Dr Clive McClelland

Dr Clive McClelland


I am an Associate Professor of Music, responsible for the delivery of courses in 18C music, opera, choral singing, analysis and harmony & counterpoint. My main research interest is in the field of topic theory, I am also a busy choral director, and am chorus master of Leeds Baroque.

After graduating from Birmingham University in 1981, I was a schoolteacher for several years before taking up a position as a part-time lecturer at Leeds University in 1994 and have been full-time since 1999. I gained my PhD in 2001, and was promoted to Senior Teaching Fellow in 2002 and Principal Teaching Fellow in 2010. 

I have been an Associate Professor since 2013, since which time I have been more active as a researcher. In 2018 I was elected Chairman of the Schubert Institute UK, and am on the Advisory Panel of the Haydn Society of Great Britain.I have directed workshops in early vocal music for the North East Early Music Forum, the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, and for the Cambridge Early Music Summer School. I have given lectures and workshops around the world, including Weimar, Katowice and Barcelona (via the Erasmus scheme), and Edinburgh, Dublin, Washington DC and Pretoria. Interests outside music include military history, cricket, wine, walking and chess. I am married with two adult children and live in Harrogate.


  • Taught Postgraduate Tutor

Research interests

My main research interest is in the field of topic theory, and I have written the entries on ombra and tempesta in the New Grove dictionary online. My first book, Ombra: Supernatural Music in the Eighteenth Century (Lexington Books) appeared in 2012, and a companion volume, Tempesta: Stormy Music in the Eighteenth Century came out in 2017. Both have been described as representing milestones in the ongoing search for understanding how composers used musical conventions to communicate with their audiences. I also contributed the chapter on ombra and tempesta in The Oxford Handbook of Topic Theory and have published chapters on the use of these topics in Schubert lieder, in Spohr's Faust and in horror movie music. In October 2021 I appeared as a guest on BBC Radio 3’s The Early Music Show to talk about supernatural music. Back in 2007 I made an interesting discovery about the possible source of Elgar's Enigma theme, which appeared in the Musical Times, and which generated local and national radio and press coverage.

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://ahc.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • PhD (Leeds 2001)
  • MMus (Leeds 1994)
  • PGCE (Birmingham 1982)
  • BMus (Birmingham 1981)

Professional memberships

  • Chairman, Schubert Institute UK
  • Advisory Panel member, Haydn Society GB
  • Trustee/Chorus Master, Leeds Baroque
  • Member, National Education Union

Student education

I am proud to have devoted the greater part of my working life to teaching. I find that I have a gift for communicating  ideas effectively, conveying my knowledge and enthusiasm to students with clarity and authority while maintaining a relaxed learning atmosphere. Student feedback is almost exclusively positive, and I enjoy a reputation as someone who cares about student learning and who is approachable and friendly, particularly among those under my pastoral care. In 2018 I won a Partnership Award for quality of feedback, and in the following year four nominations for ‘inspirational teaching'. In 2021 I was nominated for an Innovation award due to my imaginative approaches to online teaching during the Covid pandemic. My commitment to student welfare is demonstrated by my having instigated the Grifiths/Scholey Award, a fund to support students with financial problems.

Research groups and institutes

  • Music as Culture

Current postgraduate researchers

<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>