Professor of Music at the University of West London, Assistant Organist at Arundel Cathedral and Lecturer at the Royal Academy of Music

Researcher, writer and translator, performer and improviser (organ and piano) and Feldenkrais practitioner; Robert's research interests include twentieth and twenty-first century music, critical theory, musical analysis, performance, improvisation, artistic research, somatic techniques (especially the Feldenkrais Method), music and psychoanalysis, music and spirituality, listening, and film music.

Robert is the author of Olivier Messiaen: a Critical Biography (Reaktion, 2024) and editor of Olivier Messiaen in Context (Cambridge University Press, 2023). He completed a Knowledge Exchange project on silent film improvisation in schools and has recorded around two hours of improvisations (see Robert's channel on YouTube). He wrote and recorded three songs and an opera scene for Shattered (Le Fantôme de l’Opèra, on itunes) created a concept disc of improvisations/compositions Les ombres du Fantôme (Divine Art, 2024) with Justin Paterson that form a meta-narrative of Leroux’s novella – see

His other publications includeThe Feldenkrais Method: Dance, Music, and Theatre (Bloomsbury, 2021), James MacMillan Studies (Cambridge University Press, 2020) with George Parsons, Contemporary Music and Spirituality with Sander van Maas (Routledge, 2017) and Messiaen Studies (Cambridge University Press, 2007). He published on Artistic Research and Improvisation in Perspectives of New Music (2020), and the Feldenkrais Method in The Journal of the Royal Musical Association (2019). He has written two chapters on spectralism in The Oxford Handbook to Spectralism (2023), and on Charles Tournemire in Art, Music, and Mysticism in the Long Nineteenth Century, ed. Corrinne Chong and Michelle Foot (Routledge, 2024).

Robert organised four conferences at the Southbank centre. He was the artistic director for the RCO London Forum (2019) and is an examiner for the RCO. He has given papers at Harvard, Princeton, Brown, Cambridge, Oxford, London, Amsterdam, Boston, McGill, Fordham, Hong Kong, Melbourne, The Royal College of Music, at The Guildhall School of Music and Drama, the American Musicological Society Conferences (Washington, Milwaukee and Boston), EUROMAC (Leuven and Strasbourg), at IRCAM, and EPARM (2022). He is a council member of the Guild of Church Musicians and on the Academic Board of the RCO, for whom he is an examiner.

Robert studied organ in Melbourne with Lindsay O’Neill and in Paris with Olivier Latry (Notre-Dame de Paris) and Michel Fischer. In 2016-17 he performed all of the organ works of Messiaen at Arundel Cathedral. In 2021-23 he played all of the Vierne organ symphonies and works of Tournemire and Duruflé. Robert has played at St Paul’s Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, Southwark Cathedral, St John’s, Smith Square, and twice at the Madeleine and Notre-Dame de Paris. He is also part of the Global Hyperorgan project.

He also studied piano with Mack Jost and Michael Brimer in Melbourne, analysis with Jacques Castérède in Paris, and at King’s College London with Daniel K.L.Chua, John Deathridge, Jonathan Dunsby and Arnold Whittall.

Robert is an academic referee for major University Presses and was an invited jury member for the Fundación BBVA Frontiers of Knowledge Awards (2021).


Robert Sholl is primary supervisor for three PhD students: on composition and karnatic modes, the ’Unheimliche’ in film and artistic research and creativity and space in jazz improvisation. He is second supervisor for a PhD on spirituality in electronic music composition.

Selected Publications


Commissioned Monograph: Olivier Messiaen: A Critical Biography (Reaktion/Chicago UP)

Improvisations/Compositions: “Les Ombres du Fantôme”: fourteen improvisations on themes from Gaston Leroux’s Le Fantôme de l’Opéra with electroacoustic interventions and augmentations by Justin Paterson (recorded at Arundel and Coventry Cathedrals), in collaboration with saxophone/bass clarinet and soprano (Divine Art MEX 77105), see

Article: “Artistic practice as Embodied Learning: Reconnecting Pedagogy, Improvisation, and Composition,” Rethinking the Teaching of Music Performance in Higher Level Institutions, ed. Jorge Salgado Correia, Gilvano Dalagna, Helen Julia Minors, and Stefan Östersjö (ERASMUS funded project:

Article: “Josephin ‘Sâr’ Péladan, Charles Tournemire and apocalyptic mysticism,” Art, Music, and Mysticism in the Long Nineteenth Century, ed. Corrinne Chong and Michelle Foot (New York: Routledge, in press). Musical examples recorded at Arundel Cathedral


Edited book: Messiaen in Context, Cambridge University Press (34 chapters), Three articles: “The Image of Messiaen,“ pp. 3-9; “Olivier Messiaen and Surrealism,” pp. 257-66, and “Oliver Messiaen and Jacques Charpentier,” pp. 278-89. Three French-English translations: articles by Michel Bourcier, “Olivier Messiaen and Jean-Louis Florentz: A Filiation?”, pp. 306-13; Jacques Amblard, “The Simplicity of Messiaen,” pp. 233-39, and Amblard, “Messiaen in France Today,” pp. 314-21.

Two Chapters: “Jean-Louis Florentz and Spectralism,” and “Olivier Messiaen: SpectralistThe Oxford Handbook of Spectral Music, ed. Amy Bauer, Liam Cagney, and Will Mason.


Edited book: The Feldenkrais Method in Creative Practice: Dance, Music and Theatre, Introduction, “Towards an Ability Studies,” pp. 1-14; Article: “Feldenkrais, Freud, Lacan and Gould: How to Love thyself for thy Neighbour,” pp. 38-54 (London: Bloomsbury).


Article (Artistic Research): “James Sibley Watson’s The Fall of the House of Usher: Surrealism – improvisation – complementary serendipities,” Perspectives of New Music, Vol. 58, No. 1, pp. 23-69, and based on an Improvisation (recorded at Arundel Cathedral).

Edited Book: James MacMillan Studies, ed. with George Parsons Introduction (with George Parsons), pp. 1-9, and Article: “Exquisite Violence: Imagery, Embodiment and Transformation in MacMillan” (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press), pp. 87-110.


Article: “Feldenkrais’s Touch, Ephram’s Laughter, Gould’s Sensorium: Listening and Musical Practice between Thinking and Doing,” Journal of the Royal Musical Association, Vol. 144, No. 2, pp. 397-428.