Lana Crowe is a research student at UCL, examining how the legacy of composer Duke Ellington extends beyond music. She also freelances as a subeditor for Guardian culture and the Observer New Review, and writes.

PhD research

Esteemed composer Duke Ellington (1899-1974) created some of the most enduring work in the history of jazz. But his legacy reaches beyond music: often in collaboration with his writing partner Billy Strayhorn, he also wrote poetry and drama, and created genre-transcending mixed-media works, which have been overlooked in Ellington scholarship. This study will research Ellington’s unpublished writing, programmatic music and holistic, mixed-media approach to form as pivotal in the synthesis of the arts, to place his work in a tradition, build a critical framework and develop a vocabulary for analysing his synaesthetic work and its contexts. 

Research Interests

  • Synthesis of the arts (orality and literacy; the politics of the silent text; imagined sound as a literary technique and its history; a critical vocabulary for analysing mixed-media works)
  • Race and identity (African American music and history; diasporic identities)
  • Classism (the political economy of popular music; business vs artistic integrity; urban culture)