Professor Edward Venn

Professor Edward Venn


I am Professor of Music at the University of Leeds, having previously worked at Lancaster University (2001–13). My research focuses on the analysis and interpretation of twentieth-century and contemporary music, with a particular interest in the work of British composers. Recent publications include articles and book chapters on the music of Thomas Adès, Harrison Birtwistle, Simon Holt, David Matthews and Michael Tippett; current activity takes in the work of Julian Anderson, Michael Finnissy, Thomas Adès, and the documentaries of composers by the director Barrie Gavin.

I am an advisor and regular contributor to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Associate Editor of the journal Music Analysis, and am on the editorial board of the Journal of Music and Meaning. My second monograph, Thomas Adès: Asyla (Landmarks in Music Since 1950), supported by a Leverhulme Research Fellowship, was published in 2017 by Routledge, who have also recently issued my The Music of Hugh Wood (Ashgate, 2008) in paperback. I have also published on pedagogical matters such as student engagement and digital pedagogies.

I am currently completing research as part of an AHRC Leadership Fellowship, The Operas of Thomas Adès, and in 2021–23 am partially seconded to the Leeds Institute for Teaching Excellence to research student sense of belonging and digital pedagogies.

I hold an LRSM in conducting, and have remained an active performer alongside my academic career. I have directed a range of ensembles based in North Yorkshire, Birmingham and the North-West of England, performing repertoire from 1500 to the present day. Ensembles include:

  • York Symphony Orchestra
  • Easingwold Singers
  • Yorchestra
  • Morecambe and District Philharmonic Choir
  • Lancaster and District Male Voice Choir
  • Contemporary Music Making for Amateurs (North west)
  • Lancashire Chamber Orchestra
  • Workers' Education Association Sinfonia (Birmingham, Ladywood)
  • Aesklepios Orchestra (University of Birmingham Medical School)

Current Research Students (Primary supervisor)

  • Stephanie Jones
  • Oana Kariotoglou
  • Sapphire Littler
  • Shuai Lui
  • Matthew Palfreyman

Current Research Students (Co-Supervisor)

  • Emma Affleck
  • Colleen Lloyd Anderson

Completed Research Students (Primary supervisor)


Completed Research Students (Co-Supervisor)

  • Adam Greig (Lancaster University)
  • Hans Kretz (University of Leeds)
  • Philip Purvis (Lancaster University)


  • Director of International Activity

Research interests

  • analysis
  • interpretation
  • music since 1900 (including popular music)
  • performance studies
  • student engagement
  • digital pedagogies

Grants obtained:

  • AHRC Leadership Fellowship (2020)
  • Music and Letters Trust (2019)
  • Erasmus+ mobility funding (2018)
  • Music and Letters Trust (2016)
  • Leverhulme Research Fellowship (2013)
  • Ernst von Siemens foundation (2011)
  • Music and Letters Trust (2011)
  • Music Analysis Development Fund (2008)
  • PALATINE Development Award (2008)
  • German SFB 619 RitualDynamik(2008)
  • Music Analysis Development Fund (2007)
  • AHRB PhD Award (1999)

Journal editing/editorial boards:

  • Editor, Music Analysis (2019–present)
  • Associate Editor, Music Analysis (2017–2019)
  • Critical Forum Editor, Music Analysis (2011–2016)
  • Member of Music AnalysisEditorial Board (2007–present)
  • Member of Journal of Music and Meaning Editorial Board (2004–present)

Committee membership:

  • Member of Executive Committe, National Association for Music in Higher Education (2008–11)
  • Member of Executive Committee, Society for Music Analysis (2003–11)

Conference organisation:

  • Organising, and tutoring on, Society of Music Analysis Summer School (University of Leeds, 2018)
  • Organised and directed Be Not Afeard: Language, Music and Cultural Memory in the Operas of Thomas Adès (Senate House, London, 2017)
  • Organised and directed two international conferences: Seventh International Conference on Music Since 1900 and Lancaster University Music Analysis Conference (Lancaster University, 2011)
  • Organised 'Performance and Gesture' study day (Lancaster University, 2008)
  • Organised SMA/PALATINE Study Day 'Music Analysis and Teaching' (Lancaster University, 2006)
  • Co-director, ‘Music 625’: Performance and Music TV, 1960 and After (University of Leeds, 2018)
  • Programme Committee, 9th European Music Analysis Conference (Strasbourg, 2017)
  • Programme Committee, XIIIth Congress on Musical Signification (Canterbury Christ Church, 2016)
  • Programme Committee, Keele University Music Analysis Conference (Keele, 2015)
  • Programme Committee, Eighth International Conference on Music Since 1900 (Liverpool, 2013)
  • Programme Committee, RaAM (Researching and Applying Metaphor) 9, (Lancaster, 2012)
  • Programme Committee, European Music Analysis Conference (Rome, 2011)
  • Co-director, 13th International Doctoral and Postdoctoral Seminar on Music Semiotics (University of Helsinki, March 2010)
<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • BA Music and Maths (first class), University of Birmingham (1997)
  • MA in Music (distinction), University of Birmingham (1998)
  • PhD in Music (University of Birmingham, 2002)
  • LRSM

Student education

My teaching in the School of Music is primarily in the area of music theory and analysis. I also contribute to performance modules and dissertation supervision.

External examining

  • Phd, Kingston University (2011)
  • Phd, Keele University (2014)
  • Phd, Birmingham City University (2015)
  • Phd, University of Huddersfield (2017)
  • MA by Research, University of Birmingham (2017)
  • Phd, University of Surrey (2017)
  • Phd, Odeion School of Music, South Africa (2018)

Research groups and institutes

  • Music as Culture
  • PRIA

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="">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>