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Daniel Chua

Chair Professor, Mr & Mrs Hung Hing-ying Professor in the Arts, Chairperson


Daniel KL CHUA earned his PhD in musicology from Cambridge University and is currently Professor and Chair of music at the University of Hong Kong. Before joining HKU, he was the Director of Studies at St John’s College, Cambridge, and later Professor of Music Theory and Analysis at King’s College London. He was a Visiting Senior Research fellow at Yale (2014-15), a Henry Fellow at Harvard (1992-3), and a Research Fellow at Cambridge (1993-7).  He is the recipient of the 2004 Royal Musical Association’s Dent Medal.  He was editor of Music & Letters, and is on the editorial board of major musicological journals.  He was a Director-at-Large of the International Musicological Society and is currently the Society’s President (2017-2022).  He has written widely on music, from Monteverdi to Stravinsky, but is particularly known for his work on (i) Beethoven, (ii) the intersection between music, philosophy and theology, and (iii) the history of ‘absolute music’. His publications include The ‘Galitzin’ Quartets of Beethoven (Princeton, 1994), Absolute Music and the Construction of Meaning (Cambridge, 1999), Beethoven and Freedom, (Oxford, 2017), ‘Rioting With Stravinsky: A Particular Analysis of the Rite of Spring’ (2007), ‘Beethoven’s Other Humanism’ (2009), and ‘Listening to the Self: The Shawshank Redemption and the Technology of Music’ (2011). He is currently collaborating on various theologically inflected projects based at Duke and Yale Divinity Schools, and is working on a post-human manifesto modestly entitled an Intergalactic Music Theory of Everything (IMTE).

Selected Publications


  • 2017 - Beethoven and Freedom. New York: Oxford University Press.

  • 1999 -  Absolute Music and the Construction of Meaning. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  • 1995 - The "Galitzin" Quartets of Beethoven. Princeton: Princeton University Press.


  • 2012 - ‘Echoes of Hope in Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo and Beethoven’s Fidelio’ in Art, Imagination and Christian Hope: Patterns of Promise, eds. Trevor Hart, Jeremy Begbie and Gavin Hopps, 2012 Ashgate, pp. 69-89. ISBN-13: 9780754666769

  • 2011 - ‘Music as the Mouthpiece of Theology’, Resonant Witness: Essays in Theology and Music, ed. Jeremy S. Begbie and Steve R. Guthrie, 2011 Eerdmans. ISBN-13: 9780802862778

  • 2006 - ‘Mozart, Music, Money’, Mozart Studies, ed. Simon P. Keefe, 2006, Cambridge University Press, pp. 193-213. ISBN-13: 9780521851022

  • 2006 - ‘Drifting: the Dialectics of Adorno's Philosophy of New Music’, Apparitions: New Perspectives on Adorno and Twentieth-Century Music ed. B. Hoeckner, 2006, Routledge, pp1-17.
    ISBN-10: 0815335717. ISBN-13: 9780815335719

  • 2004 - ‘Ludwig van Beethoven’. Entry in Encyclopedia of the Romantic Era 1760-1850, ed. Chris Murray, 2004, Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers, volume 1 pp. 66-69. ISBN-10: 1579584233

  • 2001 - 'Vincenzo Galilei, Modernity and the Division of Nature', Music Theory's Natures ed. S. Clarke and A. Rehding, 2001, Cambridge University Press, pp.1-17. ISBN-10: 0521771919

  • 1998 - 'Haydn as Romantic', Haydn Studies ed. W. D. Sutcliffe, 1998 -  Cambridge University Press, pp.120-151. ISBN-10: 0521028353


  • 2016 - ‘Adorno’s Space-Time Dimension in Beethoven’, New German Critique, 43/3 (November, 2016), 113-137. DOI: 10.1215/0094033X-3625397

  • 2014 - ‘Beethoven Going Blank’, Journal of Musicology, 31/3 (2014), 299-325. DOI: 10.1525/jm.2014.31.3.299

  • 2011 - ‘Listening to the Self: The Shawshank Redemption and the Technology of Music’, Nineteenth-Century Music, 34/3 (Spring, 2011), 341-355. DOI: 10.1093/oq/kbi093

  • 2010 - ‘Listening to the Other: A Counter-Cultural Ear in Ipodic Times’, Journal of the Royal Musical Association, 135 (Special Issue, 2010), 103-8.

  • 2009 - ‘Beethoven’s Other Humanism’, Journal of the American Musicological Society, 62/3 (Fall, 2009), 571-645. DOI: 10.1525/jams.2009.62.3.571

  • 2007 - ‘Rioting With Stravinsky: A Particular Analysis of the Rite of Spring’, Music Analysis, 26/1-2 (2007), 59-109.

  • 2005 - ‘Untimely Reflections on Operatic Echoes: How Sound Travels in Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo and Beethoven’s Fidelio with a Short Instrumental Interlude’, The Opera Quarterly, 21/4 (2005), 573-596.

  • 2005 - ‘The Promise of Nothing: The Dialectic of Freedom in Adorno’s Beethoven’, Beethoven Forum, 12/1 (2005), 13-35.

  • 2004 - ‘The Metaphysics of Mourning: Adorno’s Farewell to Beethoven’, Musical Quarterly, 87/3 (2004), 523-545.

  • 2004 - ‘Rethinking Unity’, Music Analysis, 23/2-3 (2004), 353-359.

  • 2000 - ‘Believing in Beethoven: Adorno’s Philosophy of Music’, Music Analysis, 19/2 (2000), 409-21.


  • 2015 - Book review of Mark Evan Bonds’ Absolute Music: The History of an Idea, 2015 , in Music Theory Online, volume 21/2.

  • 2005 - Book review of David Yearsley’s Bach and the Meanings of Counterpoint, 2005, in Music Theory Spectrum, volume 27/1, pp.113-117.

  • 2001 - Book review of Susan McClary’s Conventional Wisdom: The Content of Musical Form, 2001, in Journal of the American Musicological Society, volume 54/2 , pp. 413-417.

  • 1999 - Book review of Beethoven Forum 5-6, 1999, in Music and Letters, volume 80/2, pp. 290-292.

  • 1997 - Book review of Fidelio: Cambridge Opera Handbook, ed. Paul Robinson, 1997, in Music and Letters, volume 78/3, pp. 432-433.

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