Dr Kevin Flanagan

Senior Lecturer

Kevin specialises in composition, contemporary music and all types of improvisation (coming out of a professional jazz background).

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Kevin Flanagan comes from Lowell, Massachusetts, USA. He initially studied music and philosophy at the University of New Hampshire, and was part of Antares, a free improvisatory group that toured the New England through the mid-70s to early 80s. During this period he was also involved in jazz, blues, and popular music, both recording and performing. He settled in the UK in the mid-80s, and worked on the London jazz and pop scene, playing and recording with members of Pink Floyd, Ben E King, the Sex Pistols, Paul Weller, Boo Hewerdine, Jools Holland, Led Zeppelin, B.B. King, Portishead and many others.

By the late 1980s, Kevin was primarily involved with jazz, playing with his own group or with musicians such as the Tommy Chase quartet around festivals in the UK and Europe, including events in Brecon, Edinburgh, Soho, Milan, Paris, the North Sea festival, Poland, Portugal, Sweden and others. He has put out two successful CDs with Chris Ingham as the Flanagan-Ingham Quartet, and, collaborating with Dave Gordon in the quartet Riprap, has released three CDs and performed an ongoing series of gigs around the UK in venues like the Royal Festival Hall and at various festivals. He is also arranging and performing for Chris Ingham's Rebop project.

While studying at Goldsmith's University, Kevin specialised in analysis and post-1945 music. This was followed by an MA in composition at Anglia Ruskin University with Richard Hoadley, which resulted in the first SPNM-commissioned performance of Like Miles by the London Metropolitan Orchestra, and the commission for Mode for Joe II, performed at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London. His PhD in composition was with the composer Martin Butler at Sussex University.

Kevin is currently collaborating with composer/pianist Dave Gordon and poet Malcolm Guite in the Riprap spoken text series, with a number of poets from the US and UK: Gary Snyder, Gerry Nicosia, Chuck Perkins, Ruth Padel, Grevel Lindop, and Gwnyeth Lewis.

Research interests

  • Composition
  • Improvisation combined with composition
  • Afro American music (jazz, blues, roots)
  • Contemporary American composers
  • Composition and spoken word (collaborations with poets, in both composed and improvised settings)


  • PhD Music, University of Sussex
  • MPhil Music, Anglia Ruskin University
  • Bmus Music, Goldsmith's

Selected recent publications

Flanagan, K., 2013. Snow-Blue Night. CD of compositions. Cambridge, Ampublishing.

Flanagan, K., 2011. The Holy Goof. Commission by Peter Britton for performance at West Road Concert Hall, November 2012. Two arias for tenor and orchestra.

Flanagan, K. and Ryan, D., 2011. Improvisations for Scelsi. Performed Cambridge, Ruskin Gallery film premiere.

Flanagan, K., 2010. Solo Sonata for Violin. Performed by Mifune Tsuji, Cambridge Festival of ideas, October 2010.

Flanagan, K., 2010. Commission for 6 Chuck Perkins Settings. Performed with the author, Cambridge Festival of Ideas, October 2010.

Curation of John Cage event in Kettles Yard, May 2011; compositions and talk.

Flanagan, K., 2010. John Clare Settings. Commission, John Clare Festival, July 2010.

Flanagan, K., 2009. Five pieces for Ruth Padel. CD release 2010. Cambridge Festival of Ideas, 2009.

Flanagan, K., 2009. Viola Nocturne. Solo viola played  in Stockholm, Ensemble Schoenberg, 2010. 

Flanagan, K., 2009. Cello Suite. Solo cello played in Slovenia, June 2010.