I am currently head of music and senior lecturer at the University of Aberdeen and co-director of the university’s Centre for Modern Thought.
After studies in philosophy and theology, I took a BMus degree at the University of Glasgow and a PhD (2000) at the university of Edinburgh. I specialise in contemporary European art music and aesthetics including historical, analytical and aesthetic approaches to European modernism, the music and writings of Pierre Boulez, contemporary European opera and the interrelation of musical thought and continental philosophy/critical theory.
I am the author of the books Boulez, Music and Philosophy (CUP, 2010) and Music after Deleuze (Bloomsbury 2013) and co-editor/contributor/translator to Pierre Boulez Studies (CUP, 2016). I am currently working as co-editor on The Cambridge Stravinsky Encyclopedia as well as a monograph Colonising the Sound of an Empire on the importance of Asian and African music in French music since Debussy.
I am particularly interested in supervising MMus and PhD research in the following areas:
- Musical modernism
- Aesthetics/Aesthetics of Music
- Contemporary Opera
- Interdisciplinary research linking, music, philosophy, literature
- The interrelation of musical thought and continental philosophy/critical theory
- Historical, analytical and aesthetic approaches to European modernism
- The music and writings of Pierre Boulez
- Compositional approaches in post-1945 Europe
- Contemporary European opera
- Music aesthetics/philosophy of music
- Music theory in 20th century France
- Music in relation to French intellectual culture of the 20th century
- 20th century French music, ethnology, colonialism and post-colonial perspectives
- The interrelation of music, philosophy, theology, literature and visual arts
Books (in progress)
The Cambridge Stravinsky Encyclopedia (co-editor with Peter O'Hagan and contributor), under contract to Cambridge University Press. In progress and forthcoming 2018.
East-West Encounters in Music in France since Debussy. In progress.
Articles (accepted and forthcoming)
‘Musical Modernity, the Beautiful and the Sublime’, in The Ashgate Research Companion to Modernism in Music, edited by Björn Heile and Charles Wilson (10,000 words), submitted, forthcoming 2017.
‘Colonising the Sound of an Empire: French Music from Debussy to Dufourt’. Book of proceedings from the conference Orient in Music – Music of the Orient, edited by Małgorzata Grajter, submitted 1 June 2016.
‘Le bon vin et l’opéra belge: Julie de Boesmans au Pays de Galles’, in ‘Post-moderne ou singulier? Philippe Boesmans, edited by Cécile Auzolle. Paris: Gallimard (7,000 words), submitted 31 August 2016, forthcoming April 2017.
‘Music becoming-animal in works by Levinas, Aperghis and Grisey’, in Deleuze and the Animal, edited by Patricia MacCormack and Colin Gardner. Edinburgh University Press (8000 words), in press, forthcoming Spring 2017.
Robert Piencikowski. ‘A Score neither begins nor ends: Reflections on the Boulezian ‘work in progress’ (8,000 words). In Pierre Boulez Studies. Edward Campbell and Peter O’Hagan (eds). Cambridge University Press, October 2016.
Paolo Dal Molin. ‘The compositional matrix : …explosante fixe…’ (8,000 words). In Pierre Boulez Studies. Edward Campbell and Peter O’Hagan (eds). Cambridge University Press, October 2016.
Conference papers and events
Refereed Papers at Conferences
‘Made in France but Celebrating the World’, International Conference, ‘Creating Music across cultures in the 21st century, The Centre for Advanced Studies in Music, Istanbul Technical University (Turkey), 25-27 May 2017.
‘French Music and the East: Colonising the Sound of an Empire’. Conference. OM: Orient in Music – Music of the Orient. ?ód? (Poland), Gra?yna and Kiejstut Bacewicz Academy of Music, Department of Music Theory, International Conference, 10-11 March 2016.
‘Charting the beautiful and the sublime in musical modernity’. Conference: ‘New Music, the Beautiful and the Sublime’, as part of the SOUND Festival, The University of Aberdeen, 29-31 October 2015.
‘Tartan in Baden-Baden, Pierre Boulez at the 1965 Edinburgh International Festival’. Musica Scotica, Ninth Annual Conference, University of Aberdeen, 26–27 April 2014.
'A Rainbow in Curved Air: A Deleuzian Consideration of Musical Pitch Space'. 'Beyond the Semitone', Conference on microtonality. University of Aberdeen, 24 October 2013.
'A Rainbow in Curved Air: A Deleuzian Consideration of Musical Pitch Space'. Sixth International Deleuze Studies Conference, "the territory in between", University of Lisbon, July 8-10, 2013.
'Aspects of nostalgia, utopia and distance in Les Nègres by Michaël Levinas', Seventh International Conference on Music since 1900/Lancaster Music Analysis Conference, University of Lancaster, July 28-31 2011
'Operatic assemblages, sentence-images and the question of impurity', First Annual Conference of the Royal Musical Association of Music and Philosophy, King’s College, University of London, 1-2 July 2011
'Messiaen, Boulez and Grisey: Three Generations of French Composers on Musical Time', Conference - 'Time's excesses in music, literature and art', University of Caen Basse-Normandie, France, 27-28 May 2011
‘Dusapin, Faust and the Rhizome’, Sixth Biennial International Conference on Music since 1900, University of Keele, July 2009
‘A Parisian Mélange: Michael Levinas and Les Aragons', Conference on Nostalgia and Innovation, University of Lancaster, May 2009
‘Music, Dialectics and Phenomenology in post-war Paris’, SMA Study Day: ‘Contemporary Questions in Music Aesthetics’, University of Glasgow, April 2006
‘Boulez, Souvtchinsky and Dialectical Thinking: An Exercise in Genealogy’, 20th Century Music Conference, University of Sussex, August 2005
‘Making a Scene: Moments from Nono’s Al gran sole carico d’amore’, Society for Music Analysis Conference, University College, Dublin, June 2005
‘Staking the Territory: Philosophical Models of thought and the Music Aesthetics of the Future’, SMA Study Day, Royal Northern College of Music, May 2005
‘Boulez’s Webern: perceptive development, creative misunderstanding or self-deception?’, Music Analysis Conference, Hull University, July 2003
‘Boulez and Philosophy: dialectics, structures and the philosophy of difference.’ Third Biennial International Conference on Twentieth Century Music, University of Nottingham, June 2003
‘Signals and Envelopes: Boulez and Musical Perception’, 5th European Music Analysis Conference, University of Bristol, April 2002
‘Boulez and Expression’, 31st RMA Research Students’ Conference, University of Southampton, January 1998
Invited Papers at Conferences
‘Le bon vin et l’opéra belge: Julie de Boesmans au Pays de Galles’. Conference, ‘Post-moderne ou singulier? Philippe Boesmans, Fondation des Treilles, Tourtour 18-23 juillet 2016 (invited paper).
‘The Dark Precursor and the Musics of the World’. ‘The Dark Precursor: International Conference on Deleuze and Artistic Research (DARE 2015)’, organised as part of ERC Starting Grant project Experimentation versus Interpretation: Exploring New Paths in Music Performance in the 21st-Century (ME21), University of Ghent, 9-11 November 2015 (invited keynote speaker).
‘Pierre Boulez: Composer, Traveller, Correspondent’. Interdisciplinary Symposium: ‘Boulez at 90’, The Barbican Centre, London. Organised by the Institute of Musical Research, 20 March 2015.
‘Aperghis on Opera Today: the working of the interdisciplinary assemblage’. 'Love to Death: Transforming Opera Incorporating the Royal Musical Association Annual Conference. Cardiff University, 31 May 2012.
‘Assembling Abstraction: Boris Blacher’s Abstrakte Oper Nr 1’. Event run by The Opera Group/Courtauld Institute, King’s College, University of London, 26 March 2012
‘Re-thinking Boulez: Schemes, Logics and Paradigms of Modernity’. Seminar on Musical Modernism, organised by the University of Oslo and the Centre franco-norvégien en sciences sociales et humaines, MSH, Paris, (key note speaker, 10-12 October 2011.
'The Boulez/Souvtchinsky Correspondence'. Exploring the Labyrinth: An International Study Day on the Music of Pierre Boulez, organised by the Southbank Centre in association with the Royal Academy of Music, 1 October 2011.
‘Dusapin, Faust and the Rhizome’ (revised), Modernism/Music: An Interdisciplinary Workshop, The Scottish Network of Modernist Studies, University of Aberdeen, May 2010
‘Boulez: Negation, binary thinking and dialectical "discourse."’ Boulez Day, Roehampton, University of Surrey, February 2004
Invited Research Seminars
‘Pierre Boulez: Composer, Traveller, Correspondent’. University of Leuven postgraduate seminar, 12 November 2015.
‘Pierre Boulez: Composer, Traveller, Correspondent’. University of Aberdeen Post-graduate Seminar, 1 October 2015.
‘Rethinking Musical Modernism’: nine two-hour interdisciplinary seminars given at the University of Aberdeen, Centre for Modern Thought, February-April 2014.
‘A Rainbow in Curved Air’: Musical Pitch and some implications for Thought. University of Aberdeen Post-graduate Seminar, 7 March 2013.
‘Music after Deleuze: Aspects of Difference in music from Beethoven to Boulez’. University of Leeds Music Post-graduate Seminar, 9 February 2012
‘Music after Deleuze: Difference and Rhizomes’. University of Aberdeen Post-graduate Seminar, 17 November 2011
‘A Parisian Mélange: Michael Levinas and Les Aragons' (substantially revised and expanded), University of Glasgow, Colloquium Series, October 2010'
'Boulez and Musical Virtuality', University of Aberdeen Music Department Seminar, December 2008
‘Footnotes to an Apprenticeship: Boulez and his Mentors’, John Bird Lecture, University of Cardiff October 2006
‘Boulez, Deleuze and the Music of Difference’, University of East Anglia Postgraduate Seminar, October 2004
‘Serialism as a Musical Language: The Structuralist Debate’, Music and Language Conference, University of Aberdeen, June 2004
'Serial Music, Difference and Repetition', University of Edinburgh, Music, Minds, Machines AI/Music Group, (by invitation), February 2000
‘Boulez and Difference’, University of Edinburgh Postgraduate Seminar, February 1999
Other Invited Lectures
Pre-concert talk: ‘Finding the Beauty and More in Modern Music’, as part of the SOUND Festival, The University of Aberdeen, 29-31 October 2015.
'A Rainbow in Curved Air': A Philosophical Consideration of Musical Space', Summerhall. Edinburgh Festival Fringe, 11 August 2012
From Plato to Primal Scream: Music and its connection to Philosophy, Summerhall. Edinburgh Festival Fringe, 17 August 2011.
Nono’s ‘Al gran sole carico d’amore’, Edinburgh International Festival, August 2004.
20th Century Composers Unveiled, Edinburgh Festival Muses, May 2004 (Nono, Feldman, Birtwistle).
The Music of Helmut Lachenmann, Edinburgh International Festival, August 2003.
Adorno and the Philosophy of New Music, University of Edinburgh, March 2003.
The Music of Igor Stravinsky, Edinburgh International Festival, August 2002.
The Liberation of Sound (4 sessions), Edinburgh International Festival, Feb-March 2002.
The Music of John Cage, Edinburgh International Festival, August 2001.
I have chaired individual sessions and participated in panel sessions at the following conferences:
Invited chair and moderator for papers given by Bernard Foccroulle (director of the Festival d’Aix en Provence), Dr Cécile Auzolle and Dr Julie Obert, Conference, ‘Philippe Boesmans, post-moderne ou singulier?’and part of the Festivel Aix en Provence, Aix en Provence, 20 July 2016 (by invitation).
Delivered and Chaired pre-concert talk/conversation with Tony Moffat (violin) and Scott Mitchell (piano) on Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time. University of Aberdeen Concert Series, 4 February 2016.
Roundtable discussion of my book ‘Music after Deleuze’ (CUP, 2013). With Paolo de Assis, Martin Scherzinger, Brian Hulse and Bernhard Lang. The Dark Precursor: International Conference on Deleuze and Artistic Research (DARE 2015)’, University of Ghent, 9-11 November 2015 (by invitation).
Panel member in roundtable discussion ‘quel langage musical pour l'opéra au XXIe siècle?’ with Cécile Auzolle, Michael Levinas, Hector Parra, Mathis Nitschke, Jean-Claude Petit, Régis Campo, Pierre Thilloy. La Création Lyrique aujourd’hui: question de genres. Onzième et douzième journées d'étude du groupe de recherche OPEFRA. Paris, SACD, 9 rue Ballu, Paris IXe, 18-19 June 2015.
Participant in seminar ‘Le rationalisme musical et sa crise au XXe siècle: Adorno, Webern, Maderna, Nono’. with Paolo Quintili and Cécile Auzolle. Collège International de Philosophie, Paris, 16 June 2015
Panel member in roundtable discussion with Pierre Laurent-Aimard and a number of other Boulez scholars. Exploring the Labyrinth: An International Study Day on the Music of Pierre Boulez, organised by the Southbank Centre in association with the Royal Academy of Music (by invitation), 1 October 2011.
‘Approaches to Opera’ (invited chair), Seventh International Conference on Music since 1900/Lancaster Music Analysis Conference, University of Lancaster, July 28-31 2011.
‘Twentieth Century Music in France 2’ (invited chair), University of Keele, Sixth Biennial International Conference on Music since 1900, July 2009.
‘Boulez and Schaeffner’ (invited chair), Boulez Day, Roehampton, University of Surrey, February 2004.
Public Interviews/Conversations (by Invitation)
'Samuel Beckett and the Arts - to adapt or not to adapt?' Opening talk by Professor Dan Gunn
With the participation of Dr. Eddie Campbell (Music) and Dr. Adrienne Janus (English), University of Aberdeen, 24 February 2016.
Laurennt Cuniot and Bill Sweeney, Sound-Conversation, Sound Festival, 24 October 2014, Music Hall, Aberdeen.
Julian Anderson: Composer Portrait, University of Aberdeen Music Prize, University of Aberdeen, 5 November 2011.
'With Giorgio Battistelli:on his work ‘Experimentum Mundi’, Edinburgh International Festival ‘Behind the Scenes’ event, August 2009.
'With Jörg Widmann', Edinburgh International Festival Festival Insight, August 2005.
Forthcoming Papers and Events
‘Catching the Sound and the Scent: East meets West in France’, ‘Aberannt Nuptials: International Conference on Deleuze and Artistic Research (DARE 2017)’, organised as part of ERC Starting Grant project Experimentation versus Interpretation: Exploring New Paths in Music Performance in the 21st-Century (ME21), Orpheus Institute, Ghent, 20-22 November 2017 (invited participant).
Title tbc. Invited Lecture. University of Leuven, Belgium, 23 November 2017.
Book (in progress)
The Cambridge Stravinsky Encyclopedia (co-editor with Peter O'Hagan and contributor), under contract to Cambridge University Press. In progress and forthcoming 2018.
Cambridge University Press, £14,000 for expenses incurred in preparation of the Cambridge Stravinsky Encyclopedia, June 2015.
The Carnegie Trust, June 2013, £2,380 received for research at the Bibliothèque nationale de France in Paris (August-September 2013)
University of Aberdeen, 2009, College of Arts and Social Science, Seed Funding, £465 received for additional costs in publication of the book ‘Boulez, Music and Philosophy’.
The British Academy, December 2006-October 2007, £1569 received for research visits to: Bibliothèque nationale, Paris Paul Sacher Stiftung, Basel Bibliothèque royale de Belgique, Brussels.
Current Teaching and Course Coordination
- MU1035 BMus: Key Moments 1 (course coordinator)
- MU2023 Introduction to Musicology (course coordinator)
- MU3051/MU4051 Early Musical Modernism (course coordinator)
- MU3522 Music Aesthetics (course coordinator)
- MU30M3 European Art Music 1945-2000 (course coordinator)
- MU4502/5504 Contemporary European Opera (course coordinator)
- MU4043 Music Dissertation (Honours)
- MU5003 Music Research Skills and Methodologies (course coordinator)
- MPhil/PhD Dissertation in Musicology
- BMus (Hons) Music Programme Coordinator
- MU1033 Music from 900-1700/Writing about Music
- MU1053 A Survey of Western Art Music
- MU3003 New Directions (Course Coordinator)
- ED4018 Aesthetic Education
- FS5006 Current Debates and Controversies in Visual Culture
- Music since 1945
- Music since 1980
- Music Theory 1
- MU2510 Music Education 2 (Course Coordinator)
- MU3044 Music Education 3 (Course Coordinator)
- MU4093 Music Education 4 (Course Coordinator)
Current PhD students
Kathleen Cronie: ‘The conductor as vocal pedagogue’, (first supervisor/Paul Mealor 2nd supervisor), starting September 2016, part time studies.
Hans Ludwig Buchholz: ‘Meaning and normativity in a postmodern textual world’, (joint supervision in the Centre for Modern Thought with Dr Andrea Teti). University of Aberdeen, started September 2015, full time studies.
Lucinda Rose Stroud: Title tbc (joint supervisor with Professor Ed Welch). Full time studies.
Pernille Cordelia Ravn, Title tbc (2nd supervisor), Dr Adrienne Janus is first supervisor. Starting September 2016, full time studies
Len Wiltshire: ‘The sea in British art music from the late nineteenth century to the mid-twentieth century. University of Aberdeen’ (1st supervisor). (studies currently suspended)
Completed PhD students
Rodrigo Ferrari-Nunes: Steps to a Reconstitution of Dwelling: Toward a Critical Anthropology of Listening (2nd supervisor/joint supervision with the Anthropology department). University of Aberdeen, March 2016.
Shelagh Noden: The revival of Roman Catholic Church music in Scotland (2nd supervisor), University of Aberdeen. PhD awarded July 2014.
M.Litt dissertations examined
Stephanie Colley, 'The Evolution of a Cindarella Instrument: Discussion of Three Key Works Arranged for the Viola'. Department of Music, University of Aberdeen, December 2011.
Sean Higgins, The Centre for Modern Thought, University of Aberdeen, ('Toward an art of noise: music, medium, and listening in the age of phonography ') June 2010.
PhD dissertations examined
Klaas Coulembier, 'Multi-temporality: Analyzing simultaneous time layers in selected compositions by Elliot Carter and Claus-Steffen Mahnkopf', University of Leuven, 29 May 2013.
- Further Info
External examiner for the MMus Musicology, MMus Early Keyboard Performance, MMus Composition, MSc Composition for Screen, MMus Musical Instrument Research, University of Edinburgh, 2012-17.
Member of BEd Music Evaluation Group, Royal Conservatory of Scotland, 2009-12.
Invited Peer reviewer for articles for the following journals and publishers: Music Analysis, Deleuze Studies, Theory, Culture and Society, Music Theory Spectrum, Twentieth Century Music, Journal of Musicology, French Studies, Cambridge University Press, Indiana University Press, Oxford University Press, University of Chicago Press, Routledge.
- Head of Music
- Co-Director of the Centre for Modern Thought