Our Committee and Members

MMRN was established by four M4C (Midlands4Cities)-funded PhD students each sharing an enthusiasm for expanding communication and collaboration across a variety of music-related topics, institutions and research contexts. You can find out more about our steering committee and members through their profiles below.

Want to become a member? Fill in the form here.

Join our Organising Committee 2021-22

Midlands Music Research Network (MMRN) invites applications from PhD students and Early Career Researchers for roles in its Organising Committee.

We are planning a range of exciting activities and events in 2021-22, including an online seminar series, a brand new podcast, development of our blog, social and networking events, and the MMRN 2nd Annual Conference (spring 2022, dates tbc).

Find out more about the roles and how to apply here.

Applications are open.

Our Committee

Caroline Ridler - Director

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I'm a second-year M4C-funded PhD researcher at the University of Nottingham in the department of Russian and Slavonic studies. My research focusses on the Soviet rock musician Viktor Tsoi who was a youth icon for perestroika-era youth, and remains a cult icon in the former Soviet space to the present day. Through study of his life and legacy, I am exploring the huge cultural and political shifts which occurred during glasnost and perestroika. My research interests include popular music studies, youth culture, subcultures and marginality, and the cultural politics of the late Soviet Union.

I am a keen musician: I play viola, bass guitar, and sing. I am currently an alto choral scholar at St Mary's Church in Nottingham. I also enjoy cooking, playing Animal Crossing, and spending time with my family dog, Molly!

Daniel Johnson - Assistant Director


I’m a fourth year, part-time history PhD student at the University of Leicester. I am studying the intellectual context and content of the hymns of Isaac Watts (1674-1748). Alongside my studies, I am Head of Academic Development at Nexus ICA, where I lecture on a variety of undergraduate and postgraduate courses. I achieved a first class degree in Popular Music and Music Technology at the University of Derby, before completing my Masters of Research in Theology at the University of Nottingham, where I studied Isaac Watts’ interpretation of the psalms. I am also a visiting lecturer for the London School of Theology. I’m married to Rosanna and we have four young children.


I worked for many years as a professional musician. While my own work and experience largely concentrates on the role of music within the Christian tradition, I enjoy studying the way different societies use music. The MMRN is an exciting environment in which I can both share my own research and learn from others. I’m looking forward to the networking opportunities the MMRN will provide.

Nicholas Ong - Podcast Organiser

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I am a MSt in Music (Musicology) graduate of the University of Oxford where my research focussed on German idealism in the music criticism of nineteenth-century Russia. Whilst completing my master's, I co-produced the podcast Crafting Musical Lives (https://spoti.fi/3Aggj1N) which explored the life-writing process of musical figures. Prior to my postgraduate studies, I graduated from the University of Nottingham with a BA (First Class) in Music and was awarded the Philip Weller Dissertation Prize for my dissertation on the cosmopolitan national identity in music of Singapore.


Before moving to the UK (from Singapore), I completed my national service as a trumpeter in the Singapore Armed Forces Band. Since then, my music-making activity mainly involves singing in choirs. Outside of music, I enjoy – like many others – visiting cathedrals. I am currently on a (not-so-absolute) hiatus from academia, working in administration at the University of Lincoln Students' Union.

Natalie Grace - Events Organiser

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I am a History PhD student at the University of Nottingham, funded by the Midlands4Cities Doctoral Training Partnership and currently in the writing-up stage. My thesis is a comparative study of discourses about witchcraft in early modern Germany and England. It incorporates a range of printed sources including sermons, news reports, and news ballads; I am particularly interested in exploring sources where textual, visual, and oral forms of communication interacted.

During my PhD I have been involved in several academic events and groups, including organising the Midlands4Cities Digital Research Festival (2020), running the UoN History Postgraduate Seminars (Sept 2019 – June 2021), and working as a Publicity Officer for the Institute of Historical Research History Lab (Sept 2020 – July 2021). While my research does not directly incorporate music, I always listen to music while I research and write, particularly film and TV soundtracks. I enjoy singing and have been a member of several choirs over the years, including the University Choir at UoN. I am looking forward to organising events for MMRN and fostering new connections for Music researchers. 

Our Members

Akvilė Stuart



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I am a third-year PhD Candidate at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, studying the life and music of early 20th century Russian composer Alexei Stanchinsky (1888-1914). My doctoral thesis is an extended monograph on Stanchinsky, incorporating the first comprehensive biography of the composer, as well as musical analysis of his works. I situate Stanchinsky within his cultural context, and explore the treatment and reception of his legacy during his lifetime and throughout the 20th century. My current work is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.


I completed a BMus (Hons) in Piano Performance in 2015, and an MA in Musicology in 2018. My wider research interests include Russian history and politics, as well as music history and the history of pianism. I am a keen pianist and enjoy learning new repertoire when the time allows.

Dr. Ying Li




I'm Ying, a Senior Lecturer and course leader in Landscape Architecture at the University of  Gloucestershire. I completed my Ph.D. in Small Public Space Assessment, Design, and  Planning in 2016 at the University of Greenwich. My connection with music started from  childhood when I studied at Tianjin Conservatory of Music China at the age of five and  received Digital Piano Grade 9 in 1996. My passion for landscape architecture was from a  visit to a Garden when I naturally felt the composition of the landscape and architecture is  like a piece of music. It led me to compose a music piece: 'My imagination in Jingxin Zhai' (a  Royal Garden in Beihai Park, China). It also invoked me to have my design philosophy:  'Landscape Architecture is the flowing music.' I used music as one of my experiments in  delivering 4D design conceptual thinking and as a part of the cultural context in  understanding space and place. I hope to collaborate with researchers and practitioners to  explore more on the cross-disciplinary translation and correlation among Music, Art, and  Design, to generate new approaches in the landscape, architecture, and city design in the  21st century.

Daniel Boucher



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I am a first-year PhD student at the University of Birmingham funded by the Midlands4Cities Doctoral Training Partnership. My research explores the position of Expressionist-style operas in Weimar Culture, focusing on the reception of these works and how they relate to wider cultural trends in the early years of the Weimar Republic. Beyond my PhD, I am interested in opera studies more generally, particularly German opera, and modernism in fin-de-siècle Europe.


Prior to my PhD, I completed a BA (Hons) and MRes at the University of Nottingham, the latter of which was funded by the Midlands4Cities Masters Studentship. I am also a keen violinist and love to perform in orchestras and chamber groups when not busy researching.

Stewart Campbell



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I am a final year doctoral research student investigating audience experience of live classical music. I take practical experience from 14+ years’ managing cultural programmes and combine this with theoretical work in audience studies, music sociology, and creative industries research. My study 'Songs Without Borders' is the first sustained empirical study into audience experience of live vocal music. Working in partnership with Oxford Lieder, the UK's largest festival of classical vocal music, I research the impact of classical music on lives and livelihoods; investigate pathways into classical music, including motivations for engagement, inclusion and access; examine connections between audiences, venues, organisations, and regional arts ecologies; and look at the impact of Covid and digital consumption on audience experience.

Georgie Rowe



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Starting in Sept 2021, I shall be researching how British Traditional folk music has adapted in the 21st century, moving from a genre predicated on the oral tradition to one which welcomes new compositions. I shall be analysing from a genre theory perspective, examining the motifs and conventions which recur throughout the history of the genre, and which allow new compositions to fit in with existing entries.

Maria Grazia Aurora Campisi


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I am a second-year PhD student at the University of Birmingham, funded by the Midlands4Cities Doctoral Training Partnership. Retracing the operatic production of the Italian composer Giorgio Federico Ghedini, my research investigates a crucial and complex moment for musical theatre, between the first and second half of the 20th century. Opera, weaving together several art forms, mirrors the extent of historical and social changes: totalitarianisms and two world wars, the emergence of mass society, new media and cultural vanguards.​


Previously, I completed my Master's degree in Historical, Critical and Analytical Approaches to Music at the Milan Conservatoire in 2018, and I was awarded a research scholarship by the Teatro alla Scala to investigate its social history from the foundation to 1920. I am also a keen musician, graduated in both piano and clarinet, performing in chamber and orchestral groups. I hold a chair in Italian secondary school since 2016. My research benefits from both teaching and performing because of their hands-on approach to music.


I am generally curious and have a lot of interests… perhaps too many to manage all together!

Dr Felipe Morales Carbonell



I am Chilean in origin and I did my PhD at the Institute of Philosophy at KU Leuven (Belgium). I work mostly on epistemology and metaphysics. I am particularly interested on understanding, know-how, ability, and I want to explore how the case of music is important for the study of these topics. In my free time I play guitar, and sometimes make noisy music.

Dr Alan Chamberlain



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Dr Alan Chamberlain is a Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Nottingham, where he is also an Honorary Fellow in the Music Department. His main areas of research relate to Human Computer Interaction, Design, and Music Technology.

In 2019 he was the Conference Chair of the Audio Mostly Conference hosted at Nottingham. In 2018 he was awarded a CODI-Composer (Electronic) award from Ty Cerdd, he is a Composer in Residence at the Computational Foundry (Swansea University) and an EPSRC funded Researcher in Residence at the Digital Catapult focusing on AI, Algorithms and Music. He is currently working with partners on a composition for a digital installation in Australia, and jointly writing a VR-based opera with a Finnish composer.

He has released two albums of work and is the author of numerous publications. For more information see: http://www.alanchamberlain.com/

Khyam Allami



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Khyam Allami (born in Damascus 1981) is an Iraqi-British multi-instrumentalist musician, composer, researcher and founder of Nawa Recordings.


Primarily a performer of the Oud, his artistic research focuses on the development of contemporary and experimental repertoire based on the fundamentals of Arabic music, with a focus on tuning and microtonality.


He holds a BA and Masters in Ethnomusicology from SOAS, University of London and is currently completing an M4C/AHRC funded PhD in composition at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, Birmingham City University.

Laura Farré Rozada



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I'm a pianist and mathematician, currently a 2nd-year PhD candidate at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. My research is focused on developing a new method for memorising post-tonal piano music, informed by my training in mathematics. I’m testing this method with advanced piano students, international performers and my own performance practice. The goal is to contribute to covering the existing gap in music performance, education and psychology for training memorisation.


I’m also an international concert pianist, performing in Spain, France, Germany, Canada, USA, Bulgaria and the UK. My specialisation in the repertoire of the 20th and 21st centuries has been reinforced by giving 50 premieres of contemporary works, and reflected in my albums The French Reverie (2018) and Nimbus (2021).


Beyond that, I’m passionate about disseminating the connections between music and mathematics to the general audience. I’ve given pre-concert talks and lecture-recitals on this topic, and I’m an active collaborator at the Spanish National Radio. www.laurafarrerozada.com

David Dewar



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Musician (conductor, choral director, organist/harpsichordist, horn-player) > 30years.

Final year PhD candidate.

Research: Interrelationships between professional and amateur musicians, and mutual cooperation in England 1900-1939.

Dir. of Chapel Music, Dame Monica Wills Chapel, University of Bristol. www.daviddewar.org.uk

Dr Matthew Brooks



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Dr. Matthew J. Brooks is Assistant Professor of Music and Director of Orchestral Activities in Music & Medicine at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, and affiliate faculty in Neurological Sciences at University of Nebraska Medical Center (USA). He was critical in creating the Nebraska Medical Orchestra in 2018, for which he is the current music director. As an academic conductor, Dr. Brooks has led orchestras at University of Nebraska, James Madison University, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and Shasta College, and remains active as a guest conductor and clinician. He has presented research on the topics of orchestral conducting pedagogy, arts and wellness, and music and medicine at international, national and various state music conferences.

Dr. Brooks has just recently co-founded the National Association of Medical Orchestras to foster community and collaboration among medical orchestras across the United States of America.

Eric Boaro


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My main research interest is 18c century Italian opera from a variety of perspectives (theorical, archival studies, audiences, gender).

Natalie Mason



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I am a performer-composer, educator and curator working with children, families and arts organisations in the West Midlands. At the interdisciplinary interface between ethnomusicology, music education and community music, my research focuses on the international intercultural music-making of children and families in community and education settings. In 2015, I established a partnership with Friction Arts in Birmingham to develop a new music education project, Multicultural Music Making, guided and informed by the interests, geographical connections and cultural heritages of participants. MMM is funded by Youth Music and was a key motivation for undertaking my PhD research, which is supported by AHRC Midlands4Cities Doctoral Training Partnership.

In addition to my research, I also write and play my own music with Into The Zoetrope, Kamura Obscura and others, co-present Raised by Mellotrons on Brum Radio and co-host alternative gig night Club Integral Midlands Branch.

Wai Lok Cheung



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I'm a PhD student from the Philosophy Department of the Chinese University of Hong Kong. I use formal theories, such as decision theory, game theory, probability theory, modal logic, computability theory, learning theory, and connectionism, to describe the metaphysics of action. The resultant logic of action shall empower us to understand the failure forms of right acts - be they immoral, or imprudent. I interact deliberation with grammar through the structure of action, and, given the logic of action shall also have described music production, I hope to develop a theory of music with an aesthetics of humanity which obligates the sharing of humanity. Music shares the humanity of the author through, for example, infecting with, through expression of, emotions, including aesthetic ones.

Adrien Nonjon



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Graduated from the French Institute of Geopolitics and University Paris I Sorbonne in geopolitics and political science, Adrien Nonjon is a PhD student at the Europe(s)-Eurasia Research Centre (CREE) of the National Institute of Oriental Languages and Cultures (INALCO) in Paris. Specializing in the study of post-Soviet spaces, especially Ukraine, he has been working since 2019 at the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) of George Washington University (GWU) as an associate researcher for the "Illiberalism" and "Transnational-History of the Far-Right" research programs. Adrien Nonjon's research focuses mainly on post-Soviet ideologies and counter-cultures such as neo-paganism, esotericism, and Black metal music.

Dr Beth Snyder


I am a Research Associate at the Royal College of Music working on the AHRC-funded ‘Music, Migration and Mobility’ project. I am also a graduate of New York University’s doctoral programme in musicology, and hold an MA and BA in philosophy. I have previously occupied positions as a Visiting Research Fellow and Associate Tutor in the University of Surrey’s Department of Music and Media, Visiting Lecturer (of music) at Scripps College and (of philosophy) at California State University San Bernardino.


My research has been published in The Journal of the American Musicological Society and Twentieth-Century Music. My work is motivated by an interest in the political utility of music and, in particular, the roles played by music in producing and complicating constructions of identity. I am also interested in philosopher Ernst Bloch’s provocative theory of music’s significance, which offers an alternative to hedonic theories of aesthetic value.

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Dr Amin Hashemi


Dr Amin Hashemi is an early career interdisciplinary researcher in Musicology, Post-Structuralist Psychoanalysis & Discourse Analysis, Anthropology. He focuses on the links between musical creativity and subjectivity, the regimes of truth, and the transformations of the paradigms and everyday life. He is a SOAS graduate. His PhD Thesis was on antagonism in popular music, especially in regards to the politics of culture, transformation of meanings and subjectivity. His MA dissertation looked into revivalism discourses in music and examined how policies, artistic values and self-awareness fundamentally changed the context and content of the practice of music. He is now working on ideas regarding deeper psychoanalytical discussions of trauma, subjectivity, creativity and identities of place and migration in Europe, UK and the Middle East.

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Aidan Teplitzky



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Aidan Teplitzky is a composer and doctoral researcher exploring the creative potential of embodying working-classness in new interdisciplinary compositions. Aidan is interested in the complex variety of working-classness in modern society and enjoys investigating its connections with space and place, intergenerational differences, and intersectionality with other aspects of identity.


As a composer, Aidan has worked with a wide range of organisations including the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, the Glasgow Barons Orchestra, the Glasgow New Music Expedition, the Riot Ensemble, Psappha Ensemble, Red Note Ensemble, RCS MusicLab, the Brodick Quartet, and The Edinburgh Quartet. He has also with world-renowned performers Sinae Lee, Pascal Gallois, Milos Milivojevik, traditional singer/songwriter Ainsley Hamill, and conductors Jessica Cottis and Paul MacAlindin.

David Mitchl


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I am a prospective graduate student who researches and reads about the Asian American experience through music. I have done research on Taiko drumming and conducted interviews with Taiko players. I also research female pianists and composers such as Clara Schumann and Fanny Hensel-Mendelssohn. I have also been considering doing research on EDM and EDM culture.

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I'm Lizzie and I'm a first year PhD student at the University of Leeds. My research area investigates the ways in which music can be used to reduce the behaviour and psychological symptoms of dementia. After completing a Master of Research at the University of Nottingham that reviewed interactive and receptive musical activities for people living with dementia, I am now developing these ideas further in a funded PhD through the Stanley Burton Scholarship.

Daniel Antal


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I have been researching music, originally from a royalty valuation and economics perspective for 8 years in countries that were data poor (starting with Hungary, Slovakia, Croatia, Czechia), and extending this research by 2019 to 12 countries, and now to all Europe. https://ceereport2020.ceemid.eu/

In the meantime, we created the largest ever suvey-based database on how musicans works in and live in the world. We are currently competing to be the founders of the European Music Observatory with my team.  https://music.dataobservatory.eu/

We have an initiatve, Listen Local, which aims to understand city/region based listening habits, artist output, music migration patterns https://listenlocal.community/, and a Midlands version would be very interesting.  We are building  city or smaller region based version of our database and research basis throughout Europe.

Desirée Mayr



I am a post-doctorate scholar at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), a violinist in the Brazilian Symphony Orchestra, and a teacher. I research the work of the Brazilian nineteenth-century composer Leopoldo Miguéz, and I have taught analysis of Brazilian romantic works at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ). I obtained my Doctorate and Masters in Music from UFRJ and I studied for part of my Ph.D. at Durham University with a CAPES Sandwich Scholarship. I have a Licentiate in Violin Performance from the ABRSM (1995), a Bachelors in Violin from the UFRJ, a Bachelors in Mathematics and Physics from King’s College, London (1993), as well as pedagogical training. 

I frequently participate in international conferences, hoping to contribute to diversity and inclusivity in our field with the music of Miguéz.

Kurt Bertels


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As a classical saxophonist and researcher, I am working on the historically informed performance practice of the 19th- and early-20th-century saxophone.


In 2020, I defended my doctoral research on both the history and the performance practice of the 19th-century saxophone in Brussels, which has been published as a monograph (ASP Editions 2020) with two CD's: Works for saxophone and Orchestra by Paul Gilson (Etcetera Records 2020) and The Saxophone in 19th-Century Brussels (Etcetera Records 2020).


Currently, I am working on the phenomenon of dedication in the field of the saxophone in order to shed a new light on the historically informed performance practice of the early-20th-century saxophone.

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I'm a postdoc in Philosophy at the University of Birmingham. My current work is about the aesthetic dimension of interpersonal life, focusing on the importance of the aesthetic impressions that people make on one another. In this context I'm very interested in music as a mode of distinctly interpersonal aesthetic experience. What might be of philosophical interest here is not only the way that instrumental or otherwise performed music can affect the contours of interpersonal relations, but how the background musicality of everyday life - including the music of speech - can do likewise.

David Pattie



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I've published a monograph on the performance of rock music, and I've co edited books on Kraftwerk and Brian Eno. A co-edited book on the Velvet Underground will be appearing shortly. I'm currently working on a monograph on theatricality in pop music performance for Routledge, and I'll shortly start co-writing a book on Kraftwerk for Reaktion.


I am a Ph.D. researcher and teaching assistant in philosophy at the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi. I also have an M.Phil. in Theatre and Performance Studies. My research is focussed on the study of timbre. As a musician, I sing and also play the violin.

Darren O'Brien



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I'm an artist/musician (principally a bass player).​ My current research focuses on walking, with a canine companion, as an extension of aesthetic walking practice, and is informed by post-humanist philosophy and its application within the fine arts, through embodied auto-​​​​​​​ethnographic​ walking methodologies. This includes capturing rhythms and repetitions of walking and multispecies soundscapes, which sometimes inform musical composition. As a side project I'm interested in collaborative human and more than human sonic composition.

Salome Chitaia


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Starting September 2021, I will be conducting a practice-led research at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, which will be funded by the M4C Doctoral Training Partnership. My project will focus on the role of virtuosity, sonority, and expression in Maurice Ravel’s selected piano works; the influence of Franz Liszt will also be examined.


As a pianist, I perform internationally as solo and chamber musician and am represented by the Chopin Smolna Association in Warsaw, where I give concerts regularly. I am a laureate of international piano competitions and have participated in festivals and master classes across Europe. I hold degrees from Tbilisi State Conservatoire (BA Hons), Krakow Academy of Music (MA Distinction), Fryderyk Chopin University of Music (Postgraduate Artistic Training) and Royal Birmingham Conservatoire (APD Distinction). For more information see: Salomechitaia.com

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Bobbie-Jane Gardner


I am a composer, lecturer and researcher based at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire (Birmingham City University). My research has adapted the idea of ‘hyperlocality’ from citizen journalism into a compositional framework (‘hyperlocal’ describing highly localised media or cultural activity), working with communities on compositional projects reflecting the cultural identities of individual localities in Birmingham and online record collecting communities. I created a robust compositional methodology by critiquing and drawing from public art projects working with analogous approaches, often described as ‘site-specific’ and, through the main outcome of my research, for-Wards, an ambitious citywide music programme. My research benefits composers, curators and practice-based composition researchers to explore a hyperlocal compositional method of co-creation in community settings.

Giulia Lorenzi




I'm a PhD student in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Warwick. My PhD project aims to explain the uniqueness of the perceptual experience of listening to music. My main research interests concern topics in philosophy of auditory perception, metaphysics of time, philosophy of mind and action. Previously, I finished my MA in philosophy at the State University of Milan with a final dissertation on the metaphysic of sounds and my BA in philosophy at the University of Bergamo with a dissertation on time perception through musical experience.

I am also a musician with both a first degree and a MA in music performance in French Horn. During many years of artistic career, I have performed with different orchestras inside and outside music conservatories. Before moving to England, I was 4th horn in the wind orchestra Filarmonica Mousike in Bergamo, Italy, where I took part also in the jazz programme Profumo di Violetta with soloist Gianluigi Trovesi. When I moved to Warwick, I joined the Warwick University Wind Orchestra as 1st horn.

I am currently funded by AHRC through M4C. In my free time, I read fiction, play music and explore further philosophical areas.

Kristen Horner



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I’m Kristen and I’m a 2nd year PhD student based at the University of Nottingham. My project works closely with the Nottingham Music Service (NMS) and explores the provision of Music Education Hubs in England. I have a background in music teaching, including Whole Class Ensemble Teaching with NMS in Nottingham primary schools and in private cello teaching. Performance has always been a part of my life too – I’ve led the cello section with the University of Nottingham Philharmonia and co-led in the Nottingham Philharmonic Orchestra, among many other varied performance experiences over the years. 

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I am doing a PhD in the virtual spatial potential for audiovisual composition afforded by mixed reality technology. From an undergrad and MA Res background of music technology and multichannel electroacoustic audiovisual composition, I found I was greatly limited in sharing my work, either distributing it or the logistics of putting on concerts. My research considers how these challenges could be over come by using mixed reality technology.

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I am a pianist, teacher and lecturer based in Coventry. My main area of interest is Instrumental Teaching, specifically how improvisation and composition can be incorporated into lessons to develop our students into creative, well-rounded musicians. I am the Director of The Piano School and am a module leader at Nexus ICA where I lead undergrad and postgrad courses on Instrumental Teaching and Music Pedagogy. I have previously worked as Director of Assessment for the Certificate of Music Educators and am a regular guest lecturer for The Piano Teachers' Course based at The Purcell School.


In 2010 I graduated from EPTA’s Certificate of Practical Piano Teaching with distinction, and in 2016 I was awarded a Masters with Distinction in Instrumental Teaching from the University of Reading. I am married to Matt and we have 2 young children.