Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

Staff Profile

Professor Eric Cross

Professor of Music and Culture



I was educated in Norwich and at Birmingham University, where I graduated with the degree of BMus before completing my PhD dissertation on the operas of Antonio Vivaldi under Nigel Fortune. I joined the staff of Newcastle University as Lecturer in 1978, becoming first Senior Lecturer in Music and then Head of Department. In 1994 I was appointed Dean of the Faculty of Arts, later becoming Dean of Undergraduate Studies and Cultural Affairs of the new Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. Since January 2006 I relinquished the undergraduate studies portfolio to concentrate on cultural affairs.  I was Dean of Cultural Affairs from 2002-18, responsible for fostering links between the University and the region in all areas of cultural activity, especially relating to the Great North Museum and the Hatton Gallery. I was the founding Director of the Newcastle University Institute for Creative Arts Practice and have been closely involved in the establishment of the Newcastle Confucius Institute.

Roles and Responsibilities

My main responsibility now is as Principal Investigator for Creative Fuse North East, a major research project in partnership with Durham, Northumbria, Sunderland and Teesside Universities.

I am also conductor of the Newcastle Bach Choir and director of the Newcastle Early Music Festival.


BMus (Birmingham)
PGCE (Birmingham)
PhD (Birmingham)


Royal Musical Association
Literary & Philosophical Society
Board member of Live Music Now and International Newcastle


Research Interests

My musicological research interests lie mainly in Italian baroque opera, especially the works of Vivaldi. I have published in many of the leading British musicological journals, and have prepared scores of several complete Vivaldi operas for performances in New York, Denmark, Germany and Poland, and in England by the English Bach and Buxton Festivals and for the Chandos and Naive recordings of Ottone in villa. I have also published on Benjamin Britten and Charles Avison.

More recently I have developed a research profile in cultural policy and have published on the contribution of Higher Education to regional cultural development, on the Great North Museum project, and in relation to Creative Fuse North East.

Other Expertise


Cultural and creative industries 

Research projects

I am currently Principal Investigator for Creative Fuse North East. Led by Newcastle University in partnership with Durham, Northumbria, Sunderland and Teesside Universities and funded by Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) along with the universities, ERDF and Arts Council England, Creative Fuse North East is researching the ‘fusion’ of creativity, culture and digital technology. It is delivered by the five North East universities, under the auspices of the North East Culture Partnership, supported by the National Centre for Universities and Business (NCUB) and a range of businesses, stakeholders and practitioners across the Creative, Digital and IT (CDIT) sectors. It explores how the CDIT sector in the North East of England can grow and contribute more strongly to the regional economy, assessing and developing new ways of collaborative working across Higher Education and the CDIT sector to address the need for the right skills and aptitudes for a sustainable industry into the future. Creative Fuse North East seeks to be ‘regionally significant and nationally relevant’. It began on 1 May 2016 and will last for 30 months.


I was also Principal Investigator for the following research projects:

Ageing Creatively: an 18-month pilot study, funded by the MRC through the Lifelong Health and Wellbeing programme, to explore the relationship between creative arts interventions and wellbeing in later life.


The Cutting Edge: a 12-month project, funded by the JISC, bringing together different sources of information relating to several important archaeological and World Cultures collections within the Great North Museum and the wider Tyne & Wear Archives and Museums collections.                                    


Northumbrian Exchanges: an 18-month AHRC Knowledge Exchange project focusing on the under-researched contribution of culture, particularly visual arts practice and music, to rural development and the mechanisms by which this is enacted. This brings together expertise from the School of Arts and Cultures (Music and Fine Art, particularly the Intersections research group), the Centre for Rural Economy, and the Creative Economy Unit within the Business School.                                                                                                                                              


Co-Curate North East: an 18-month project within the AHRC Digital Transformations in Community Research Co-Production Programme. Co-Curate brings together online collections, museums, universities, schools and community groups to make and re-make stories and images from North East England. It is a transdisciplinary project that opens up 'official' museum and 'un-official' co-created community-based collections and archives through innovative collaborative approaches using social media and open archives/data. The project delivers a transformative educational environment creating a rich mix of openly licenced and other data from arts and humanities, science, and medical health contexts, placing 'authoritative museums' data from professional curators alongside data from more informal contexts compiled and published in collaboration with communities.


Other current Work

Editing a book on Charles Avison

Future Research

Further performing editions of Vivaldi operas

Co-ordinating research and innovation projects with the other four universities in the North East of England around the fusion of digital and creative skills within the creative economy


Undergraduate Teaching

MUS2084 Conducting Studies

MUS2076 Opera: History, Issues, Approaches

MUS1012 Understanding Music History

Postgraduate Teaching

MMus and PhD project supervision