Professor Timothy Jones

MA, DPhil, Hon RAM

Academic Studies - Deputy Principal (Programmes and Research)
Research Programmes - Deputy Principal (Programmes and Research)

Deputy Principal (Programmes and Research)

Performer and musicologist

Researcher on music of Mozart, 18th-century music theory and Schenkerian analysis

Read Tim Jones’ blog

Timothy Jones is a performer and musicologist. His career encompasses a busy schedule as a musician. As a continuo player, he has performed a wide repertoire of 17th- and 18th-century music, while as a pianist he has mainly worked in the music of the classical period and of our own day (including many premieres). As a keyboard player, he is particularly interested in the role of improvisation within composed musical structures.

Timothy’s main scholarly interests lie in Viennese classical music and the relationships between analysis, interpretation and performance. He is the author of Beethoven: The ’Moonlight’ and Other Sonatas op.27 and op.31 (Cambridge 1999), a new edition and completion of Mozart’s Requiem fragment K. 626, and articles on technical issues in music by Mozart and Haydn. He is currently writing a book on expressive troping and reciprocity in Mozart’s instrumental music for Indiana University Press. In recent years he has also developed research interests in nineteenth-century French instrumental music. He contributed a chapter to French Music Since Berlioz (Ashgate 2006) and has written about the style and aesthetics of the French symphonic poem at the end of the nineteenth century.

After his early musical education in south Wales, Timothy studied as an undergraduate and postgraduate student at Christ Church Oxford. On completing doctoral work on Mozart in 1991, he became Lecturer in Music at St Peter’s College and St Edmund Hall Oxford, and taught music theory and analysis at Oxford University’s Faculty of Music. He subsequently held academic posts at the University of Exeter and the Royal Northern College of Music before joining the Academy in 2008.

He was appointed Professor of the University of London in February 2016.

‘My research interests are centred on the music of Mozart, 18th-century music theory, and Schenkerian analysis. Following a doctoral dissertation at the University of Oxford on recapitulatory strategies in the first movements of Mozart’s Viennese piano concertos (1991), I have become particularly interested in the ways that the theoretical stance and working methods of Mozart and his greatest contemporaries can shape analytical and interpretative strategies. This has led to various types of research project, ranging from the close critical reading of individual works, through new performing editions that complete some of Mozart’s more elaborate fragments (including the Requiem and the Concerto fragment K.315f), to studies of the implications for performance of unusual interactions between notation and ‘narrative’ patterns (for example, in elements of self-absorption in Mozart’s concertos, generic tensions between fantasy and sonata in some early Beethoven sonatas, and deconstructive tendencies in Haydn’s late instrumental music). Subsidiary interests include instrumental music in Paris during the early years of the Third Republic (which has led to publications on the French symphonic poem and on the construction of modernity in late-19th-century French chamber music).

‘My current project is a book on reciprocity in Mozart’s instrumental music. Why should matters like give-and-take, generosity and co-operation for the common good or towards some common goals be worth thinking about in sonatas, quartets, concertos and symphonies? It has been customary, for the last 60 years or so, to contemplate the play of ideas in Mozart’s music primarily in abstract terms; but the insights gained from this approach should perhaps be weighed against the insights lost by marginalising the performative aspect of the music. What is to be gained by analysing Mozart’s music in terms of dialogics instead of dialectics?  What demands does Mozart’s music make of performers’ musical awareness, tact, and sense of decorum? How do the fuzzy motivic logic, gestural flexibility and stylistic heterogeneity of his music potentially take on new meaning when taken out of the abstract and put back into the concrete situations of performance?

‘These are simple questions, but they are not simple to answer. I am trying to chip away at them from various angles: by considering – among other topics – the ’doubleness’ of Mozart’s accompanied sonatas; Mozart’s uses of silence in his instrumental music; how novel expressive meaning is generated through solo/orchestral interaction in concertos; how Mozart responds to the danger of cliché and expressive redundancy in his repeated use of common gestures (such as cadential trills); and how some commonly un-notated (that is, improvised) aspects of Mozart’s practice are exceptionally woven into the notation of some works. There won’t be any easy answers at the end, but I hope the ride will be fun.

‘I have supervised many doctoral and masters students over the last twenty years, in projects ranging from analytical and critical approaches to sources and style in Beethoven’s late Bagatelles, to the String Quartets of Hyacinthe Jadin, to a prima facie investigation of the musical style of Robert Parsons.’

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