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David Thomas Cotter

David Thomas Cotter

PhD Student

David Cotter is available for consultancy.


David is currently reading for his PhD in Music in the Faculty of Music at the University of Cambridge, under the supervision of Professor John Rink. His thesis (Collaborative Creativity in Classical Guitar Performance: ‘Reassessing the Role of Accompanist’) comprises building a database of classical guitar accompaniments from 1795 to the present day, identifying how the instrument’s unique affordances and characteristics possess suitability for accompaniment, and exploring how embodied, musical and visual performative devices (both existing and innovative) can convey aesthetic intentions.

Previously, David completed his MPhil in Music Studies at the University of Cambridge (2017-18), and obtained a BA in Music (1st Class Honours) at the University of Durham (2013-16).

In recent years David has studied with some of the world's leading musicians including:

Alison Smith (University of Plymouth, UK)
Andrew West (Royal Academy of Music, UK)
Antigoni Goni (Greece)
Carlos Bonell (Royal College of Music, UK)
Dame Emma Kirkby (UK)
Daniela Rossi (Argentina)
David Russell (Scotland)
Diego Castro Magas (Catholic University of Chile, Chile)
Graham Devine (Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, UK)
Hector Sequera (University of Durham, UK)
Jacob Heringman (UK)
John Mills (Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, UK)
John Snijders (University of Durham, UK)
Margarita Escarpa (Spain)
Máximo Diego Pujol (Argentina)
Miloš Karadaglić (Montenegro)
Paco Seco (Spain)
Pavel Steidl (Czech Republic)

Passionate about ensemble performance, David frequently collaborates with cellists, choirs, clarinetists, composers, flautists, guitarists, guitar orchestras, harpists, percussionists, pianists, recorder players, singers, and violinists. He performs as one half of Duo Palatino, with mezzo-soprano Sophie Kidwell

Other musical interests range from EDM to progressive rock music, and particularly the music of Genesis.

Research Interests

  • Accompaniment
  • Aesthetics
  • Classical guitar
  • Collaboration
  • Creativity
  • Ensemble performance
  • Entrainment
  • Expressiveness
  • Flow
  • Gesture
  • Improvisation
  • Live performance
  • Motion capture
  • New complexity
  • Phenomenology
  • Physicality of performance
  • Practice-led research
  • Sound analysis
  • Virtual Reality

Other Professional Activities


Captain - Sidney Sussex College, University of Cambridge
University Challenge 2019-20


Studentship Award
International Guitar Research Centre / University of Surrey

Judith E Wilson Award
Faculty of English, University of Cambridge

Employability Scholarship
(for International Guitar Research Centre Conference, University of Surrey)
Awarded by University College, University of Durham



Presentations (Lectures / Lecture-Recitals)

Cotter, David, 'New Work for Classical Guitar & Live Electronics with Dynamic VR Score: Structuring improvisation in a three-dimensional virtual environment' (presenting at International Guitar Research Centre Conference, Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, Hong Kong, 2019)

Cotter, David, 'BREKEKEKEX (2019): A New Collaborative Work for Classical Guitar, Live Electronics & VR Headset Score (Lecture-Recital)' (presenting at 'The Classical Musician in the 21st Century’, University of Cambridge, 2019)

Cotter, David, 'New Work for Classical Guitar & Live Electronics with Dynamic VR Score: Structuring improvisation in a three-dimensional virtual environment' (presented at EXPO2, University of Oxford, 2019)

Cotter, David, ‘New Approaches To Understanding The Role Of Physical Gesture In Classical Guitar Performance’ (presented at the Research Masterclass, Guildhall School Of Music And Drama, 2018)


Academic Programme Manager

Brescia Classical Guitar Symposium
Brescia, Italy
Summer 2020

Organising Committee

The Classical Musician in the 21st Century
Royal Musicological Association Study Day
Faculty of Music, University of Cambridge
23 May 2019


NordicSMC Winter School (sound and motion analysis)
RITMO Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies in Rhythm, Time and Motion
University of Oslo, Norway
4 - 8 March 2019

Dublin Guitar Symposium
TU Dublin Conservatory of Music and Drama, Republic of Ireland
22 - 23 February 2019

Dublin Guitar Day
TU Dublin Conservatory of Music and Drama, Republic of Ireland
21 February 2019

International Guitar Research Centre Conference
University of Surrey, UK
18 - 23 March 2016


Vocal Outreach Workshop (w/ Paul Smith: co-founder of VOCES8)
Mount Kelly Foundation, Tavistock, Devon
14 October 2016