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Faculty of Music

Prof Nicholas  Marston


Professor of Music Theory and Analysis


Nicholas Marston is Professor of Music Theory and Analysis in the Faculty of Music; he is also Praelector and Director of Studies in Music of King’s College. Prospective undergraduate and graduate students are welcome to contact him at any time.

I came up to Cambridge in 1977, as a Choral Exhibitioner at Corpus Christi College; prior to that I’d been educated at a grammar school in Penzance, Cornwall. On graduation, I began a Ph. D. dissertation on the sketches for Beethoven’s op. 109 piano sonata (a revised version was published as a book, in 1995). In 1984 I was awarded the Trevelyan Research Fellowship at Selwyn College; I resigned that fellowship in 1986 in order to accept one of the inaugural British Academy Post-Doctoral Fellowships, my host institution being King’s College London. In 1989 I was appointed to my first full-time post, as University Lecturer in Music at the University of Exeter. I left Exeter for Bristol in 1994, but after one year I accepted a post at Oxford, where I was University Lecturer (subsequently Reader) in Music, Fellow of St Peter’s College, and College Lecturer at St Edmund Hall.

My return to Cambridge, and this time to King’s College, came in 2001. My research interests range across Beethoven manuscript studies; theory and analysis (especially Schenkerian analysis); Schumann (especially the Lieder, and later choral music); the history of the choral foundation at King’s College. I am a contributor to Schenker Documents Online. I am a former Chairman of the Editorial Board of the journal Music Analysis (I now sit on the Advisory Panel) former and Editor-in-Chief of Beethoven Forum.


Key publications: 

The Beethoven Compendium (London, 1991) [co-author]

Schumann: Fantasie, op. 17 (Cambridge, 1992)

Beethoven’s Piano Sonata in E, op. 109 (Oxford, 1995)

‘”Wie aus der ferne”: Pastness and Presentness in the Lieder of Beethoven, Schubert, and Schumann’, in Schubert durch die Brille (Tutzing, 1998)

‘Voicing Beethoven’s Distant Beloved’, in Beethoven and His World, ed. Scott Burnham and Michael P. Steinberg (Princeton, 2000)

‘Schubert’s Homecoming’, Journal of the Royal Musical Association, 125 (2000)

‘Who’s Beethoven?’, Beethoven Forum, 11 (2004)

‘The Most Significant Musical Question of the Day: Schumann’s Music in Britain in the Later Nineteenth Century’,Robert und Clara Schumann und die nationalen Musikkulturen des 19. Jahrhunderts, ed. Matthias Wendt. Schumann Forschungen 9 (Mainz, 2005)

‘In the “Twilight Zone”: Beethoven’s Unfnished Piano Trio in F Minor’, Journal of the Royal Musical Association, 131 (2006)

‘Schumann’s Heroes: Schubert, Beethoven, Bach’, The Cambridge Companion to Schumann, ed. Beate Perrey (Cambridge, 2007)

‘Schumann’s Gesänge der Frühe, Op. 133: A “False Dawn”?’, Rivista di Analisi e Teoria Musicale 16 (2010)

Entzückt: Schumann, Raphael, Faust’, Rethinking Schumann, ed. Roe-Min Kok and Laura Tunbridge (Oxford, 2011)

‘Schenker’s Concept of a Beethoven Sonata Edition’, Essays from the Fourth International Schenker Symposium, Vol. 2, ed. L. Poundie Burstein, Lynne Rogers, and Karen M. Bottge (Hildesheim: Georg Olms, 2013)

‘The Development of Schenker’s Concept of Interruption’, Music Analysis 32 (2013)

Heinrich Schenker and Beethoven’s ‘Hammerklavier’ Sonata (Ashgate, 2013)

‘ “As England knows it”: “Daddy” Mann and King’s College Choir, 1876–1929’, in King’s College Chapel 1515-2015: Music, Art and Religion in Cambridge, ed. Jean-Michel Massing and Nicolette Zeeman (2014)

M. Phil. and Ph. D. supervisees have in recent years explored the following areas:

  • Notation in Beethoven’s keyboard and string quartet music;
  • Woman composers within the London Pianoforte School;
  • Elgar and Heidegger: analysis of his ‘modernist’ music;
  • Schubert, song, and German ‘nature’;
  • Schubert and later nineteenth-century tonality;
  • Mendelssohn and cyclical form;
  • Bartok source studies;
  • Britten source studies
  • The sources for Schumann’s Das Paradies und die Peri

Contact Details

King's College