Kelvin Lee holds a PhD from Durham University and is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Leuven. His research focuses on the analysis and history of nineteenth- and twentieth-century symphonic music, with special interests in the analysis of musical form, the theory of tonality, global musical modernism and the intersection between music theory, history and philosophy. Kelvin’s work has been published (or is forthcoming) in Music Analysis, Musurgia and Notes, and he is a contributor to Nikolai Medtner: Music, Aesthetics, and Contexts (Hildesheim: Georg Olms Verlag). His article ‘Rethinking the Symphonic Poem: Dialectical Form, Sequential Dissonances and the Chord of Fate in Schoenberg’s Pelleas und Melisande‘ won the Musurgia 25th Anniversary Prize from Société Française d’Analyse Musicale. He was also awarded the 2018 Theory and Analysis Graduate Student Prize from the Society for Music Analysis. Kelvin is currently writing a monograph, provisionally titled The Sonata Moment: Dialectical Form and Symphonic Modernism in Fin-de-Siècle Vienna, which examines the interrelationship between dialectical thought, chromatic tonality and sonata form.


PhD, Musicology, Durham University, 2020

MA, Conducting, Distinction, University of York, 2016

MPhil, Musicology, The University of Hong Kong, 2015

BA, Music, The University of Hong Kong, 2011


‘Formalising Star Clusters: Sonata Process and Breakthrough Function in the Adagio of Mahler’s Tenth Symphony’. Music Analysis (forthcoming).

‘Rethinking the Symphonic Poem: Dialectical Form, Sequential Dissonances and the Chord of Fate in Schoenberg’s Pelleas und Melisande‘. Musurgia 26, no. 3–4 (2019): 7–48.

‘Generic Plurality and Two-Dimensional Unity in Medtner’s Piano Concerto No. 1, Op. 33’. In Nikolai Medtner: Music, Aesthetics, and Contexts. Edited by Wendelin Bitzan and Christoph Flamm. Hildesheim: Georg Olms Verlag, forthcoming.

‘Beethoven’s Egmont and the Pre-History of Two-Dimensional Sonata Form’. In Beethoven-Perspektiven. Edited by Jüngen May. Bonn: Verlag Beethoven-Haus Bonn, forthcoming.

‘Review of Organized Time: Rhythm, Tonality, and Form (Oxford Studies in Music Theory) by Jason Yust’. Notes: Quarterly Journal of the Music Library Association 76, no. 3 (2020): 451–454.


Peripheral Symphonism: Transcultural Form and Glocal Modernism at the Fin de Siècle, funded by KU Leuven Special Research Fund, 2021–present

This project is the first large-scale study of early global musical modernism at the turn of the twentieth century. It focuses on the peripheral symphonies by travelling composers that fall outside of the Austro-German orientated European canon. This study suggests that such music displays a long neglected transcultural modernist style that integrates the prevailing cosmopolitan and nationalist idioms, a quality which reflects the symphony’s international migration at the time. Through interrogating the organisational patterns of musical materials in these works, I posit a novel music- analytical model to account for the interaction between cosmopolitan and nationalist tendencies in musical form. This transcultural phenomenon is then examined via the sociological notion of ‘glocalisation’, through which I theorise a new species of early musical modernism peculiar to global manifestations—namely ‘glocal musical modernism’. The outcomes are expected to make a crucial methodological breakthrough for the study of musical modernism in a global context, where transcultural hybridisation of musical idioms is immanent.


Society for Music Analysis

Society for Music Theory

Dutch-Flemish Society for Music Theory

Royal Musical Association

International Musicological Society

Kelvin Lee

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