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Durham University



Mr Kelvin Lee, BA MPhil (HK), MA (Ebor), AFHEA

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Member of the Department of Music

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Kelvin Lee is currently a PhD candidate in musicology at Durham University, where he works under the supervision of Professor Julian Horton. His research focuses on the analysis and history of symphonic music in the long nineteenth century, with special interests in the analysis of sonata form, theory of tonality, history of music theory and early modernism. Situating at the intersection between music theory and the history of ideas, Kelvin's doctoral project addresses the formal syntax in Austro-German symphonic music at the fin de siècle. He formulates a novel theoretical model for analysing post-Romantic form, drawing specifically on contemporary theories of form, neo-Riemannian theory and critical theory. He has given papers at international conferences such as the Royal Musical Association Annual Conference, the Biennial International Conference on Music Since 1900/Surrey Music Analysis Conference, City Music Analysis Conference, Gruppo Analisi e Teoria Musicale International Music Theory and Analysis Conference, the Biennial Conference of Regional Association for East Asia, International Musicological Society and Indiana University GTA/GMA Symposium. He is Chair of the Society for Music Analysis Formal Theory Study Group and is the winner of the Society for Music Analysis Theory and Analysis Graduate Student (TAGS) Prize in 2018.

Kelvin also pursues a parallel career as a conductor. In Europe and the UK, he has worked with North Czech Philharmonic (Czech Republic), Argovia Philharmonic (Switzerland), St Petersburg State Symphony Orchestra (Russia), Dohnányi Orchestra Budafok (Hungary), Savaria Symphony Orchestra (Hungary), Orchestra Magna Grecia (Italy), Bucharest Symphony Orchestra (Romania), Pazardzhik Symphony Orchestra (Bulgaria), Glasperlenspiel Sinfonietta (Estonia), Lemberg Sinfonietta (Ukraine), Chamber Ensemble of Cadaqués Orchestra (Spain) and Chimera Ensemble (UK), among others, and has performed in venues such as Musikverein Vienna, Municipal House Prague, Pesti Vigadó Budapest and Lviv Philharmonie. From 2013 to 2015 Kelvin was the first Music Director of Shun Hing College Schola Cantorum (Hong Kong). Under his leadership, the Schola Cantorum won the Third Prize in the fifth International World Peace Choral Festival (Austria), during which they also performed at the United Nations Office in support of the first World Day Against Trafficking in Persons. In 2017 Kelvin was invited to the prestigious Cadaqués Orchestra International Conducting Competition (Spain), for which he was selected out of over 300 applicants from more than 50 countries. In 2018 he was appointed as a visiting conductor at the Northwest School of Music (China), where he holds workshops for its symphony and wind orchestras.

Born in Hong Kong, Kelvin received his BA (Hons) in music and MPhil in musicology from the University of Hong Kong, and an MA in conducting with distinction from the University of York. He studied conducting in York with Dr John Stringer, then subsequently in London with Denise Ham, Mark Wigglesworth, Colin Metters and Toby Purser. His other mentors include Kristjan Järvi, Gábor Hollerung, Douglas Bostock and Norbert Baxa. He is also an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Kelvin is the recipient of Music Analysis Development Fund, Thurston Dart Research Grant, Van Mildert College Postgraduate Award, Van Mildert College Music Scholarship, Rayson Huang Scholarship in Music, The University of Hong Kong Postgraduate Scholarship, Dr Lo Kwee Seong Education Foundation Travel and Conference Grant, Reaching Out Award (under the Hong Kong Government Scholarship Fund), Jao Yu Tsong Memorial Prize in Music and Helen Moore-Williams Music Prize.

Research Interests

  • Analysis and performance
  • Analysis of sonata form
  • German modernism
  • History of music theory
  • Intersection between music theory and the history of ideas
  • Music in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries
  • Theory of tonality


Conference Paper

  • Lee, Kelvin H. F. (2018), Dialectical Form and Augenblick in Schoenberg’s Pelleas und Melisande, Society for Music Analysis TAGS Conference 2018. Durham, UK.
  • Lee, Kelvin H. F. (2018), Form-Functional Regression in Strauss’s Eine Alpensinfonie, City Music Analysis Conference. London, UK.
  • Lee, Kelvin H. F. (2018), Schoenberg the Wagnerian: Sequential Dissonances and Syntactic Meaning in Pelleas und Melisande, Gruppo Analisi e Teoria Musicale 15th International Music Theory and Analysis Conference. Rimini, Italy.
  • Lee, Kelvin H. F. (2018), Towards an Adornian Reading of Post-Romantic Form: Augenblick and Sonata Dialectics in Mahler’s Late Symphonies, 54th Annual Conference of the Royal Musical Association. Bristol, UK.
  • Lee, Kelvin H. F. (2017), Motorising Sonata Form: Breakthrough and Hexatonic Tonality in the Adagio of Mahler’s Tenth Symphony, Tenth Biennial International Conference on Music Since 1900 and Surrey Music Analysis Conference. Guildford, Surrey, UK.
  • Lee, Kelvin H. F. (2016), Conductor as Analyst: In Defence of Sibelius’s Formal Experiment in the Closing Movement of the Third Symphony, Society for Music Analysis TAGS Conference 2016. London, UK.
  • Lee, Kelvin H. F. (2013), Order or Disorder? Towards an Alternative Sonata Concept in the Adagio of Mahler’s Tenth Symphony, 2nd Biennial Conference of the East Asian Regional Association of International Musicological Society, “Musics in the Shifting Global Order'. Taipei, Taiwan.
  • Lee, Kelvin H. F. (2013), Schoenberg the Ambivalent: Philosophical Contextualization of "The Emancipation of Dissonance", 2013 Royal Musical Assocation Research Students Conference. Southampton, UK.
  • Lee, Kelvin H. F. (2012), Mahler’s Untimely Voice: Transcendental Narrative in the Sonata-Form Movement of the Seventh Symphony, 2012 Indiana University GTA/GMA Symposium, “Analysis and the Listener”. Bloomington, Indiana, USA.

Other (Print)

  • Lee, Kelvin H. F. (2017). Preface to August Otto Halm, Konzert in C fur grosses Orchester mit obligatem Klavier [Concerto in C for Large Orchestra and Obbligato Piano].