Mark’s blog, Boulezian, has been selected for the UK Web Archive’s curated collections.
Frank Castorf's 2017 Bayreuth production of Siegfried, which Mark reviewed on his blog (photo Enrico Nawrath / Bayreuther Festspiele)
The UK Web Archive was established in 2004. It captures and archives websites from the UK domain and across the web, preserving this material for current and future researchers of all kinds, from scholars and professionals to family historians and those with a general interest. The archive’s curated collections contain specially selected websites that represent different aspects of UK heritage on the web, as well as important global events.
Mark Berry is Reader in Music History at Royal Holloway. He began his blog somewhat by accident in 2007. Having attended a complete cycle of the Mahler symphonies in Berlin, jointly conducted by Pierre Boulez and Daniel Barenboim, he jotted down some thoughts on paper. He sent these to friends, one of whom suggested that they be posted online on a 'blog', an entity Mark had barely heard of at the time. He nevertheless managed to set one up and made his first post, still available to read almost twelve years later. When asked for a blog name, he arbitrarily chose 'Boulezian' in the light of that Mahler experience; it never occurred to him that it would especially matter.
The blog took on a life of its own as Mark began writing and posting accounts of other musical performances he attended, along with certain other pieces, almost all music-related in one way or another. Now it regularly offers reviews ranging from student opera to the Salzburg Festival, and recently registered a total of 2.5 million page views.
Mark says that writing regularly on performance has changed, in some cases transformed, his academic research as well as continuing and furthering his interest in writing for a wider audience. Whether discussing the excitement of a world premiere, radical stagings of repertory warhorses, or many shades of musical experience in between, he continues to take joy in the conversation sparked, and could hardly be more delighted by this unexpected honour.