Visiting Scholar: Professor Daniel Leech-Wilkinson (King’s College London)

In addition to student presentations, the Postgraduate Coordinator will overview the new Career Development Framework implemented by the UQ Graduate School, which offers HDR students exciting opportunities to develop career skills alongside their research training.

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Professor Daniel Leech-Wilkinson

'Challenging Classical Music Performance Norms'

While Western Classical Music appears to celebrate creativity, and generates powerfully moving experiences, it also constitutes one of the most authoritarian and strongly codified cultural systems in contemporary democratic societies. Young musicians are taught how each score is supposed to be performed so as to generate the expressive qualities it is supposed to convey to listeners. Performances that fail to produce the musical character that's expected are often held to be incorrect. Teachers, examiners, adjudicators, critics, agents, concert managers, festival programmers and record producers work in harmony to ensure that standards and styles of performance are strictly maintained. Performers know that playing ‘out of style’ will deny them work. Does this sound like a creative practice?

This talk will argue that other approaches to performing classical scores are possible, drawing on early recordings and modern experiment. It will examine the rhetoric of record critics, as they seek to maintain the status quo. It will take a fresh look at the ethical obligations of performers. It will consider the benefits of a performing practice in which production is preferred to reproduction and in which performers and composers are equally respected for their creativity. And it will offer examples, including Helios Collective’s recent ‘Dido & Belinda’.

Daniel Leech-Wilkinson is Emeritus Professor of Music at King’s College London. He studied at the Royal College of Music, KCL, and Cambridge University, becoming first a medievalist and then, since c. 2000, specialising in the implications of early recordings for musical ethics, performance and communication. Books include The Changing Sound of Music (2009) and (with Helen Prior) Music and Shape (2018).

Andrew Butt

'Jazz up North Down Under: An inquiry into jazz performance, culture and identity through collaborative recitals in Queensland, Australia'

This study in music performance investigates the influence of culture and identity on the jazz performance outcomes of the author through collaborative recitals in Queensland, Australia. The research took place in three phases, correlating with major jazz performances produced over a three-year time frame; the 2015 Brisbane International Jazz Festival, 2016 Jazz Up North and the 2017 Brisbane International Jazz Festival.

About Higher Degrees by Research Seminar Series

The seminar series showcases our Higher Degree by Research candidates’ work. The seminars are open to the public, and we regularly have visiting scholars attend and present their research. Please register by following the link in the session below that you wish to attend.


Zelman Cowen Building (51), UQ St Lucia
Room 460