Professor Timothy Jones is a musician, educator, writer and broadcaster
At the Royal Academy of Music, where he is the Deputy Principal and University of London Professor, Tim is responsible for all aspects of educational and artistic delivery, research and international relations.
Tim was born in Cardiff and he went to his local comprehensive school before studying Music at Christ Church, Oxford. He has worked in higher education for the last 30 years, holding academic posts at St Peter’s College and St Edmund Hall Oxford, the University of Exeter, the Royal Northern College of Music and, since 2008, at the Academy. He has given many lectures and research seminars at universities and conservatoires throughout the world. In 2015 he was Distinguished Visiting Professor of Music at Tokyo University of the Arts and Music.
His Oxford DPhil thesis was an analytical study of some structural characteristics in Mozart’s piano concertos, and his research has continued to focus on analytical studies of Viennese classical music. As part of his project on Mozart’s late style Tim has made over 70 completions of Mozart’s late fragments, including the Requiem, concertos, string quintets, quartets and trios, clarinet quintets, piano trios, violin sonatas and keyboard music. Tim is the author of Beethoven: The ‘Moonlight’ and Other Sonatas Op 27 and Op 31 in the Cambridge Handbook Series. He is currently writing a book on expressive density in Mozart’s instrumental music.
Tim is committed to public engagement and has been a speaker at many events at leading London venues including the Royal Festival Hall, Wigmore Hall, the Royal Albert Hall, Kings Place, and the Barbican Centre. He is a frequent contributor to the Proms Plus talks and Opera on Three on BBC Radio 3. In 2016 he made five programmes for the NHK television series First Class which broadcasts lectures from the world’s leading universities.
At the Academy Tim’s teaching includes undergraduate lectures, postgraduate seminars in the conducting, composition and piano departments, and the supervision of doctoral research.
‘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.’