Dr. Richard Kurth

Professor, Music Theory (On leave 2019–2020)
Former Director, School of Music (2007–2018)

BSc (Toronto), MMus (Hartford), PhD (Harvard)

Music Building 203A
Tel. 604-822-2079


My teaching and research interests explore interactions between music analysis, music performance, and the poetics of music and literature, across a range of 19th, 20th, and 21st century repertoires. These interests reflect a variety of intersecting points along the principal lines of influence in my personal development: upbringing in a literary and musical family; undergraduate studies in mathematics and physics (B.Sc. Toronto 1983); graduate studies in oboe performance with Bert Lucarelli (M.Mus., Hartt School of Music 1984) and with Sara Lambert Bloom and Robert Bloom (Artist Diploma studies, Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music); and doctoral studies in music theory supervised by David Lewin (Ph.D., Harvard University 1993).

Many of my publications and conference presentations have examined a variety of aspects of Arnold Schoenberg’s music, across different stages of his compositional development. Some of these contributions emphasize aspects of twelve-tone theory and analysis, while others consider Schoenberg’s aesthetics and poetics in his tonal, “atonal,” and twelve-tone compositions. In addition to writing about Schoenberg’s twelve-tone music in particular, I have explored aspects of twelve-tone theory more generally, especially in work on partition lattices.

Other publications and presentations have explored aspects of music by Schubert, Schumann, and Kurtág, often considering the interplay of music and poetry more generally.

I have taught a wide range of graduate seminars in order to explore different topics and interests, including post-tonal theory, history of theory, music and poetry, analysis of popular music, and analysis and performance.  I have enjoyed supervising numerous MA, DMA, and PHD theses, engaging the analysis of music of the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries from a variety of theoretical, critical, and performer perspectives.

Prior to joining the UBC faculty in 1994, I held teaching positions at McGill University (1992-93) and at the University of Western Ontario (1993-94). I have served as the Director of the UBC School of Music since 2007, and will complete my second term as Director in June 2018. 


Book Chapters



Liner Essays

Conference Papers