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Dr Maiko Kawabata

Dr. Maiko Kawabata is a musicologist and violinist educated at Cambridge University (B.A.) and the University of California, Los Angeles (Ph.D.).  She joined the Royal College of Music in 2017 having previously held positions on the faculties of the University of Edinburgh, University of East Anglia, and the State University of New York, Stony Brook.   Mai’s main research interest is in the history of musical performance, with a focus on extremes of solo violin playing – convention-breaking styles and ideas such as virtuosity and unplayability.  She is the author of Paganini, the 'Demonic' Virtuoso and a co-editor of Exploring Virtuosities: Heinrich Wilhelm Ernst, Nineteenth-Century Musical Practices and Beyond.  She has also published articles on Stradivari, Paganini, Berlioz, Rimsky-Korsakov, Schoenberg, Heifetz, Gilles Apap and Patricia Kopatchinskaja.  She has presented her research at the American Musicological Society, the Institute of Musical Research, and numerous international conferences.  Mai studied violin with the late Nona Liddell and has wide experience playing in orchestras and chamber ensembles throughout the UK, USA, and Germany.  She performed Schoenberg with the late Leonard Stein (Monday Evening Concerts, Los Angeles), Schnittke with the Modern Art Sextet (Konzerthaus Berlin), and Stockhausen with Apartment House (Cut&Splice Festival, broadcast on BBC Radio 3).  While dedicated to performing new music, Mai also plays symphonic repertoire, operas, and film soundtracks. 

Selected publications

Hoppe C, von Goldbeck M & Kawabata M (eds.) (2018), Exploring Virtuosities: Heinrich Wilhelm Ernst, Nineteenth-Century Musical Practices and Beyond, Olms [ISBN 978-3-487-15662-0].

Kawabata M (2015), Playing the ‘unplayable’: Schoenberg, Heifetz, and the Violin Concerto, op. 36, Journal of Musicological Research, 34 (1), 31-50 [DOI].

Kawabata M (2014), How Gilles Apap's new cadenza illuminates Mozart, via Bakhtin, ECHO, 12.1 [LINK].

Kawabata M (2014), The aura of Stradivari’s violins, Ad Parnassum 12 (3 ), 61-74 [LINK].

Kawabata M (2007), Virtuosity, the violin, and the devil . . .what really made Paganini "demonic"?, Current Musicology, 83 [LINK].

Kawabata M (2004), The concerto that wasn’t: Paganini, Urhan and Harold in Italy, Nineteenth-Century Music Review, 1 (1), 67-114 [DOI].

Kawabata M (2004), Virtuoso codes of violin performance: power, military heroism, and gender (1789-1830), Nineteenth Century Music, 28 (2), 89-107 [DOI].

Kawabata M (2000), The narrating voice in Rimsky-Korsakov's Shekherazade, Women and Music, 4, 18-39.


Faculties / departments: Programmes, Research

Latest Publications

Kawabata, M. (2018) What does Paganini mean to us today? 'Paganini Rockstar' Exhibition Catalogue.


For enquires please contact:

Dr Maiko Kawabata

Lecturer in Music

0207 591 4753