Percy Leung

BA (Hons) (Dunelm), M.Phil (Cantab), MISM, FRAS

 

Contact Details:
Email: pll5@st-andrews.ac.uk

Thesis Title: Symphonic Beneficence: The Social, Economic and Political Contributions of the Berliner Philharmoniker and the London Symphony Orchestra during the First World War
Supervisor: Professor Frank Lorenz Müller

 

 

I began my PhD in Modern History at St Andrews in January 2017, under the supervision of Professor Frank Lorenz Müller, having completed my BA in Combined Honours in Arts (History, Music, Politics & International Relations) at Durham University in 2015 and my M.Phil in Music Studies at the University of Cambridge in 2016. I have always been deeply passionate about the relationship between music and politics. My undergraduate dissertation explores the contradictions and paradoxes of the Nazis' cultural policies on music, whereas my masters' dissertation is a comparative analysis of the Soviet Union's and the United States' Denazification policies on the German musical scene in post-war occupied Berlin between 1945 and 1947, arguing that the cultural policies implemented by the USSR, which was widely recognised as an authoritarian state, were much more liberal and lenient than the policies of the USA, which prided herself as a world-leading democracy.

My doctoral research focuses on the social, economic and political contributions to the German and British war efforts made, respectively, by the Berliner Philharmoniker and the London Symphony Orchestra during the First World War. I will investigate the value of classical music and its public performance in fostering national identity in war-time societies and in bolstering the morale in the home fronts, the ways that these two orchestras transformed classical music from a serious, elitist art-form to an offering located within popular mass culture and how the changing circumstances of the First World War affected the musical life and administration of both orchestras.

My research interests are centered on the relationship between music and politics in the first half of the Twentieth Century, with a special focus on the cultural history and the musical life of Germany and Britain, the history of symphony orchestras and the role of music in authoritarian regimes, namely Nazi Germany, Stalinist Russia and Maoist China; whereas as a musicologist, I focus on the effects of classical music on societies and how compositions' texts, notational idiosyncrasies and compositional devices influenced a population.

Outside the academia, I am a keen conductor, having conducted various orchestras in the past, including the Universities of Scotland Symphony Orchestra, the University of Cambridge's Emmanuel and Corpus Christi Orchestra, the Durham University Hill Orchestra, the St Andrews Symphony Orchestra, the St Andrews and Fife Community Orchestra and the University of St Andrews’ Concert Wind Band.

My doctoral studies are generously fully funded by the St Leonard's College Scholarship, awarded by the School of History.

I was awarded a scholarship by the Studienstiftung of the Berlin House of Representatives, the State Parliament of Berlin, and am currently a visiting scholar at the Humboldt University of Berlin.

Awards

  • Research Grant, Royal Historical Society, 2019
  • Thurston Dart Research Grant, Royal Musical Association, 2019
  • Conference Attendance Grant, German History Society, 2019
  • Conference Travel Grant, German Studies Association, 2019
  • Conference Travel Bursary, First World War Network, 2019
  • Studienstiftung of the Berlin House of Representatives Scholarship, 2018-2019
  • Russell Trust Postgraduate Awards, 2018
  • Santander - St Leonard's College Research Mobility Scholarship, 2018
  • Thurston Dart Research Grant, Royal Musical Association, 2018
  • Research Grant, Royal Historical Society, 2018
  • Discretionary Funding Award, University of St Andrews (School of History), 2018
  • Postgraduate Language Bursary, University of St Andrews (School of History), 2018
  • Conference Attendance Grant, German History Society, 2018
  • Language Course Grant, German History Society and German Academic Exchange Service, 2018
  • Discretionary Funding Award, University of St Andrews (School of History), 2017
  • St Leonard's College Scholarship, University of St Andrews (School of History), 2017-2021
  • Postgraduate Language Bursary, University of St Andrews (School of History), 2016
  • Vice-Chancellor’s Scholarship for Academic Excellence, Durham University, 2014-2015
  • Director’s Prize, Durham University (Combined Honours), 2015
  • Level 2 Prize, Durham University (Combined Honours), 2014

Conference Papers and Seminar Papers

  • ‘Transnationalism and State Patronage: The Berliner Philharmoniker’s Soloists, Conductors and Orchestral Musicians during the First World War’ (German History Society Annual Conference, London, September 2019)
  • ‘Concert Programmes and Concert Hall Reception: Transnational Perspectives on the Berliner Philharmoniker and the London Symphony Orchestra during WWI’ (St Andrews-Bonn ‘Cultural Exchange’ Doctoral Workshop, Bonn, September 2019)
  • Forschen in Berlin’ (EvaluierungsseminarAbgeordnetenhaus von Berlin, Berlin, June 2019)
  • ‘Orchestral Music in the Midst of the First World War: The Concert Programmes of the Berliner Philharmoniker and the London Symphony Orchestra’ (The First World War: Past, Present, and Future, First World War Network, Edinburgh, June 2019)
  • Orchestermusik inmitten des Ersten Weltkriegs: Eine transnationale Studie über die kulturellen Auswirkungen der Berliner Philharmoniker und des London Symphony Orchestra’ (Master- und DoktorandInnenkolloquiumInstitut für Geschichtswissenschaften, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin: Europäische Geschichte des 19. Jahrhunderts, Berlin, April 2019)
  • Berlin: Die musikalische Hauptstadt der Welt’ (EvaluierungsseminarAbgeordnetenhaus von Berlin, Berlin, March 2019)
  • ‘Misconception and Misperception in the Literature: My Research on the Berliner Philharmoniker and the London Symphony Orchestra during the First World War’ (Music Talks, University of St Andrews, February 2019)
  • 'Continuity and Stability at a Time of Discontinuity and Instability: The Salience and Peculiarity of the Berliner Philharmoniker and the London Symphony Orchestra during the First World War’ (British Forum for Ethnomusicology/Royal Musical Association Research Students’ Conference, Sheffield, January 2019)
  • '(Un)Patriotic Orchestral Performances: The Concert Programmes of the Berliner Philharmoniker and the London Symphony Orchestra during the First World War' (German Historical Institute London Postgraduate Students Conference, London, January 2019)
  • ‘Orchestral Music in the Midst of the First World War: The Performance Practices of the Berliner Philharmoniker and the London Symphony Orchestra’ (The Birth of Contemporary Europe: World War I, Music and the Arts - International Conference, Athens, November 2018)
  • ‘‘Give Us Beethoven and Wagner’: The Popularity of German Music in Britain during the First World War’ (Early Modern & Modern History Forum, University of St Andrews, November 2017)
  • ‘The White House and Capitol Hill: Presidential Legislative Skills as a Source of Influence in Congress’ (Leckhampton Society Postgraduate Talks Series, Corpus Christi College, University of Cambridge, February 2016)

Media Appearances

  • ‘The Berlin Philharmonic & London Symphony Orchestras in WW1’, Mentioned in Dispatches Podcast, 1 April 2019
  • ‘The Ruhleben Legacy’, Sunday Feature, BBC Radio 3, 11 November 2018 (As programme consultant and researcher)
  • ‘In Defense of History’, Summit, Commercial Radio Hong Kong, 18 January 2018
  • I am a columnist of the CUP Media in Hong Kong; my column is titled 'The Silent Witness' (My articles are in both English and Chinese, and can be read here: https://www.cup.com.hk/author/column-percyleung/)

Publications

  • Review of Joseph E. Morgan and Gregory N. Reish, eds., Tyranny and Music, in Music & Letters, 100/1 (2019), 174-177

Teaching

  • MO1008: Themes in Late Modern History

Professional Memberships

I am a fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society, and am a member of the following:

  • Royal Historical Society
  • Royal Musical Association
  • German History Society
  • Economic History Society
  • German Studies Association
  • British-German Association