About Daniel Snowman

Daniel Snowman is a social and cultural historian. He was born in London, educated at Cambridge and Cornell, and at 24 was a Lecturer at the University of Sussex. For many years, he worked at the BBC where he was responsible for a wide variety of radio series on cultural and historical topics. Since 2004, Daniel has held a Senior Research Fellowship at the Institute of Historical Research (University of London).

A long-time member of the London Philharmonic Choir (1967-2015), he has always had a strong and informed interest in music and musicians, his books on the Amadeus Quartet and Plácido Domingo combining close-up portraiture of the artists concerned with the broader brush of the social historian.

Recent books include a study of the cultural impact of the ‘Hitler Emigrés’, a collection of critical essays on the life and work of today’s leading historians and a brief biography of Verdi. Daniel’s 2009 book The Gilded Stage: A Social History of Opera has been published throughout the English-speaking world and is also available in Italian, Spanish and Chinese.

Until the outbreak of Covid-19 in 2020 Daniel Snowman was a frequent lecturer at arts festivals, academic and cultural institutions, luncheon clubs etc, in a typical year delivering some 40–50 illustrated talks and lectures across the UK and abroad, including (since 1999) over 650 lectures to members of The Arts Society (formerly NADFAS).

Daniel Snowman Author

He has also lectured for the Royal Opera (Covent Garden), Glyndebourne, English National Opera, London’s Royal Academy of Music and Royal College of Music as well as for the New York Metropolitan Opera Guild and Los Angeles Opera. In 2017 Daniel presented a 12-week course at the Victoria and Albert Museum to accompany their major exhibition on the history of opera, a lecture series he repeated in 2018, and he has presented further courses at the V&A over the years since.

Daniel has also lectured on cruise liners, and between 2001 and 2014 he led over 50 cultural tours (for companies such as Cox & Kings, Martin Randall and ACE) to major international venues across Europe and the USA.

"Daniel Snowman has brought zest and boundless curiosity to every aspect of his very wide and always impressive professional life. These pages reflect all that in joyful abundance."


"Daniel says somewhere that he doesn’t want to judge people. And he doesn’t. He writes candidly about his orthodox Jewish background, the benefits brought by German refugees, the evils of McCarthyism, the racism of the American South. He has been everywhere. As a musician and broadcaster, he has interviewed politicians like Crossman, luminaries like Barbirolli, and befriended singers like Domingo. He has even calmly discussed ‘the bomb’ with Harry Truman. He is a writer, producer, performer, historian and human being all in one and this book deserves to be read widely."

11th Earl of Sandwich and former President of the Pepys Club

"Daniel Snowman’s well-lived life – as broadcaster, historian, singer, lecturer, opera-buff – has taken him around the world and brought him in contact with many of the cultural and  political greats of the modern world. His warmly empathetic, intelligent and open-minded personality informs every page of this insightful and civilised memoir."

Editor of History Today, 1997–2008

"I have known Daniel over 70 years, but had no idea what a rich and full life he has led. I found it so impressive how he has managed to combine his two loves, history and music, largely through his world-wide travels and research, and his fascinating interviews (about some of which I would have liked to have learned more!). The book is beautifully presented, easy to read and well illustrated. I particularly appreciated the shortish chapters.

I would happily award Daniel the alpha star he apparently always wanted!"

Historian, Educationalist - and Daniel's first history teacher 70 years ago

"A masterpiece by a profound thinker: wonder and wisdom, grace and beauty, sprinkled with the human condition, dazzle the senses."