Skip to main content
KBS_Icon_questionmark link-ico


Esther Cavett was closely involved with the development of music theory and analysis as a distinct discipline in the UK during the 1980s. She published regularly on various analytical topics and as a pianist she specialised in contemporary repertoire. Her doctorate (1985), on organicism in Mozart’s Variations, was supervised by Arnold Whittall at King’s and (during a fellowship year at Yale) Allen Forte. She was a Faculty Lecturer in music at Oxford University Music from 1986 to1988.

She then had a 20-year career in the City as a banking lawyer during which time she continued performing the piano, developed an interest in widening access to music education and performance in community contexts, and trained in coaching and mentoring.  She returned to King’s as Senior Research Fellow in the Music Department in 2017.

Research Interests

  • Music theory and analysis
  • History of music education in England
  • Autoethnography in music
  • Mentoring in music education

Esther Cavett works at the intersection between academic music, performance and music education, drawing upon her background and training in academic music, law and psychological coaching.


Music theory and analysis applicable to repertoire from the classical period to mid 20th Century. Music and law. 

Expertise and public engagement

Esther is a trustee of The Society of Music Theory (SMA), trustee ‘sponsor’ for the SMA Music Literacy research programme, and co-ordinator of the King’s/St George’s Academy, which runs small group, after school music teaching for children living in Southwark, involving King’s students as teaching assistants. For eight years she served as governor on the Board of Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, latterly as deputy chair, and was a member of the Board of the City of London Festival. She has been special adviser on music education to the Incorporated Society of Musicians. She set up and now assists in the running of Water City Music, a charity providing access to performance opportunities for musicians of all skills levels, working collaboratively. She coaches Teach First music specialist teachers and teaches music theory and analysis for various Oxford colleges.

Selected Publications

  • Cavett, E. & Head, M. W. (Eds.). (2019). Howard Skempton: Conversations and reflections on music. Woodbridge: Boydell & Brewer.
  • Cavett, E. & Head, M. (2017). Review of Edward Klorman, Mozart’s music of friends: Social interplay in the chamber works. Eighteenth Century Music, 14(2), 285-290. doi:10.1017/S1478570617000082
  • Cavett, E. Dudney, S., & Watts, M. (2016). Supervision for Learning. In C. van Nieuwerburgh,
  • (Ed.), Coaching in Professional Contexts (pp. 213 – 226). London: Sage.
  • Cavett, E. (1990). A Conspectus of Mozart's Music [on Mozart's stylistic development]. In H. C. Robbins Landon, (Ed.), The Mozart Compendium (pp. 206-236). London: Thames and Hudson.
  • Cavett, E. (1988). Mozart's 'Haydn' Quartets: Composing up and down without rules. Journal of the Royal Musical Association, 113(1), 59-80.
  • Cavett, E. (1988). Mozart's Codas. Music Analysis, 7(1), 31-53.