Esther did an undergraduate degree and doctorate at King’s College London. 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 closely involved with the development of music theory and analysis as a distinct discipline during the 1980s, publishing regularly on various analytical topics, and as a pianist she specialised in contemporary repertoire. She was a Faculty Lecturer in music at Oxford University Music from 1986 to1988.
Esther then had a 20-year career in the City as a banking lawyer during which time she carried on performing the piano and developed an interest in widening access to music education and performance in community contexts. Esther is also trained in psychological coaching, has a private career coaching practice, and runs a large mentoring scheme for parents in the City (www.cityparents.co.uk).
Esther’s current principal research in music is on Howard Skempton as a creative artist. She is co-authoring a book on Skempton which consists of interviews with the composer and commentaries on those interviews by herself and other writers (largely connected with King’s Music Department).
She also has an interest in the intersection between academic music, performance and music education, including the ideology behind curriculum development in England.
As a related exercise to her Skempton research, she is co-authoring a book on reflective practice in coaching, for Routledge, and she publishes regularly on coaching and mentoring topics.
Esther is deputy chair of the Board of Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance and served on the Board of the City of London Festival. She is 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 supports Teach First music specialist teachers as a coach and gives occasional public talks and seminars on musical topics.
- ‘Mentoring in Music and in the City’. In D. A. Clutterbuck, F. K. Kochan, L. Lunsford, N. Dominguez & J. Haddock-Millar (Eds.), The SAGE Handbook of Mentoring, London: Sage [in press]
- ‘Supervision for Learning’, with Watts, M and Dudney, S. In C van Nieuwerburgh, ed, Coaching in Professional Contexts (London: Sage), 213 – 226.
- 'A Conspectus of Mozart's Music' [on Mozart's stylistic development]. In H. C. Robbins Landon, ed, The Mozart Compendium (London: Thames and Hudson, 1990), 206-236
- Mozart's Variations Reconsidered (New York: Garland Press, 1989)
- Review article on Ian Bent, Musical Analysis (Macmillan, 1987), Journal of the Royal Musical Association 115/1 (1988), 111-122
- 'Schenker's Analysis of the Eroica Finale', Theory and Practice 11 (1988), 43-52
- 'Mozart's 'Haydn' Quartets: Composing Up and Down Without Rules', Journal of the Royal Musical Association 113/1 (1988), 59-80
- 'Mozart's Codas', Music Analysis 7/1, (1988), 31-53
- 1987 Review of Heinrich Koch, Introductory Essay on Composition trans. Nancy Baker (Yale UP, 1983), Music Analysis, 6/1-2, 196-202