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Research Students

Sonia Allori webSonia Allori is an electro-acoustic composer, multi-instrumentalist, writer and music therapist. She completed a PhD in composition in 2011 and her work involves text and mixed-media collaboration. Sonia is currently researching aspects of specialised training for Deaf performers at RCS and performs with The British Paraorchestra.






Andrew Bova webAndrew Bova’s research concerns competitive Scottish bagpiping since 1947. He is particularly interested with the ideas of convention, change, and innovation within this genre of music and his research relies heavily on interviews with key members of the piping community.

Andrew is a participant in the community he researches, being both a solo competitor and member of the world champion Shotts and Dykehead Caledonia Pipe Band.




Hanna ChoiwebHanna Choi is a Ph.D. candidate with particular interests in a performer’s different knowledge-perspective on interpreting music. Her research attempts to re-appreciate Nicolas Medtner’s piano sonatas on the basis of a performer’s experimental approaches to music. She seeks to uncover her artistic process from learning to executing music, and to describe what she actually spotlights when it comes to interpreting music by highlighting two main aspects: documentation of learning stages and self-critical reflection. Through this research, she is eager to capture a changed focus of music research from the traditional studies, which tend to understand music as writing, to this practice-based study that appreciates music as the music per se; and to provide a different judgement on Medtner’s music in the context of piano-performance history. She is currently pursuing a doctorate with Dr. Stephen Broad. Seoul National University, 2010; Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, 2012 ,Piano Performance, BA; Piano Performance, MMUS


tim cooper web

Timothy Cooper is a composer and performer of electroacoustic music. He currently lectures in music technology and sound recording at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and creative music technology at Edinburgh College. He also works with Edit-Point, Scotland’s only regularly performing group dedicated to electroacoustic music. Tim has recently started a practice-based PhD exploring composing and recording mixed-media music. Recent projects include composing works with poet Samuel Tongue, composing a new tuba and electronics work with Danielle Price and collaborating with writer Laura Bissell.




Flavia davilaFlavia Domingues D Avila was born on the border between Brazil and Uruguay and moved to Edinburgh in 2006 to pursue a BA Hons in Drama and Theatre Arts, specialising in Directing, at Queen Margaret University. Flavia has collaborated with various theatre companies across the UK, and founded her own company, Fronteiras Theatre Lab, focusing on transcultural theatre and international partnerships. Flavia has also trained with the Odin Teatret in Denmark, was a guest member of the Binational Culture Committee in Santana do Livramento-Rivera (BR-UY), and of the Public Cultural Policies Committee in Santana do Livramento 2013-14 (Brazil). She regularly collaborates with Discover21 and is a member of the Traverse Theatre Directors’ Programme. Now a first year research student at the RCS, Flavia is investigating syncretic theatre and its use in devising.


Katya ErmolaevwebKatya Ermolaev’s research project at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (University of St. Andrews) is to prepare a critical edition of the original version of Sergei Prokofiev’s opera War and Peace, Op. 91 (1941-42). Fully supported by a three-year studentship from the Serge Prokofiev Foundation, Katya is reconstructing the orchestral score from autograph manuscripts housed in Moscow archives. Katya’s critical edition, co-edited with her supervisor Dr. Rita McAllister, represents Prokofiev’s original vision of the opera and an alternate to the version performed to date, which contains extensive revisions made under Soviet ideological pressure and censorship.


Lucy_HollingworthwebAfter graduating from Manchester University in 1982, Lucy Hollingworth worked freelance as a composer/performer until the early 90s when she left music altogether. She returned to music in 2009 and obtained an MMus from Edinburgh University and is now undertaking a PhD at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland with Gordon McPherson. Her PhD will comprise a portfolio of compositions and a dissertation. Through her music and writing she will bring together autobiographical elements with an examination of the experiences of other women composers in the twentieth century to understand how life and creative work reflect one another.



Steve Hollingsworth webSteve Hollingsworth is an artist based in Glasgow. He graduated from the MFA course at Glasgow School of Art. Steve works with a range of media- neon, sound digital video and performance. He also works with Artlink and this work has influenced his PhD at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, working title Connecting Minds and Inhabiting Remote Spaces an Aesthetic of the inter-human. Recent exhibitions and performances include; Kling Klang, Queens Park Railway Club (2014) part of GI 2014, Ekko festival Bergen Norway 2014, Two Ruins, Queens Park Railway Club (2012), 2 Ruins (with Jim Colquhoun), RCS Glasgow (2011), Ruins (with Jim Colquhoun) CCA Glasgow (2011), Nuomena-Neomena-Several Pursuits, Berlin 2009 and Glasgow Radiance Festival 2007


Huan Li2 webHuan Li is a second year PhD candidate in composition at Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in Glasgow. Her research will reflect Sichuan culture by creating new music using ideas of transcribing and synthesising different musical elements between Sichuan and West. Huan has accomplished her master degree in Piano Accompaniment and Composition at Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in 2013. The works ‘Chen Fu’, ‘Nian Nu Jiao’ and ‘Toy Boy’ were premiered in Plug Festival, and ‘Qin’ also was performed by RedNote last year. Find out more about her, please click the link




Version 3 Shona Mackay is a Glasgow-based composer and mixed-media artist currently undertaking a part time PhD under the supervision of Dr Gordon McPherson. Her practice-based research involves the use of autobiographical processes and approaches in her own creative output, exploring themes of identity, “self”, relationships and communication.






Sofia PyrounakiwebSofia Pyrounaki’s research studies the traditionally called ‘Lute Works of Johann Sebastian Bach’, in view of producing an edition for ten-string guitar, aiming to provide answers to the questions that arose from the inevitable limitations postulated by opting for the six-string guitar as a means of performance for these works. The submission will include a Critical Commentary upon the examination of the Manuscript Sources, a Performance Edition, a Written Commentary and a Recording of the Works.




Ben Redmanweb1Ben Redman is researching how instrumental music teachers working in schools can embrace new technologies and teaching methods, and deliver high quality instrumental music lessons to meet the needs of all pupils.

As a professional percussionist, he has performed around the world in a wide variety of styles and genres, from orchestral work through to jazz, pop, folk and traditional music. Ben has taught in primary and secondary schools across Scotland and is currently based in the Scottish Borders.



James Slimmings webJames Slimings is a first year full time research student at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. His research focus is on the use of technology, specifically real time spectrograph data in choral rehearsals. James is also dealing with issues of ‘choral blend’ and vocal technique and pedagogy.

As a graduate of the MMus Vocal Performance degree at the Conservatoire, James works as a professional tenor and choral conductor throughout the UK. He is currently musical director of Glasgow Cathedral Choral Society, Glasgow Caledonian University Chorus, and The Hadley Court Singers. He was also the Alexander Gibson Fellow with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, assisting in chorus preparation, giving pre-concert talks and workshops.


Graeme SmilliewebGraeme Smillie’s PhD research investigates an identifiable means gap for people of talent from deprived areas in accessing pre-tertiary performing arts training. He is using social theory and qualitative research methods to investigate Transitions 20/40, a widening access initiative at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

Graeme is a musician and teacher, and a graduate of the BA Applied Music (University of Strathclyde) and MLitt Popular Music Studies (University of Glasgow).




Ralph StrehlewebRalph Strehle holds a PhD in English from Royal Holloway, University of London (RHUL) and also an MA in Postmodernism, Literature and Contemporary Cultures. He holds a joint honours degree (English /German) from Konstanz University, Germany. His main focus of research at Konstanz University was on linguistics. In his PhD and subsequent publications he tried to establish a post-structuralist phenomenological ethics. As a visiting lecturer he taught and designed courses in Modern Theory, Literature and Philosophy, and Postmodern Critical Theory at RHUL. In recent years, Ralph has become interested in pedagogy in Higher Education, particularly in a music Conservatoire environment. Using Personal Construct Theory and Self-determination Theory, he is currently examining how different teaching and performing contexts impact on student motivation at the RCS. Ralph is also a lecturer in the Vocal Studies department.


CW head shot (002)Christoph Wagner
Christoph is Lecturer in Lighting at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, undertaking a part-time PhD in scenography. His particular interest lies in how advances in technology have impacted on the art of Lighting Design since 1960. The research will focus in particular on developments at Glyndebourne Opera, starting with Francis Reid’s time there as Lighting Manager and involving work in the Francis Reid Archive (held at the Royal Conservatoire), the Glyndebourne Archive and interviews with lighting practitioners. For more information on Christoph’s work as a Lighting Designer, please visit



aby watson webAby Watson is a performance maker and first year Ph.D. candidate based in Glasgow. Her practice-based research project, Choreographing Clumsy: Dyspraxia and Choreographic Practice, aims to investigate the specific learning difficulty that affects co-ordination and movement called dyspraxia and the impact on identity within choreographic dance practice.