms | Published : Hildesheim

Good for the garden: the composition of Handel’s Ariodante (2011)
Burrows, Donald
In: Joncus, Berta and Barlow, Jeremy eds. The Stage's Glory: John Rich 1692-1761 (pp. 149-156)
ISBN : 978-1-61149-032-9 | Publisher : University of Delaware Press / Rowman and Littlefield | Published : Newark / Lanham, MD.

What we know – and what we don’t know – about Handel’s career in Rome (2010)
Burrows, Donald
In: Ehrmann-Herfort, Sabine and Schnettger, Matthias eds. Georg Friedrich Händel in Rom. Analecta Musicologica (44) (pp. 97-108)
ISBN : 978-3-7618-2131-5 | Publisher : Barenreiter

Who does what, when? On the instrumentation of the basso continuo and the use of the organ in Handel’s English oratorios (2009)
Burrows, Donald
In: King, Richard G. ed. Handel Studies: a Gedenkschrift for Howard Serwer (pp. 107-126)
ISBN : 978-1576471548 | Publisher : Pendragon | Published : Hillsdale, NY

Die Kastratenrollen in Händels Londoner Opern (2009)
Burrows, Donald
In: Jacobshagen, Arnold and Mucke, Panja eds. Handels Opern. Das Handbuch. Das Händel-Handbuch (2) (pp. 143-163)
ISBN : 978-3890076867 | Publisher : Laaber

John Walsh and his Handel editions (2008-12-01)
Burrows, Donald
In: Myers, Robin; Harris, Michael and Mandelbrote, Giles eds. Music and the Book Trade from the Sixteenth to the Twentieth Century (pp. 69-104)
ISBN : 9781584562450 | Publisher : The British Library | Published : London

Henry Purcell and The Universal Journal: the building of musical canon in the 1720s (2005)
Weber, William and Burrows, Donald
In: Jackson, Jeffrey H and Pelkey, Stanley C eds. Music and History: Bridging the Disciplines (pp. 181-199)
ISBN : 1578067626 | Publisher : University Press of Mississippi | Published : Jackson

Musicians and music copyists in mid-eighteenth-century Oxford (2004)
Burrows, Donald
In: Wollenberg, Susan and McVeigh, Simon eds. Concert Life in Eighteenth-Century Britain (pp. 115-140)
ISBN : 754638685 | Publisher : Ashgate | Published : Aldershot

Orchestras in the new Cathedral (2004)
Burrows, Donald
In: Keene, Derek; Burns, Arthur and Saint, Andrew eds. St Paul’s: The Cathedral Church of London, 604-2004
ISBN : 300092768 | Publisher : Yale University Press | Published : London

George Frideric Handel: Collected Documents, Volume 4. 1742-1750 (2020-03)
Burrows, Donald; Coffey, Helen; Greenacombe, John and Hicks, Anthony eds.
ISBN : 9781107080218 | Publisher : Cambridge University Press

George Frideric Handel: Collected Documents. Volume 3. 1734–1742 (2018-10-31)
Burrows, Donald; Coffey, Helen; Greenacombe, John and Hicks, Anthony eds.
ISBN : 9781107019553 | Publisher : Cambridge University Press

George Frideric Handel: Collected Documents: Volume 2: 1725-1734 (2015-06-30)
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

Handel's Will: Facsimiles and Commentary (2009)
Burrows, Donald ed.
ISBN : 9780956099808 | Publisher : Gerald Coke Handel Foundation | Published : London

Georg Friedrich Händel, ‘Messiah’ (2009)
Burrows, Donald ed.
Documenta Musicologica, Zweite Reihe, Handschriften
ISBN : 978-3-7618-2109-1 | Publisher : Barenreiter | Published : Kassel, Germany

Handel and the English Chapel Royal during the reigns of Queen Anne and King George I (1981)
Burrows, Donald James
PhD thesis The Open University

G. F. Handel: L'Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato (2015)
Burrows, Donald
Novello and Company, London.

Canticles and anthems with orchestra (2011)
Croft, William
Stainer and Bell, London.

G. F. Handel: Te Deum in A Major (2011)
Burrows, Donald
Novello and Company, London.

G. F. Handel: Let God arise (Chapel Royal version) (2011)
Burrows, Donald
Novello and Company, London.

Händel: Arienalbum, Frauenrollen für hohe Stimme aus Händels opern (2009)
Burrows, Donald
Bärenreiter, Kassel.

G. F. Handel, Ode for St Cecilia's Day - the New Novello Choral edition (2009)
Burrows, Donald
Novello & Company

An edition with preface of G. F. Handel, Samson (2005)
Burrows, Donald
Novello & Co. Ltd., London, UK.

An edition with preface of G. F. Handel, Imeneo, HWV 41 (2002)
Burrows, Donald
Bärenreiter, Kassel, Germany.