Francis Bebey’s Living Room Experiments

Caption: Francis Bebey playing a sanza in his home studio c. 1970s. Photo courtesy of the Bebey family.

By Sophie A. Brady

While there has been significant study of European and North American composers who drew upon African musical elements in their compositions, artists from the African continent who also experimented with similar material have received less attention. One such artist was Francis Bebey (1929-2001), a Cameroonian-French writer, composer, and music scholar who lived most of his adult life in Paris, France. He was one of the first musicians from the African continent to combine electronic instruments, such as synthesizers and tapes, with African instruments, most commonly the sanza and n’dehou. <1> But his use of electronic instruments, though notable for its time, is just one dimension of his compositional approach. What makes his music truly avant-garde is how he transformed the conventional building blocks of a popular song—voice, lyrics, timbre, and instrumentation—to create something radical. In this blog post, I analyze the role that the voice plays in one of Bebey’s albums, Akwaaba: Music for Sanza (1985),to make the case for his music’s experimental legacy. Looking more closely at African artists like Bebey and others not only promotes a more global understanding of the history of twentieth-century music, but also complicates conventional notions of African music, which is frequently classified in binary categories of either traditional or popular music.

Caption: Francis Bebey, c. 1950s.

Source: “Francis Bebey, artiste 1929-2001,” Facebook profile page maintained by his daughter, Kidi Bebey.

Born on July 15, 1929, in Akwa, a village which is now part of Douala, Cameroon, Francis Bebey was the youngest son of Fritz, a Baptist pastor, and Magdalena. <2> Services at his father’s church exposed him to European sacred art music, and as a child he taught himself to read music and play the organ.<3> Later, Bebey moved to France, where he studied at the Sorbonne and at the Studio-École of the Société de la Radiodiffusion d’Outre-Mer, a training program run by Radio France for broadcasters and technicians from former French colonies and overseas territories.<4> From 1961 to 1974, he worked at UNESCO, first as a Program Assistant and Editor in the Radio and Television Department, then as a Cultural Development Program Specialist and Head of Music.<5> His daughter, Kidi, recounts how her father heard Andrés Segovia on the radio one evening, and this inspired him to pick up a guitar and begin playing in the evenings after work. <6> He released his first record with two original compositions in 1965, but it was not until he took an extended musical research trip to the African continent on behalf of UNESCO that he decided to pursue composing and writing seriously. <7> He made more than 25 records during his career, composing many of his pieces in his living room with homemade equipment and the help of his children, two of whom, Toups and Patrick, toured with him until his death in 2001 and are still professional musicians today. <8>

Though Bebey is perceived as a popular musician, the experimental dimensions of his music reflect what Benjamin Piekut terms the “vernacular avant-garde,” or music that is rooted in popular and populist ideas or forms while also presenting a radical or critical aesthetic translation of modernity. The mainstream appeal of pieces like “The Coffee Cola Song” (1982) confirms his skill in the popular sphere, but his works also challenge the aesthetics of conventional popular music. Many of his pieces are purely instrumental, and those that do feature lyrics are bitingly satirical, with complex poetic language that could be confoundingly opaque for his audience. Combining synthesizers and tapes, conventional guitar, bass, and drum machine, African instruments, and eclectic melodic sources, some of Bebey’s longer compositions are more than ten minutes long and push the boundaries of the typical pop music form. As Kidi Bebey recounts, “sometimes the public, eager to dance and sing along […], found themselves surprised and even bewildered by some of his more difficult compositions.” <10>

Musical Example: Akwaaba: Music for Sanza (1985)

Commentors often highlight Bebey’s innovative use of electronics, pointing out that he employed an electronically modified sanza more than twenty years before Konono Nº1 did the same thing on their 2004 Congotronics album. <11> But if we look beyond the electronics, we can hear how these instruments interact with other, more innovative aspects of his compositions. For example, in his 1985 album, Akwaaba: Music for Sanza (1985),Bebey exploits the extremes of his voice and the various effects of microphone distortion and manipulation, shifting between sprechstimme-like speech, gravelly baritone, and trembling falsetto. Against a backdrop of electronically modified sanza, bass guitar, drum machine, and n’dehou, each track on the album blends into the next, giving the impression of one continuous, 42-minute composition. On the second track, “Bissau,” his quasi-monotone parlando becomes more and more distorted as the song continues, giving a plaintive quality to his repetition of the song’s title as he extends the final syllable until it becomes an unpitched, staticky scream that disappears into the n’dehou flute (7:39-8:42). The next piece, “Binta Madiallo,” showcases another aesthetic dimension of elongated syllables. This time, Bebey’s light hum floats high above the other instruments, rising and falling with a fluttery tone until it finally dies out (13:48-14:13). “Sassandra,” the sixth work on the album, introduces yet another dimension of the voice as Bebey’s sigh weaves in and out of the instrumental texture. But this time it is inhalation that is the focus, with a shuddering, noisy breath punctuating the beginning of each syncopated melodic fragment (29:00-29:34). The final track, “Di Sengi,” begins with a tight, rhythmic dance groove, with Bebey counting in German before launching into a catchy, repetitive refrain (35:34-37:03). With a quality somewhere between speaking and singing as introduced earlier in the album, Bebey intones the verses in the Douala language conversationally, pausing poignantly as though waiting for an interlocutor to respond and punctuating his musings with the occasional deep chuckle (37:38-37:54). As though showing off the ease with which he has moved through a veritable catalog of virtuosic vocal techniques, Bebey’s laugh concludes Akwaaba with a surplus of joy.  

Recently, Bebey’s music has experienced something of a revival with a series of compilation and remix albums released by Born Bad Records, a French indie music album. <12> These reissues mediate North American audiences’ nostalgia for an earlier era of dance music with consumeristic demand for novelty by inviting them to discover Bebey’s “psychedelic” and synthesized beats. The trend echoes a similar interest in world music recordings from indie labels such as Sublime Frequencies and others, which propose distorted, obscure tracks from elsewhere in the world as a replacement for a disappearing North American analog underground culture. <13> But packaging Bebey as merely the African equivalent to well-known North American and European dance music trailblazers risks obscuring his music’s unique cross-genre contributions. <14> Bebey’s total transformation of vernacular music idioms both delighted and perplexed listeners in his day, and retaining this productive tension is vital for understanding the history of the global avant-garde.


<1> The sanza, also known as the mbira, is a lamellophone, or thumb piano that is popular throughout Eastern and Central Africa. The n’dehou (alternate spelling: hundewhu)is a bamboo flute that is played by people from several ethnic groups in the Congo River basin in Central Africa. Here is a brief video of Francis Bebey demonstrating the n’dehou:

<2>Bebey, Kidi. My Kingdom for A Guitar. 2021, 6. At the time of Francis Bebey’s birth in 1929, the modern-day country of Cameroon was divided into French and British colonial territories. Prior to the French and British occupation, it was a German colony, which is perhaps reflected in his parents’ German first names. Kidi Bebey speculates that Magdalena Bebey (her grandmother) might have intended that Francis be named Franziskus or Frantz, but this was never confirmed because Francis’s mother died shortly after he was born.

<3> Ibid, 16.

<4> Archives Nationales de France, Fonds Culture; Radio France.

<5> “Francis Bebey – Curriculum Vitae” and “Francis Bebey – Description des Postes (UNESCO),” private archives.

<6> Bebey, Kidi. My Kingdom for A Guitar, 38-39; Kidi Bebey interview with the author, November 16, 2021. 

<7> Ibid, 182-184.

<8> Patrick Bebey, Interview with the author, December 14, 2021.

<9> Piekut, Benjamin. Henry Cow: The World is a Problem, 2019, 388.

<10> Cagnolari, Vladimir. “Farewell Bebey, your children salute you,” 2021

<11> May, Chris. “The Electric Futurism of Cameroonian Trailblazer Francis Bebey,” The Vinyl, October 9, 2018.

<12> All released on Born Bad Records: African Electronic Music 1975-1982, 2011; Francis Bebey- Remixed, 2013; Psychedelic Sanza 1982-1984, 2014

<13> Novak, David. “The Sublime Frequencies of New Old Media,” 2011: 630.

<14> The Bebey remixes and rereleases are part of a broader theme: another recent compilation, Alternate African Reality – Electronic and Experimental Music from Africa and the Diaspora [hyperlink:] released on the Syrphe platform in January 2020, includes 32 artists and groups from 24 African countries, and a recent listicle published by Redbull music promises “A history of African electronic music in 10 essential tracks.” [hyperlink:]

Bibliography and Discography

Bebey, Francis. La Condition Masculine. Paris, France: Ozileka – OZIL 763302, 1976.

Bebey, Francis. Akwaaba: Music for Sanza. New York: Original Music Company—OMCD 105, 1985.

Bebey, Kidi. My Kingdom for a Guitar. Trans. Karen Lindo. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2021.

Cagnolari, Vladimir. “Farewell Bebey, your children salute you #1: Kidi Bebey,”, May 26, 2021:

Levitz, Tamara, and Benjamin Piekut. “The Vernacular Avant-garde: A Speculation,” in ASAP, September 3, 2020:

May, Chris. “The Electric Futurism of Cameroonian Trailblazer Francis Bebey,” The Vinyl, October 9, 2018:

Novak, David. “The Sublime Frequencies of New Old Media,” in Public Culture 23, no. 3 (Fall 2011): 603-634.

Piekut, Benjamin. “The Vernacular Avant-Garde,” in Henry Cow: The World is a Problem. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2019: 387-407.

Sophie A. Brady is a PhD candidate in musicology at Princeton University. Her dissertation considers the contributions of musicians of African descent to the musical avant-garde, focusing on cross-continental exchange and experimentation at Francophone radio stations in Europe and West Africa from the 1950s to the 1970s. Her scholarly interests include music and decolonization, twentieth-century experimental composition, global popular music, and the history of sound reproduction technologies. Her writing has appeared in the Journal of the American Musicological Society and the Journal of Popular Music Studies.

Interview with Trans Indigenous Composer Mari Esabel Valverde

Mari Esabel Valverde is one of 13 transgender composers—and to my knowledge, the only trans BIPOC composer—in the US who are listed in the Institute for Composer Diversity database. You can find more information about Valverde’s music through the links below, including contact information, how to purchase her music, and how to donate to her surgery fund. Do consider including her fabulous music in your courses. I urge everyone to do something to help QTBIPOC music-makers.

Composer profile for Valverde

Video recording of Our Phoenix (2016)

Donation to Valverde’s surgery fund

History and Bibliography of the Global Musical Modernisms website

By Gavin Lee

“Global musical modernisms” is a term I proposed to the US Society for Music Theory’s Global Interculturalism and Musical Peripheries interest group (formerly the Global New Music group), co-founded by Tomoko Deguchi and myself, who served as co-chairs from 2017-2020 (Deguchi remains a co-chair of the group). We are, of course, not the only people to have discussed modernisms in a global framework. For example, across the Atlantic Ocean, Björn Heile independently published his seminal 2019 article, “Musical Modernism, Global: Comparative Observations.” 

Because the discourse from the study group has mostly been published online as introductory essays, readers may not be as familiar with them, but as is often the case, new inclusive concepts have been discussed by BIPOC people who you may wish to cite. This bibliography includes writings by BIPOC and other authors on conventionally modernist as well as popular music, from which you can glean that BIPOCs and our allies have been pushing against the boundaries of Western musical modernism. There are two main sources: Musicology Now’s 2018 “Global Perspectives” series (reprinted on this website in 2020), and Gavin Lee ed., Global Musical Modernisms website (2020 ff.). In 2019, the Global Interculturalism and Musical Peripheries interest group convened a seminar on global musical modernisms, which led to articles by Ya Hui Cheng (2021) and Tomoko Deguchi (2021) (see also, Jungmin Mina Lee 2018). Writings on underrepresented composers have been contributed by Amy Bauer, Frederico Barros, Anton Vishio, Ron Squibbs, Jay Arms, Paul David Flood, and Megan Lyons.

As defined in G. Lee ed., Global Musical Modernisms, the term refers to “all forms of music received and appropriated as ‘modern’ in any location around the globe, crossing the boundaries of post/tonality and musical genres. The focus is on art, avant-garde, experimental, modernist, and popular music, by global (African, Middle Eastern, Central/ South/ Southeast/ East Asian, Latin American, Australasian etc.) music-makers, minority music-makers from the West, and music-makers from the peripheries of Europe and North America.” Rather than attempting a “theory” of global musical modernisms, this definition serves to correct asymmetries in music studies (that fall under a broad definition) of “modernism,” which has tended to focus on a narrow concert repertoire from Western Europe and North America. With this decentering approach in mind (in contrast with an effort in theorizing global musical modernisms—not that the two are necessarily incompatible), it is important to remember that this is a descriptive rather than prescriptive definition based on submissions received, which have thus far included modernist and popular music and not other genres. In its earlier incarnation, the expansion of genres from modernism to popular music was articulated under the term “global new music” (G. Lee, 2018), before the Global Musical Modernisms website was launched. The website includes contributions on composers from the “peripheries of Europe and North America,” such as Helena Tulve and Per Nørgård (though the vast majority of submissions have been on BIPOC composers); this should give pause to dichotomous conceptions of “Western” and “global.” Forthcoming research on the website includes articles by Sophie Brady, Bjorn Heile, Lena Heng, Ralph Locke, and Eshantha Peiris. Other on-going related research include a book by Heile and a special journal issue co-edited by G. Lee and Chris Miller, in which I embark on a belated theorization of global musical modernisms, beyond the descriptive, decentering definition given above. Readers are of course free to produce publications examining the epistemic affordances of the specific formulation of “global musical modernisms”–what can this term offer to us that was not already found in pre-existing research? 

More research on music that could fall under “global musical modernisms” (but mostly pre-date the term) can be found in the bibliography of the SMT Global Interculturalism and Musical Peripheries group.

Bibliography (writings from the study group and this website)

A) Lee, Gavin, ed. 2020-. Global Musical Modernisms.

Arms, Jay M. 2021. “Rahayu Supanggah’s “Paragraph” and the Problems of Intercultural Collaborations”

Barros, Frederico. 2021. “Guerra-Peixe’s Academic Trio.”

Cheng,Ya-Hui. 2021. “Whose Authorship? Authenticity in Chinese Popular Music under Global Modernism”

Deguchi, Tomoko. 2021. “The Appeal of the Foreign in Toshio Hosokawa’s Opera Matsukaze.”

Flood, Paul David. 2021. “Per Nørgård’s Two-Tone Infinity Series in “Wie Ein Kind” (1979-80).”

Lyons, Megan. 2021. “Hale to the King: “Three Brevities for Solo Flute” by Hale Smith.”

Squibbs, Ron. 2021. “Jōji Yuasa – Cosmos Haptic for piano (1957)”

B) Musicology Now’s “Global Perspectives” series. 2018.

Bauer, Amy. 2018. “Global Perspectives—The Music of Helena Tulve.”

Cheng,Ya-Hui. 2018. “Global Perspectives—Rock under the Red Flag: ‘A Piece of Red Cloth’ by Cui Jian”

Deguchi, Tomoko. 2018. “Global Perspectives—Significance of the Parts in Music of Tōru Takemitsu.”

Lee, Gavin. 2018. “Global Perspectives—Global New Music: From Avant-Garde to Rock, Korea to Estonia.”

Jung-Min Mina Lee. 2018. “Global Perspectives—The Story of Unsuk Chin’s Cello Concerto.”

Vishio, Anton. 2018. “Global Perspectives—The Art of Derivation: Jo Kondo’s Paregmenon.”

Akin Euba: African Art Music, Intercultural Composition and Creative Ethnomusicology

Björn Heile

The Nigerian composer Akin Euba (28 April 1935 – 14 April 2020) described his mission as the creation of an ‘African Art Music’. This, he explained, would be ‘a form of music [that is] universal to all Africa [… and that]  in order to be truly African must use the stylistic and instrumental materials of African music or, at least, a preponderance of them’. <1> As this suggests, his life and work exemplify the tensions of postcolonial Africa: between tradition and modernity, African heritage and European training, and a colonial past and an independent but uncertain future. While it is a matter of debate whether he ever fully managed to reconcile these conflicts and contradictions, his proposed solutions proved influential among a younger generation of composers.

Born in Lagos, he studied Composition at Trinity College London with Arnold Cooke and Eric Taylor (1952–7) before embarking on a Master’s in Ethnomusicology at UCLA in the 1960s. Although, Euba was surrounded by traditional music in his youth, it is one of the ironies of the postcolonial situation that he had to travel to California to formally study the music of his own country. His education and training up to that point were entirely in European classical music, and it was only during his studies in London that his consciousness of himself as an African composer began to emerge. He concluded his education with a PhD on Dundun Music of the Yoruba, under the supervision of Kwabena Nketia, the leading authority on African music and a fellow composer (PhD 1974).

            Euba had a varied career, teaching at the Universities of Lagos and Ife and working for the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation, before moving to Bayreuth (Germany) to work at the Institute of African Studies (1985-91). He eventually succeeded his teacher Nketia as Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Music at the University of Pittsburgh (1993-2011). In addition, he set up the Centre for Intercultural Music Arts, London and the Centre for Intercultural Musicology at Churchill College, Cambridge.

            As a composer, he pursued the idea of ‘intercultural music’, by fusing Western modernist techniques, including serialism, with African (especially Yoruba) music, that reflected his own ethnic background. One may see a contradiction between his earlier African nationalism and his later interculturalism. However, there is a connection to the model of cosmopolitanism as a series of concentric circles originally proposed by the Stoics.<2> In a similar way, Euba’s Yoruba heritage formed the innermost circle, Pan-Africanism (which he regarded as separate) the next, and so forth, up to the outermost, intercultural or ‘global’ circle. His model for combining African traditions with European techniques lay in the work of Béla Bartók, who also inspired his notion of ‘creative ethnomusicology’,the employment of ethnomusicological research for composition. This is also something he shared with his teacher Nketia.

            Unfortunately, little of Euba’s oeuvre is available as a score or in recording, never mind both. The culmination of Euba’s oeuvre is arguably his opera Chaka (1970, rev. 1995-98), a setting of the play by the great writer and first President of Senegal, Léopold Sédar Senghor (1906-2001), on the eponymous King of the Zulus. However, I want to focus instead on his contemporaneous piano cycle Scenes from Traditional Life (1970) (Verlag Neue Musik, Berlin, NM 689; recording from African Music Publishers).<3> Although he later learned the dundun drum, the piano was Euba’s first instrument; he is perhaps best known as the ‘father of African pianism’, a concept that encapsulates his approach to both African art music and intercultural composition. He explained the principles himself:

The piano, being partially a percussive instrument, possesses latent African characteristics. Techniques in the performance of xylophones, thumb pianos, plucked lutes, drum chimes, for which Africans are noted, and the polyrhythmic methods of African instrumental music in general would form a good basis for an African pianistic style.

As characteristic elements of African pianism, he lists:

Thematic repetition, direct borrowings of thematic material (rhythmic and/or tonal) from African traditional sources, the use of rhythmic and/or tonal motifs which, although not borrowed from specific traditional sources, are based on traditional idioms and percussive treatment of the piano.<4>

            Scenes from Traditional Life exemplifies these ideas. As the preface to the score indicates, the title refers to Schumann’s Scenes from Childhood. This does not fully explain ‘traditional life’, and the composer has suggested that ‘the connection between title and work is nebulous’.<5> What is striking at first glance is the predominance of two-part writing: both hands are used melodically, typically independently of one another; chords are relatively rare and appear as percussive effects more than harmonic events. Indeed, along the lines of Euba’s own comments, many of the textures are more reminiscent of an ensemble of two xylophones or two mbiras (played by one or two players) than Western classical piano music. That said, if there is a precedent for the pianistic textures and playing techniques employed in Scenes in the repertoire, it is in the work of Bartók, such as the cycle Out of Doors.

There are three pieces in this cycle, all in a kind of ternary form. The most notable common structural feature is cell construction. These cells consist of short, rhythmic-melodic phrases in one hand, which are repeated and varied like ostinatos, and combined with other cells in the other hand. The pieces differ in character, particularly in terms of rhythmic-metric construction. Uzoigwe has identified the rhythmic pattern underpinning the first piece (ex. 1) as a variant of the Yoruba version of the West-African timeline pattern (a rhythmic organisation in which seven impulses, normally quavers or crotchets, are distributed over a 12/8 cycle).<6> The second is a study in shifting additive metres: it starts in 17/8 (sub-divided into 4+6+4+3) with an irresistibly dancing lilt, and takes on 13/8, 14/8 and 10/8, all in changing sub-divisions (except the 17/8 which remains largely invariant); and on some occasions, different polyrhythmic sub-divisions occur simultaneously in the two hands (ex. 2). The third and final piece features syncopation on various metric levels (ex.3). According to Uzoigwe, it is based on a further syncopated version of a rhythmic pattern characteristic of Highlife—a form of popular music common in West Africa (and at the root of more recent developments such as Afrobeat)—which is itself derived from the Timeline mentioned earlier.<7> In a sense, then,  the work is about ‘African rhythm’, but whereas, as Kofi Agawu has pointed out, this term is often used generically and vaguely,<8> Euba explores three distinct rhythmic-metric techniques that all have very specific origins.

Ex. 1: Akin Euba, Scenes from Traditional Life, No. 1, bars 1-9.

Ex. 2: Akin Euba, Scenes from Traditional Life, No. 2, bars 1-6.

Ex. 3: Akin Euba, Scenes from Traditional Life, No. 3, bars 1-12.

Omojola and Uzoigwe briefly point out Euba’s use of twelve-tone technique in the work, both claiming that the series rarely appears ‘intact’.<9> In fact, Euba’s use of the technique is not as free as they make it seem. The key is that he freely repeats all pitch classes from the series that have already been sounded, which is not uncommon among serial composers. Another specific technique is that he splits the series into tetrachords, and that within each tetrachord, the order of pitch classes may vary. Once one is aware of these peculiarities, it becomes easier to identify the serial structures underpinning the work, although it is fair to say that dodecaphony is used primarily for melodic invention; not for overall structural coherence. The music examples show a complete unfolding of each piece’s basic series – given the free repetition of already sounded notes, this can take a little while!

It might be tempting to sum up Euba’s work in the formula ‘African rhythm with European pitch structure’, but it is more subtle than that. For instance, by composing for piano and employing staff notation, Euba already departs from traditional practice, and his rhythmic-metric manipulations go well beyond the original material, even if that remains recognisable. Conversely, Uzoigwe has argued that Euba’s twelve-note rows show a preponderance of the intervals used in the dundun drum music of the Yoruba, namely minor and major thirds and perfect fourths and fifths, whereas minor seconds and tritones, which are rare in dundun music, are generally avoided.<10> In this way, the dodecaphonic structure is suffused with a West-African sensitivity.

In works like Scenes from Traditional Life, we can see Euba’s vision of African art music taking shape. Euba goes beyond the notion of a ‘fusion’ between African and European elements, since both intersect in complex ways that can no longer be disentangled. The result is music that is as distinctively African as it is modernist.

<1> Quoted from Joshua Uzoigwe, Akin Euba: An Introduction to the Life and Music of a Nigerian Composer, Bayreuth African Studies Series 25 (Bayreuth, Germany: E. Breitinger, Bayreuth University, 1992), 71.

<2> For the Stoic notion of concentric circles, see Martha C. Nussbaum, Cultivating Humanity: A Classical Defense of Reform in Liberal Education (Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 1997); cf. also Marilyn Fischer, ‘A Pragmatist Cosmopolitan Moment: Reconfiguring Nussbaum’s Cosmopolitan Concentric Circles’, The Journal of Speculative Philosophy 21, no. 3 (2007): 151–65.

<3> I would like to thank Jennifer Lynne LaRue for the information about the recording. There is also an excellent lecture recital on the work of Nketia and Euba by Eric Moe, on YouTube.

<4> Quoted from Bode Omojola, ‘African Pianism as an Intercultural Compositional Framework: A Study of the Piano Works of Akin Euba’, Research in African Literatures 32, no. 2 (2001): 157.

<5> Uzoigwe, Akin Euba, 64.

<6> Uzoigwe, Akin Euba, 68–69.

<7> Uzoigwe, 69.

<8> Kofi Agawu, ‘The Invention of “African Rhythm”’, Journal of the American Musicological Society 48, no. 3 (1995): 380–95,

<9> Uzoigwe, Akin Euba, 65; Omojola, ‘4. African Pianism’, para. 5.

<10> Uzoigwe, Akin Euba, 65.

Björn Heile is Professor of Music (post-1900) at the University of Glasgow. He is the author of The Music of Mauricio Kagel (2006), the editor of The Modernist Legacy: Essays on New Music (2009), (2009), co-editor (with Peter Elsdon and Jenny Doctor) of Watching Jazz: Encountering Jazz Performance on Screen (2016), co-editor (with Eva Moreda Rodríguez and Jane Stanley) of Higher Education in Music in the Twenty-first Century and co-editor (with Charles Wilson) of The Routledge Research Companion to Modernism in Music. He specializes in new music, experimental music theatre and jazz, with particular interests in embodied cognition, global modernism and cosmopolitanism.

He is Principle Investigator of the research network ‘Towards a Somatic Music: Experimental Music Theatre and Theories of Embodied Cognition’ and is currently writing a book with the working title A Global History of Musical Modernism for Cambridge University Press. This blog originates from research carried out for that book.