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Professor Leech-Wilkinson studied composition, harpsichord and organ at the Royal College of Music, did an MMus at King's specialising in 15th-century music, and then a PhD at Cambridge working on 14th-century techniques of composition. He was a Research Fellow at Churchill College, Cambridge, and Queen’s University, Belfast. He taught at Nottingham and Southampton universities before rejoining the Music Department at King's College London in September 1997. He led a five-year project on "Expressivity in Schubert Song Performance" within the Centre for the History and Analysis of Recorded Music (CHARM), also directing a large-scale discographical and digitisation project making available 78rpm recordings from the King's Sound Archive. Later he led "Performers' Perceptions of Music as Shape" within the Centre for Musical Performance as Creative Practice. He is currently investigating, in a project called Challenging Performance, the constraints imposed on performer creativity in classical music. 

Research Interests 

  • The politics of musical performance norms
  • Alternative approaches to performing western classical music
  • Recordings as documents of performance practice
  • Music cognition

Daniel Leech-Wilkinson is currently investigating the ways in which beliefs about correct classical music performance constrain performer creativity. His work uses early recordings and experimental performance to test beliefs about how scores should and could be performed. With a focus on performer wellbeing he examines the ways in which norms are enforced and challenges the ideology that justifies that enforcement. In parallel he works with performers to develop new approaches to performing canonical scores. Previously he has worked on the changing performance of Schubert song, on portamento, and on the pianism of Alfred Cortot. From 2009-14 he led an AHRC-funded team that investigated the concept of shape in performance, with research fellows and students deploying a variety of techniques from psychology, sociology and computer science to focus on a commonly-used metaphor in teaching, preparing and criticising performances.

For more details, please see his full research profile.


As an emeritus (retired) professor Daniel is no longer able to supervise PhD students at King’s, but he advises students working in related fields for other institutions.