The Dent Medal, struck in memory of the distinguished scholar and musician Edward J. Dent (1876-1957), has been awarded by the Royal Musical Association annually since 1961 to recipients selected for their outstanding contribution to musicology. A list of candidates is drawn up by the Council of the Association and the Directorium of the International Musicological Society.
The 2023 Dent Medal is awarded to Catherine A. Bradley (University of Oslo).
Catherine A. Bradley completed her undergraduate degree at Oxford and her Ph.D in Cambridge. She has held positions at the University of Oxford, Stony Brook University and the University of Oslo, where she is now Full Professor since 2020. For 2020–2025 she gained a European Research Council Consolidator Grant for a project on the Benedicamus Domino, for which she selected and leads a team of doctoral and postdoctoral researchers in Oslo. She has served the profession by being active as a peer reviewer, journal co-editor, member of editorial boards, Ph.D. examiner and expert evaluator.
Bradley’s work ranges from the earliest written traces of the motet repertory into the fourteenth century, and cuts right across a major historiographical “boundary” in scholarship, c.1300, a period of major musical change, taking in several related genres. In addition, she employs a wide range of methodologies to explore this material: palaeographical (notational), music-analytical, historical, and critical. There is thus generic, chronological, and methodological breadth in her published output. The musical materials of this period, in particular the Ars Antiqua motet, are exceptionally complex in their material and compositional aspects, and Bradley has contributed exceptionally to an understanding of the relationship between surviving pieces and the attendant processes of production, composition, and adaptation. Her work is thus highly specialised, showing intimate and intense engagement with the musical materials (analytical work) and their material traces (manuscript work), but also communicates well with broader issues.
Her 2018 monograph, Polyphony in Medieval Paris: The Art of Composing with Plainchant (Cambridge University Press), won the American Musicological Society Early Music Award. Also in 2018 she edited with Karen Desmond the fruits of a co-organised 2014 conference: The Montpellier Codex: The Final Fascicle. Contents, Contexts, Chronologies (Boydell). A second monograph was published in 2022: Authorship and Identity in Late Thirteenth-Century Motets, Royal Musical Association Monographs 39 (Routledge).