Find Your Course
Liverpool Hope Logo

Filter news by category:

print Icon print this page share this article

PhD Scholarships: Music

PhD Scholarships Wednesday 24 June 2015

Liverpool Hope had launched a series of PhD Scholarships and welcomes applications from outstanding individuals of a high calibre to pursue PhD research at Liverpool Hope University in selected areas. We are seeking confident, innovative postgraduates with a record of achievement to undertake a broad range of thematic and inter-disciplinary projects. This call is open to both UK/EU and international applicants.

You can find full details about the Scholarships (link) or you can also contact Research Officer Mr Chris Lowry quoting '2015 Vice-Chancellor's PhD Scholarships' for more information, by emailing

The Scholarships available will be selected from a range of specific project. Over the coming weeks, will profile the details of these areas of research.



Between Composition and Performance: The Piano Music of Franz Schubert (1797–1828)

Principal Investigator: Dr Alberto Sanna

It is common for musicologists to deal with composition and performance as if they were two distinct fields of musical activity. This is remarkable, for the history of European music records numerous instances of composers who were also active as performers, as well as of performers who composed pieces of music. The proposed research proceeds from the premise that the interaction between composition and performance is crucial to the understanding of various musical repertoires. Whilst this is apparent in the case of such genres as opera, the same cannot be said of other more ‘abstract’ genres for which a study of this relationship is just as fundamental.

A particularly relevant example is the piano music of Franz Schubert – from the more imposing sonatas to the miniature genres. Schubert was one of the leading composers for and performers on the piano of the early nineteenth century, at a time when both the instrument and its repertoire underwent significant changes. And yet Schubert’s piano compositions have hardly been studied with a twofold focus on their compositional features as well as performing implications.

We invite applications for a PhD project on Schubert’s piano works under the supervision of Dr Alberto Sanna. The PhD candidate will be required to conduct research at the intersection between the fields of Historical Musicology and Performance Studies. In particular, he or she will be required to analyse late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century treatises on piano playing to gain insights on the performance practices of the time and their impact upon contemporary compositional strategies. In addition, he or she will be required to conduct close analyses of Schubert’s compositions as well as the specific socio-cultural context of Biedermier Vienna in an attempt to suggest a viable alternative to the traditional study of musical cultures along temporal or geographical axes.

A PhD student investigating the piano works of Franz Schubert will contribute to the Music Department’s current strengths in the fields of Historical Musicology and Performance Studies. These two areas were instrumental to the Department’s excellent performance in the 2014 REF, as they will certainly be in the next research assessment exercise. They also inform to a considerable extent the Undergraduate (BA Music) and Postgraduate (MA Music) curricula.

Dr Sanna is a musicologist as well as a professional performer. His work blends historical-theoretical reflections with interpretative-practical approaches. As a scholar, he is interested in the musical behaviours and thoughts of past musicians as found in contemporary documents and compositions; as a practitioner, he focuses on the historically informed performance of ensemble music repertoires. This is reflected in his publications which range from scholarly essays to recordings.


Is there a feminine sound? Electroacoustic music composition trends and female practitioners in the UK, 1950-present

Principal Investigators: Associate Professor Laura Hamer and Dr Manuella Blackburn

Since its emergence in the 1940s, electroacoustic music has been dominated by male practitioners, pioneers and theorists. Today’s international electroacoustic music scene presents a very different picture, with women contributing to the growing body of sonic arts practices. The UK, as home to many contemporary women contributors to the electroacoustic music genre, forms a unique hub where electroacoustic music thrives in academia, commercial and creative areas. The number of women practitioners has accelerated in past decades. Historically, however, this evolution in the UK has remained largely under-documented (despite the presence of early British female pioneers, such as Delia Derbyshire). Also, the link between increased numbers of women and the possible changing sound of electroacoustic music appears to have gone unnoticed. The effect and influence this sound has on the genre as a whole is a valid avenue of thought within the discourse and one might question ‘what sounds and musical ideas are women making in the field today’ and ‘can these be identified as feminine?’ Since Susan McClary’s ground-breaking work on music and gender in the early 1990s, these research questions have been extensively debated within the realms of both classical and popular music, gendered archetypes within electroacoustic music, however, have yet to be explored. The holder of the PhD scholarship will join the Department’s newly established Women in Music Research Group.

Show more