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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.

My latest project, funded by an ERC Starting Grant, is entitled 'Sound and Materialism in the 19th Century.' This began in September 2015 and examines how a scientific-materialist conception of sound was formed alongside a dominant culture of romantic idealism. Three postdoctoral research fellows joined the project in September 2016.


Alongside this work, I am using a Philip Leverhulme Prize (mentioned on the AMS' blog) to support work on a monograph about music and virtuality. It views virtuality as the flipside of materialism, and examines the influence of cutting edge technologies on our relationship to music and sound within an environment, from HD simulcasts to prosthetic hearing.


More broadly, I recently discussed Wagner and Plato, beauty and morality for A History of Ideas on BBC Radio 4, and my publications include editions and translations, as well as research and review articles. I guest edited special issues of Musiktheorie (with Anne Shreffler) and The Wagner Journal, and edited and translated Carl Stumpf's The Origins of Music in 2012. 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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