Thomas Metcalf

Research Interests

Contemporary Music, Composition, Music and Science, Semiotics, Music Education

Area of proposed thesis

‘Graphical Ekphrasis in Contemporary Music’: Thomas’s thesis and accompanying composition portfolio proposes an extended ekphrastic framework of ‘graphical ekphrasis’, building and expanding on the work of Siglind Bruhn (2000). Graphical ekphrasis takes into account the spatial dimension of the input source, such that the ekphrastic ‘transmedialisation’ is strengthened through situation in recursive systems of composition that add further layers of representation. This work has focused on music by Dallapiccola, Stockhausen, Cage, Cardew, Martyn Harry, and Kenneth Hesketh.


Selected Works

Metcalf, T. ‘Graphical Ekphrasis: Translating Graphical Spaces into Music’, Question Journal 5, AHRC, September 2020, pp. 78-91.

Metcalf, T. ‘Labyrinths, Liminality and Ekphrasis: The Graphical Impetus in the music of Kenneth Hesketh’, Tempo 74(295), Cambridge University Press. Forthcoming, November 2020.

Metcalf, T. ‘Graphical Data Sets as Compositional Structure: Sonification of Colour Graphs in “RGB” for clarinet and piano’, Leonardo 54, MIT Press. Forthcoming, 2021. [available in an unedited form on Leonardo Just Accepted]

Metcalf, T. ‘“A Stone Soaked in Milk”: Cornelius Cardew’s Graphical Camouflage in “Bun No. 2”’, Perspectives of New Music. Under review.


Metcalf, T. ‘Worcester Service’, on Allery, T. (dir.), Qui Christi Vestigia Sunt Secuti. Worcester College Chapel Choir. Herald. 2019 (HAVPCD 408).

Selected Conference Papers:

Metcalf, T. Pixelation as a teleological strategy in music composition, 20th International Music Theory Conference, Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre & Lithuanian Composers’ Union, forthcoming, 18–20 November 2020.

Metcalf, T. Towards an Extended ‘Musical Ekphrasis’: Determinate Graphical Processes in Contemporary Music, SMI Plenary Conference, University College Dublin, forthcoming, 29–31 October 2020.

Metcalf, T. The (dis)solution of form: processes of pixelization in ‘Pixelation Variations’ (2020), 5th AHRC Interdisciplinary Conference “Form and Forgetting”, Cambridge University, September 21–23 2020.


Subjects Taught

Composition, History of Electronic Music, Global Hip Hop