• “Creative Agency in Classical Music Performance: Theorizing, Observing, Experiencing,” paper presentation, Performance Studies Network Fifth International Conference, Norwegian Academy of Music, Oslo, Norway (upcoming July 2018)

  • “Theorizing First-Hand Experience across Two Pianos: Developing an Auto- Ethnography of Preparing Gyorgy Ligeti’s for Performance,” workshop-presentation, Beyond "Mesearch": Autoethnography, Self-Reflexivity, and Personal Experience as Academic Research in Music Studies, Institute of Musical Research (IMR) Study Day, School of Advanced Study, University of London (upcoming April 2018)

  • “Analysis as Improvisation, or Keyboard Skills for the Twenty-First Century: Exploring Preluding, Romantic Pianism, and Creative Agency in Current-day Classical Performance Training,” The Improvising Brain III: Cultural Variations and Analytical Approaches, Interdisciplinary Conference, Georgia State University, Atlanta, Georgia (February 2017)

  • “Collaborative Listening or Exploring Ways to Share First-hand Pianistic Experience,” workshop-presentation, Banff Centre for the Arts, Banff, Canada (February 2017)

  • “Expressive Sound in Piano Performance, or an Invitation to Collaborative Listening,” repertoires for the piano, Musicology in the Concert Hall: Performance Studies at Work, International University of Andalusia, Spain (December 2016)

  • “Theorizing Performance from the Second-person Position,” as part of panel, Performance as Experience, Fourth International Performance Studies Network Conference, Bath Spa University, Bath, UK (July 2016)

  • “Timbre and Experience: An Introduction to Musical Color,” invited guest presentation, Music Theory I, taught by Professor Richard Beaudoin, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA (April 2016)

  • "Artistic Research: Listening and Performing Practices in Classical Music", a two-day workshop-presentation, with Andrew M. Friedman, Wintersessions, Music Department, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA (January 2016)


  • "Audio-haptics or Hearing with the Fingertips: Sound Production in Piano Performance as Action, Perception, and Experience,” invited guest presentation, Music, Mind, and Brain seminar, taught by Professor Hubert Ho, North-Eastern University, Boston (April 2015)


  • “Improvising the standard repertoire: Transparency, improvisation, and agency in classical piano performance,” Music for All, Orpheus Doctoral Conference 2015, Orpheus Institute, Ghent, Belgium (February 2015)


  • “Sounding Music, Cultivating Agency: Musings on Concepts, Discourses, and Practices in Present-Day Traditions of Classical Music Performance,” part of panel on Agency and Musical Performance, VIIIth European Music Analysis Conference, Leuven, Belgium (September 2014)


  • “Theorizing Sound Quality in Piano Performance: The Music of Morton Feldman, the Teaching of Heinrich Neuhaus, and Real-time Experience of Piano Sound,” Center for Musical Performance as Creative Practice (CMPCP), Performance Studies Network International Conference, Cambridge University, Cambridge, UK ( July 2014)


  • “Theorizing Real-time Experience: An Auto-ethnographic Approach to Preparing Gyorgy Ligeti’s Three Pieces for Two Pianos for Performance,” with Hubert Ho, With Four Hands: Music for Two Pianists International Conference, Institute for Musical Research, London, UK ( June 2013)


  • “Exploring Real-time Sonic Adjustments in the Performance of a Notated Piano Score,” North-East Music Cognition Group (NEMCOG), semi-annual meeting, New York University, New York (April 2013)


  • “On sound in Piano Performance: Theorizing Experiential Possibilities,” invited seminar talk, Mind and Body in Music seminar, taught by Eugene Montague, George Washington University, Washington, D.C. (April 2013)


  • “Permanence and Transience: Musings on Creative Practice, Classical Music Performance, and the ‘Work-concept’ through the Lens of Critical Ethnography,” Center for Musical Performance as Creative Practice, Performance Studies Network International Conference, Cambridge University, Cambridge, UK (April 2013)


  • “Towards a Model of Sound Production in Piano Performance: Systematizing Pedagogical Views in Light of Personal Experience and Ulric Neisser’s ‘Perceptual Cycles,’” London International Piano Symposium, Royal College of Music, London, UK (February 2013)


  • “Acoustic Piano Performance as Sound Art: The Music of Morton Feldman, the Teaching of Heinrich Neuhaus, and Real-time Experience of Piano Sound,” Third International Symposium on Music/Sonic Art: Practices and Theories, Institut für Musikwissenschaft und Musikinformatik (IMWI), Karlsruhe, Germany (July 2012)


  • “On Developing an Interpretation: Stanislavsky on Acting, Lewin on Debussy, and Baudelaire’s Influence on Personal Performance Experience,” Counterpoints: Nineteenth-Century Literature and Music, Conference, Fordham University, Lincoln Center, New York (October 2011)


  • “Real-time Adjustments in the Performance of Notated Piano Music: Morton Feldman, Space Acoustics, and the Variable Timbres of Piano Sound,” International Symposium on Performance Science, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada (August 2011)


  • “Exploring Real-time Adjustments to Changes in Acoustic Conditions in Artistic Piano Performance,” 2011 Conference of the Society for Music Perception and Cognition, Eastman School of Music, Rochester, NY (August 2011)


  • “Obtaining the Right Sound, or Elements of Improvisation in Performing Debussy’s “Des pas sur la neige,”” Performance Studies Network International Conference, AHRC Centre for Musical Performance as Creative Practice, Cambridge University, Cambridge, UK (July 2011)


  • "Identifying with a Piece of Music in Performance and in Analysis, or in Search of the Interpretation," Special Symposium on Performance and Analysis, Indiana University, Bloomington (February 2009)


  • “Achieving Transparency: Performers’ Agency and the Werktreue Ideal,” Performing Romantic Music: Theory and Practice, Conference, Durham University, Durham, UK (July 2008)


  • “Transmitting the Sublime: The Place of the Performer in the Conceptual Chain between Masterwork and Audience,” Harvard Graduate Music Forum (October 2005)


  • “On David Lewin’s Use of the Composer’s Voice and its Implications for Analysis and Performance,” Princeton-Cornell-Penn-Columbia Graduate Consortium (January 2005)




  • “Haptic Imagination, or a Romantic Piano Pedagogy in Current-Day Perspectives: Exploring Sound Production at the Piano through the Work of Heinrich Neuhaus, Morton Feldman, and Maria Joao-Pires,” Nineteenth Century  Music Review, Issue on Music and Touch (under consideration)

  • “Expressive Sound at the Piano or Explorations in Sound Experience,” Frontiers in Psychology, Section: Performance Science, Collection: International Symposium on Performance Science 2017 (under consideration)

  • “Exploring Real-Time Sonic Adjustments in the Performance of Notated Music: Audio-Haptics, Space Acoustics, and the Variable Timbres of Piano Sound,” as part of collection provisionally titled New Thoughts on Piano Performance edited by Christine MacKey, for Amazon/ Kindle (London: London International Piano Symposium, 2017)

  • "Real-time Adjustments in the Performance of Notated Piano Music: Morton Feldman, Space Acoustics, and the Variable Timbres of Piano Sound,” in Proceedings of the International Symposium on Performance Science 2011, ed. Aaron Williamon, Darryl Edwards, and Lee Bartel (Utrecht: European Association of Conservatories, August 2011)


  • "Performer’s Agency and the Ideal of Transparency: Practical Contradictions and Ideological Tensions Facing Performers of Musical Masterworks,” in Musical Perspectives: Perspectives and Research in Music Performance, peer-reviewed online journal (April 2010)



Research Areas


  • Factors in performance ability


  • Critical ethnography, auto-ethnography, ethnographic approaches to performing experience


  • Cognitive function, enaction, ecological and embodied approaches in cognitive theory


  • Russian piano pedagogy of early twentieth century


  • Shared experience in the context of the performing arts, intersubjectivity, second-person position approaches to theorizing experience


  • Music analytic approaches as modes of musical thinking


  • Keyboard harmony and period improvisation

Doctoral Research


  • Dissertation: “Theorizing Pianistic Experience: Tradition, Instrument, Performer”

Professor George E. Lewis, Principal Advisor
May 2012, Columbia University, New York City

  • Drawing on interviews, pedagogical manuals, personal performance experience, and current research in cognitive function,

psychoacoustics, sound studies, and cultural theory, this study foregrounds the dynamic, interactive, and improvisatory aspects of a classical pianist’s work with musical sound

  • Major sources:

Cognitive theory: Francisco Varela, Ulric Neisser, Paul Bach-y-Rita
Sound studies, sound experience: Jonathan Sterne, Aden Evens, Morton Feldman
Piano performance and pedagogy: Heinrich Neuhaus, contemporary interviews and conversations


© 2018 Victoria Tzotzkova


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