Peter Bennett

Department of Music
College of Arts and Sciences
Head of Historical Performance Practice
Department of Music
College of Arts and Sciences

Active as both a scholar and performer, Peter Bennett teaches in the Musicology and Historical Performance Practice programs at CWRU. A scholar of early-modern France – focusing in particular on the intersection of music, religion, and politics in Louis XIII’s Paris – he has also long been active as a harpsichordist and organist, in Europe (where he studied) and the USA.

Musicology. Bennett holds degrees from Cambridge (B.A./M.A., Natural Sciences), King’s College, London (M.Mus.), and Oxford (D.Phil.), and was appointed to the CWRU faculty in 2005. He has published articles in the Journal of the American Musicological Society, Early Music, and the Revue de Musicologie, and his first book, Sacred repertories in Paris under Louis XIII (Ashgate, 2009), appeared in the Royal Musical Association Monograph series. In 2015-16 he was a Le Studium Fellow at the Centre d’Études Supérieures de la Renaissance, Tours, where he worked on a project exploring the role that music and liturgy played in Louis XIII’s ceremonial entrées during the religious wars of the 1620s. The project culminated in an international conference on early modern ceremonial and in the publication (with Bernard Dompnier, co-editor) of Cérémonial politique et cérémonial religieux dans l’Europe modern: Échanges et métissages (Classiques Garnier, 2020). His latest book, Music and Power at the Court of Louis XIII: Sounding the Liturgy in Early Modern France (Cambridge University Press, 2021), also draws on his research in France and considers issues of power and absolutism through the lens of court liturgical and musical practices, as revealed through detailed archival and codicological studies.

Historical Performance Practice/Early Keyboard. Bennett studied organ in Cambridge (Nicolas Kynaston) and Vienna (Peter Planyavsky) before taking up the harpsichord, studying in London (Jill Severs) and Siena (Academia Chigiana, Kenneth Gilbert). After working as an organist at several prestigious London churches, and as a continuo player with numerous period and modern ensembles and orchestras in London, he founded Ensemble Dumont (1995-2003), a consort of singers, viols and continuo which he directed from the keyboard and with which he appeared in the UK and Europe, performing at the Bruges (Belgium) and Innsbruck (Austria) Early Music Festivals, the MDR-Sommer Festival (Germany), and the Wigmore Hall, London, also broadcasting on the BBC, RAI (Italy), MDR/SWR (Germany), and R3 (Belgium). The ensemble’s recordings for Linn Records received accolades from Gramophone Magazine (Editor’s Choice “meltingly gorgeous”, and Critics’ Choice “one of the year’s most beautiful releases … sublime performances”), Diapason (“Est-il pourtant disque plus sensuel, plus ravissant que celui-ci?”), BBC Music Magazine (”performed with gracefulness and sensibility”), Le Monde de la Musique, and others. In Cleveland Bennett teaches harpsichord in the CWRU HPP program and at CIM (where he is Head of Harpsichord), and plays regularly with Apollo’s Fire, the Cleveland Baroque Orchestra.

Teaching Information

Courses Taught

Baroque Music
Historical Performance Practice
Baroque Vocal Ensembles


Doctor of Philosophy
Oxford University