Sterling Lambert

Associate Professor of Music

Department Chair

Sterling Lambert


Sterling Lambert was born in London in 1968. After completing B.A. and M.Phil. degrees in musicology at Cambridge University, he moved to the United States, where he completed his Ph.D. at Yale University in 2000. He then spent a number of years in Boston, where he taught at both Tufts and Harvard Universities before taking up his current position at St. Mary’s in 2006. Dr. Lambert’s particular area of interest lies in text-music relationships and issues of intertextuality in music of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. A book on Franz Schubert’s multiple settings of Goethe’s poetry was published in 2009, and he is currently writing a book on the English composer Benjamin Britten and the influence of four composers (Purcell, Bach, Mozart and Schubert) on his music.

Areas of Research Specialization

  • Music of Benjamin Britten

Areas of Teaching Specialization

  • Music History
  • Music Theory


  • B.A. in Music at University of Cambridge, 1990
  • in Musicology at University of Cambridge, 1991
  • Ph.D. in Music History at Yale University, 2000


  • "Children, boys, sunshine, the sea, Mozart, you and me": Idomeneo and Britten’s Death in Venice

    Conference paper: Britten on Stage and Screen, University of Nottingham, July 2013

  • Winter Words, Winter Journey: Schubert in Britten

    Conference paper: Seventh Biennial International Conference on Music Since 1900, University of Lancaster, July 2011

  • Re-reading Poetry: Schubert’s Multiple Settings of Goethe

    One of the most important aspects of Franz Schubert's song production has remained relatively neglected: the many occasions on which he set poetry to music more than once. This practice of returning to poems, and responding to them anew, is unusual and suggests a greater degree of literary sensitivity on the part of Schubert than is often ascribed to him. In contrast to his similarly frequent tendency to produce revised versions of songs, Schubert's resetting of poetry results in completely new songs. The presence of residues of earlier settings in later ones prompts consideration of the degree to which resettings are to some extent 'radical revisions' of their predecessors. It also raises questions as to what those residues might signify about how and why Schubert reset poetry. Nowhere are such issues more fascinatingly and comprehensively illustrated than in Schubert's multiple settings of the poet who was more important to him than any other: Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. In recent years, a renewed interest in the relationship between Goethe and Schubert has demonstrated that the two men had more in common than has historically been supposed. A specific bond between them lies in Goethe's recognition that his poems could be read in more than one way. Re-reading Poetry uncovers an important shared outlook between composer and poet.