Graduate Research Colloquium: Dr James Donaldson

Kaleidoscopes and Isotopes: A Dynamic Model of Musical Topics

Dr James Donaldson (University of Oxford) is a music theorist whose interests centre on the theory and analysis of twentieth-century music. His primary research adapts the principles of topic theory to music of the later twentieth century, focusing on the music of Thomas Adès and György Ligeti. He has further research interests in early Parisian surrealism and spectralism. In addition to presenting at conferences across Europe and North America, he has published or forthcoming articles in Twentieth-Century Music, Music Theory Online, Tempo, and Music Theory Spectrum. He previously studied at Christ Church, Oxford and King’s College, London before receiving his PhD in Music Theory from McGill University in 2021. At McGill he taught courses in undergraduate music theory core, a music theory elective, musicianship, and graduate research methods.

About the series:
The Colloquia feature leading figures, as well as younger scholars, from across the world. They present their research in papers on all kinds of music-related topics. Graduate students Marinu Leccia and Judith Valerie Engel organise the series. Presentations are followed by a discussion and virtual drinks reception. Free and open to all Music Faculty students and members. If you would like more information, please email or