Professor John Irving

Professor in Historical Performance, Professorial Staff - Fortepiano


Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance
Faculty of Music
King Charles Court
Old Royal Naval College
London SE10 9JF


Area of Work

Developing research projects; postgraduate teaching; research advocacy across the institution
John Irving


John Irving joined the staff of Trinity Laban in April 2013. Previously Professor of Music at the Universities of London and Bristol, he was Director of The Institute of Musical Research at the School of Advanced Study, University of London (2009-11). He is an Associate Fellow of the IMR, and has responsibility for its Performance Research strands, specifically through DeNOTE, a research centre that he founded at the IMR in 2009. An internationally recognized Mozart scholar, John has published five books on Mozart, including an international best-selling biography, The Treasures of Mozart and scholarly texts on Mozart’s Piano Sonatas and Concertos - most recently the widely acclaimed Understanding Mozart’s Piano Sonatas. He now pursues a dual career as an early keyboard performer and academic, researching on period performance practice. As a performer on fortepiano, clavichord and harpsichord, he specialises in 18th-century solo and chamber music repertoires. His latest solo CD recording, John Irving Plays Mozart on the Hass Clavichord (sfzmusic March 2013) features Sonatas, Fantasias and miscellaneous early works played on a historic clavichord dating from 1763. This CD and associated website were funded by a research grant from The British Academy, as was his previous CD, Sonatas from the Court of Salzburg – also on sfzmusic. Recent and forthcoming solo and chamber music appearances include the Brighton Early Music Festival; King’s Place; Greenwich International Early Music Festival; LSO St. Lukes; North York Moors Chamber Music Festival; Newcastle Early Music Festival, Canterbury Festival; Turner Sims Concert Hall, Southampton; Clothworkers' Centenary Hall, Leeds; the Cobbe Collection, Hatchlands; Finchcocks; and the ORPHEUS Instituut, Gent.

Professor John Irving

Mozart & the Piano

Qualifications and Educational Background

  • B.Mus (Hons.)
  • Ph.D 'The Instrumental Music of Thomas Tomkins (1572-1656)'
  • LRAM
  • ARCM (Hons.)

A Yorkshireman by birth, John's early musical education was on piano. An academic framework for music-making soon became deeply embedded, and he subsequently read Music at the University of Sheffield, where he won various prizes. He continued his studies for the PhD (with funding from the British Academy). He studied piano with Danielle Salamon and subsequently with Denis Matthews, who unlocked an already latent fascination with the music of Mozart. John's subsequent immersion in historical performance practice and early keyboard instruments was largely accidental and is now completely incurable.

Teaching Experience

John has taught at The Royal Northern College of Music, Birmingham University, New College, Oxford, and Bristol University, where he was Head of Department for six years, introducing a new undergraduate degree programme. He was appointed Director of The Institute of Musical Research at the School of Advanced Study, University of London, in 2009 where he led on a range of research projects at the UK's national music research institute, in particular developing performance-related work within the IMR's portfolio.

His career has also included many management positions in national music organizations, as well as consultancy (for instance, external examining, university departmental reviews and Chair appointments). He is Vice President of The Royal Musical Association and a Trustee of the Horniman Museum, as well as serving on various advisory boards in the UK and overseas.

Creative Outputs


  • The Instrumental Music of Thomas Tomkins, 1572-1656(Garland Press; New York & London, 1989), ISBN 0-8240-2011-1. 2 vols. in one ix + 235 pp; xi + 181 pp
  • Mozart's Piano Sonatas: Contexts, Sources, Style(Cambridge, 1997) xxii + 211pp. ISBN 0 521 49631 4
  • Mozart: the "Haydn" QuartetsCambridge Music Handbook (Cambridge, 1998) vii + 105 pp. ISBN 0 521 58475 2 (hbk); 0 521 58561 9 (pbk)
  • Mozart's Piano Concertos(Ashgate; Aldershot, 2003) xxiii + 274 pp. ISBN 0 7546 0707 0
  • The Treasures of Mozart(André Deutsch, London, 2009) 65pp; 150 colour illustrations; 20 reproduction memorabilia items; CD. ISBN 978 0 233 002722 0 [also in French Translation, ISBN 978 - 270 982 583, September 2009]; 2ndedition, André Deutsch, London, 2012
  • Understanding Mozart's Piano Sonatas(Ashgate, 2010) 170pp. ISBN 978-0-7546-6769-8         

CD/DVD Recordings

  • Clarinets by Arrangement- a CD of arrangements for clarinets and fortepiano c.1800 of chamber works by Mozart, Beethoven and Lefevre. Jane Booth (clarinets and basset horn) John Irving (fortepiano)sfzmusicSFZ MO310 (April 2011) 66.34
  • Sonatas from the Court of Salzburg: Leopold Mozart & his Contemporaries- a CD of solo keyboard sonatas, c.1760 by Leopold Mozart, Eberlin and Adlgasser. John Irving (Hass harpsichord, 1764)sfzmusicSFZ MO311 (December 2011) 70.53
  • John Irving plays Mozart on the Hass Clavichord- a CD of sonatas, fantasias and miscellaneous keyboard compositions by Mozart performed on a 1763 clavichord by John Irvingsfzmusic, SFZ MO612 (December 2012) 77.13
  • Mozart's "Kegelstatt" Trio, K.498: An Eighteenth-Century Conversation- a DVD documentary and performance of Mozart's Trio with Ensemble DeNOTE. John Irving (fortepiano; Exectuive Producer) Optic Nerve Productions, December 2012) 75'10
  • Johann Baptist Vanhal: Complete Works for Clarinet and PianoJane Booth (clarinets) John Irving (fortepiano)sfzmusic, SFZ MO413 (September 2013) 68.05

Distribution: Harmonia Mundi UK; also available on iTunes

Critical Editions

  • Thomas Tomkins: Consort Music Musica Britannica 59 (Stainer & Bell; London, 1991) ISBN 0-85249-798-9 xxviii + 110 pp. 
  • Claude Le Jeune, Benedicite Dominum, omnes angeli; Magnificat from Second livre des Meslanges...(Paris, 1612)RCM 22 (Antico Edition; 1996) iv + 26 pp. 
  • The Anders von Düben Tablature: Uppsala University Library, Instr.Mus.i hs 408  Corpus of Early Keyboard Music 28 (American Institute of Musicology: Hänssler Verlag, 2000) ISBN 3-7751-3615-0 xxvii + 86 pp.
  • Thomas Tomkins: Keyboard MusicMusica Britannica 5 Revised, 3rd ed. (Stainer & Bell; London, 2010) ISBN 0-85249-798-9 xxviii + 110 pp. 
  • Chopin: ImpromptusThe New Complete Chopin Edition (Peters, 2011); co-edited with Christophe Grabowski vii + 55pp

External Appointments

  • 2013 External Advisor, BA Programme Review, Liverpool Hope University
  • 2013 External Advisor, BA Programme Review, Brunel University
  • 2013 External Advisor, BA Programme Review, Hull University
  • 2013 External Advisor, Research Review, Newcastle University
  • 2013 External Advisor, Austrian Research Council (Wissenschaftsfonds)
  • 2013- External Examiner BMus RNCM
  • 2012- External Examiner MMus Cardiff University
  • 2012 Benjamin Meaker Visiting Professor, Institute of Advanced Studies, University of Bristol
  • 2011- Associate Fellow, IMR London
  • 2010- Vice-President, Royal Musical Association
  • 2010- Trustee, Horniman Museum, London
  • 2009-11 External Examiner BMus Royal Holloway
  • 2009- Member of AHRC Peer Review Council
  • 2008-12 External Examiner B.Mus University of Edinburgh
  • 2007-11 External Examiner B.Mus University of Hull
  • 2006 External Advisor, Chair appointment, Catholiek Universiteit, Leuven
  • 2006 External Advisor, BA Programme Review, Leeds College of Music
  • 2002-05 External Examiner BA University of Wolverhampton
  • 2000-02 Secretary and Treasurer of NAMHE
  • 1994- PhD External Examinerships University of Sheffield, City University, University of Surrey, University of Oxford, University of Southampton 


Invited Keynotes

  • 2012 'Going for Gold': Incorporated Society of Musicians National Congress, LSO St Lukes (Lecture-recital)
  • 2010 'Potentials and Pitfalls of Recording on a Historic Harpsichord' University of Bangor
  • 2010 'Musical Performance as Research' Canterbury Christ Church university
  • 2010 Society for Musicology in Ireland Annual Congress Dublin Institute of Technology (Lecture-recital)
  • 2006'Rethinking Mozart' (Dutch Society for Music Theory) Brussels Conservatoire
  • 2006 'Mozart e la filologia del testo' (Seminario di filologia musicale, Istituto nazionale di Studi verdiani) University of Cremona


University of Salzburg; University of Innsbruck; Bruckner Academy, Linz; Katholijke Universiteit, Leuven; University of Padua; University of Uppsala; Albert-Ludwigs Universität, Freiburg; University of Cork; University of Trondheim; University of  Tampere; University of Copenhagen; Danish Society for Musicology; University of Regensburg; Jagiellonian University of Kraków; King's College, London, Institute of Advanced Musical Studies; University of Sheffield; University of Birmingham; RNCM, Manchester; University of Huddersfield; Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Outreach Programme; Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama; Abbaye aux Dames, Saintes (France); Trinity College of Music, London; Guildhall School of Music & Drama, London, McGill University, Montreal, Canada, University of Hull, University of Liverpool, Queen's University, Belfast, Canterbury Christ Church University, Royal Irish Academy of Music, Dublin, University of Bangor, ORPHEUS Instituut, Gent, Belgium, Newcastle University.

Grant Awards

Recent Funded Research Projects

  • 2012 University of London, School of Advanced Study supporting CD/DVD projects in historical performance practice
  • 2010 Established DeNOTE:the IMR's Centre for Eighteenth-Century Performance Practice with start-up funding from University of London
  • 2010-12 British Academy funded Research Project (2010-12), Mozart and the Hass Clavichord, culminating in CD recording and website
  • 2010 British Academy funded conference:The Symphony Orchestra as Cultural Phenomenon
  • 2009-11 University of London, Vice-Chancellor's Development Fund (discretionary awardad hominemto support my performance practice research)
  • 2007-09 British Academy funded Research Project (2007-09), Johann Ulrich Haffner: Oeuvres Melées, culminating in CD recording