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Before returning to Cambridge in 2015, I taught at the Universities of Bristol, King's College London, and Cambridge itself.


In my research and teaching, I approach music and its cultures in the widest interdisciplinary sense, incorporating perspectives of cultural and intellectual history, music theory and the history of science, and as well as mediality and the philosophy of technology. 

My first book, Wagner's Melodies: Aesthetics and Materialism in German Musical Identity (2013), examines the cultural and scientific history of melodic theory in relation to Wagner's writings and music; it received the Lewis Lockwood Award of the American Musicological Society, the Donald Tovey Memorial Prize of Oxford University, and was listed as one of several notable books published in 2013 on Alex Ross: The Rest is Noise.

Between 2015-21, I was Principal Investigator for an ERC Starting Grant entitled 'Sound and Materialism in the 19th Century.' This examined how a scientific-materialist conception of sound was formed alongside a dominant culture of romantic idealism. Four postdoctoral research fellows joined the project, whose numerous publications are open access. 


Alongside this, work on a hitherto unheard Italian opera by Franz Liszt, Sardanapalo, was supported by a Philip Leverhulme Prize (mentioned on the AMS' blog). This resulted in the first critical edition and a performing edition of Liszt's music, whose world premiere took place in 2018, with subsequent performances in Italy, Germany, America, Austria and most recently Hungary. Upon release, the first recording was the #1 best-selling classical album in the UK.


My research interests are reflected in the three volumes I edited for Cambridge University Press, on Opera and the Scientific Imagination (2019), Music in Digital Culture (2019), and most recently Wagner in Context (2024). Media work includes Prom special features on BBC Radio 3, and discussion of Wagner and Plato, beauty and morality for A History of Ideas on BBC Radio 4, while other publications include editions and translations, such as Carl Stumpf's The Origins of Music, journal editing, as well as research and review articles.  See further details here.



Richard Wagner

19th-century opera, performance theory, nationalism, voice, history of aesthetics

Philosophy of Technology

Posthumanism, media archeology, digital culture

Franz Liszt

virtuosity, improvisation, Weimar, late style, spectacle

Sound & History and Philosophy of Science

acoustics, materialist philosophies of mind, forms of nature, modes of listening, theories of mechanism 


Hochschule für Musik und Theater, Leipzig

Magister study, solo piano

DAAD scholarship


Harvard University

Ph.D. in Historical Musicology

A.M. in Historical Musicology


King's College, University of Cambridge


BA / MA in Music

Grants & Awards

  • [2015] Principal Investigator for a European Research Council Starting Grant on a five-year research project, Sound and Materialism in the 19th Century 





  • [2013] Deems Taylor Award of the American Society for Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) for “excellence in writing on the subject of music.”


  • [2012] Donald Tovey Memorial Prize of the University of Oxford for a work of “research in the philosophy, history or understanding of music” 


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