Nicholas Swett

Nicholas Swett

  • Scholar
  • United States
  • 2020 PhD Music
  • St Edmund's College

As an undergraduate in cello and literature at Northwestern, I studied new approaches to concert programming and integrated theories of literary translation into performance practice. I later worked as a teaching artist, designing educational workshops and community concerts throughout the Chicagoland area. I saw firsthand the powerful experiences listeners of many ages and backgrounds can have when engaging with unfamiliar types of music. I love to play and study modern and contemporary repertoire, but this music tends to be particularly challenging for audiences. At Cambridge, my research will focus on helping listeners to grapple with these less familiar musical languages. I will combine methods in music analysis and cognitive psychology to explore stylistic translations - pieces of music that bridge the gaps between musical styles and lead the ear from more familiar sound worlds to less familiar ones. I will draw on the literature on analogy and structure mapping in education to investigate how music learning relates to learning in other domains. I hope to deepen ties between music researchers and concert practitioners, developing new ways of presenting the extraordinary music written in the last 100 years.

Previous Education

The University of Sheffield Psychology of Music 2019
Northwestern University Cello Performance and Comparative Literature 2016