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Centre for Music and Science

Xi Zhang is supervised by Ian Cross. Her interdisciplinary research involves Music Perception and Cognition, Ethnomusicology, and Linguistics. Her doctoral study explores the relationship between language and music, focusing on the shared property of pitch in speech and singing in tone languages. Xi read Music Education for her BA and studied Psychology of Music for her MA at Xinghai Conservatory of Music in China. She also holds an MMus in Ethnomusicology from SOAS, University of London. She joined the Centre for Music and Science in 2017. Xi’s quest to understand the interaction between music and human behaviour and cognition in cultural contexts has led to publications in both English and Chinese.
Nicky Swett is supervised by Ian Cross and Nicholas Marston. His doctoral thesis investigates the wordless musical analyses of critic and broadcaster Hans Keller from biographical, analytical, and cognitive perspectives. His research interests include musical pattern learning and pedagogy, analogy and comparison, audiovisual processing, arrangement and transcription, and the relationships between diverse musical styles. He holds previous degrees from Northwestern University (B.M. in Cello Performance and B.A./M.A. in Comparative Literature) and the University of Sheffield (M.A. in Psychology of Music), and he spent two years as a member of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago. He currently holds a Gates Scholarship.
Huw Cheston is supervised by Peter Harrison and Ian Cross. His PhD research focuses on using empirical and psychological methods to gain insight into the communicative and interactive processes involved in the performance of improvised music, especially jazz. He also performs widely across the UK as a guitarist. He received his Master’s and Undergraduate degrees in Music from Oxford University, graduating from both programmes with the highest overall mark in his cohort. He currently holds a Lewis Research Scholarship in the Humanities and a Vice-Chancellor’s Award.

Katya Ness joined the Faculty of Music in April 2023 as a research assistant on the Leverhulme-funded project Score Design for Music Reading, and doctoral student under the supervision of Prof Ian Cross. The Score Design Project (led by Prof Ian Cross and Dr Arild Stenberg) explores whether standard notation can be redesigned so as to make it more effective for at least some of the purposes for which it is employed. Their preliminary experiments suggest that simple but systematic and structured modifications can lead to increased fluency and accuracy in sightreading. Katya holds degrees from Keele University (BA in Music) and the Royal College of Music (MSc in Performance Science). A majority of her previous research observed how students perceived, interacted with, and developed sight-reading and specific sight-reading skills. Hence, she is very enthusiastic to be working on the Score Design Project and exploring the effects of modified notation on students’ learning and performance. Katya also has extensive experience as an instrumental teacher, orchestral violinist, and piano accompanist.
Katelyn Emerson, supervised by Peter Harrison, joined the Centre for Music and Science in 2022. Her research interests include music performance pedagogy and analysis, linguistics, psychology, and ergonomics and injury prevention. Her PhD research investigates explicit and implicit contextual influences on organists’ rubato and articulation, informed by her background as a concertising musician. Katelyn has performed extensively as a concert organist in venues throughout North America, Europe, and Asia that include Musashino Civic Cultural Hall (Japan), Walt Disney Hall (Los Angeles, California), Hallgrímskirkja (Reykjavík, Iceland), Basílica de Santa Maria de Montserrat (Spain), Cadet Chapel (West Point, New York), and Kurhaus Wiesbaden (Germany). Recipient of both a Fulbright grant and a German Academic Exchange Scholarship (DAAD), Katelyn holds degrees from Oberlin College and Conservatory (BMus in organ, BA in French), Conservatoire de Toulouse (perfectionnement), Musikhochschule Stuttgart (MA organ), and the University of Cambridge (MPhil music). Her doctoral research is funded through a 3+1 Economic and Social Science Research Council Studentship and a UK Research and Innovation International Fee Bursary. 
Joshua Frank is supervised by Peter Harrison. His research takes a cross-cultural approach to understanding relationships between pitch structures, statistical regularities of musical practice, and aesthetic preferences. He holds a bachelor’s degree in music performance and a master’s degree in musicology from Stellenbosch University, South Africa, where he also taught for several years. His previous research investigated factors underlying emotional responses to music, an interest which he continues to explore. He has also worked extensively as a performing musician in South Africa, with a focus on Baroque chamber music. His research is funded by a Doctoral Training Partnership from the Economic and Social Research Council.


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Latest news

Xiaoyue Zhou to start funded PhD at University College London

13 May 2024

We are very happy to hear that Xiaoyue Zhou, summer project student at the CMS (2023), has been awarded a PhD studentship at University College London. Xiaoyue will be working with Prof. Maria Chait and Prof. Neil Burgess. Congratulations Xiaoyue!

Claire Brillon to start funded PhD at McGill University

8 April 2024

We are proud to share that Claire Brillon, recent CMS MPhil student (2022-23), will be starting a funded PhD later this year at McGill University. Claire hopes to study the emotions of timbre, and will be perfectly located to do so with Stephen McAdams and Marcelo Wanderley. Congratulations Claire!