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The Corky McGuinness Award




Professor Rosamond “Corky” McGuinness (1929-2012)

Professor Rosamond "Corky" McGuinness was a distinguished music historian who was passionate about empowering people through education and equal rights. In 1947 Corky entered Vassar College, New York State, where she majored in music, showing early promise as a pianist. She might have pursued a career in the concert halls were it not for the fact she contracted an eye disease in 1951 which left her partially blind. Her interest turned instead to musicology and music history.

In 1969 she was appointed to a lectureship at Royal Holloway, where she remained until her retirement in 1995. Corky’s primary research interest was in the economic and business history of English music – the marketing of music, its sale and distribution in 18th century England, and the development at this time of a structured, media-conscious music industry, from which livings and reputations could be made. In particular, she was interested in the relationship between the music industry and the newspaper press in the Georgian era, realising that her inquiries would be materially assisted through the compilation of a register of musical data in London newspapers of the period. As a result, she developed the great Register of Musical data in London Newspapers 1660-1800, which she inaugurated at Royal Holloway in 1975.

Alongside this work, Corky was passionate about supporting those less fortunate, cancelling a holiday two days after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait after hearing an appeal for volunteers to man telephone lines to take calls from worried relatives whose family or friends were in Iraq and Kuwait. She was also active as an Independent Custody Visitor, preserving rights for those held in police custody, and regularly volunteered at soup kitchens in San Francisco to help those living with HIV/AIDS.

Corky was a quirky, unconventional but inspirational teacher and mentor and many of her former pupils are leading figures in musical performance, production and management internationally. As someone who spent a lot of her life supporting those in need, we wish to honour her contribution and commitment by establishing The Corky McGuinness Award to support postgraduate students in Musicology.

The need

A Master’s scholarship in Musicology would be of tremendous significance to the Department of Music at Royal Holloway because all public funding of musicology at Master’s level has disappeared. Until five years ago the Arts and Humanities Research Council offered funding for musicology, but this has since been withdrawn.  Charitable trusts that make funding available for students tend to favour those studying musical performance or composition, leaving musicology short of support. Royal Holloway’s Music Department is world renowned for its musicology, ranked near the top in the country for research in successive Research Excellence Framework surveys for two decades.  In recognition of its standing Her Majesty The Queen awarded the Department the only Regius Professorship in Music ever created.

Our ambition

Our ambitious goal is to establish a designated fund to enable the Corky McGuiness Award to endure for over a decade. As such we welcome any donation however big or small to help us reach this target.

If you would like to discuss the Award further please contact Diana Sankey in the Development and Alumni Relations Department on diana.sankey@royalholloway.ac.uk or on 01784 276611.

Make a gift

Use the secure online form below to make a donation. If you are a US taxpayer, you can make tax deductible donation through the American Foundation for Royal Holloway and Bedford New College, which is tax exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the US Internal Revenue Code. Gifts to the Foundation are deductible to the extent allowed by law. EIN: 26-3081914. 




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