School of Drama, Music and Screen


Dr Peter Elsdon


Peter_ElsonSenior Lecturer, Programme Leader BA Jazz and Popular Music

BMus(Belfast), MA(Belfast), PhD(Soton)

Office: L226
Phone: 01482 465013


Peter Elsdon is a jazz musician, improviser, and musicologist.  His research explores facets of jazz and improvised music, with particular focus on the music of Keith Jarrett. His book on Jarrett’s Köln Concert recording is currently available from Oxford University Press . He was also recently involved as part of the AHRC-funded Beyond Text project ‘The Use of Audiovisual Resources in Jazz Historiography and Scholarship’.

Within the department of Drama and Music, Peter Elsdon founded and directs the Jazz Aesthetic, a 12-piece band which plays contemporary jazz. The band have performed recently at jazz clubs in Scarborough and Hull, as well as at the University’s Middleton Hall. Peter also works in the Yorkshire region as a freelance jazz pianist.

Research Interest

  • Improvisation
  • Jazz, especially post-1960
  • Popular music

Selected Publications



  • 'Jazz Recordings and the Capturing of Performance' in Recorded Music: Society, Technology and Performance, ed. Amanda Bayley (Cambridge University Press, 2010), pp. 146-166.
  • 'Style and the Improvised in Keith Jarrett's solo concerts', Jazz Perspectives, Volume 2, No. 1, May 2008, pp. 51-67.
  •  ‘Listening in the gaze: the body in Keith Jarrett's solo piano improvisations’ in Music and Gesture, eds. E. King and A. Gritten (Ashgate, 2006)
  • Appendices (chronology and personalia) for The Cambridge Companion to Western Twentieth Century Music, eds. N. Cook and A. Pople (Cambridge University Press, 2004)
  • 'Crossing Over? The Charles Lloyd Group and the problem of stylistic identity', in Jazz Research Proceedings Yearbook, 2000, International Association of Jazz Educators.


  • Review of Oh Boy! Masculinities and Popular Music, F. Jarman Ivens ed. (London: Routledge 2007), Journal of Gender Studies, 18/1 (2009), pp. 92-3.
  • Review of Jazz On The Road, C. Wilkinson (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001), Music and Letters, 84/1 (2003), pp. 143-5
  • Review article on The Cambridge Companion to Jazz, eds., M. Cooke and D. Horn (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002), Frankfurter Zeitschrift für Musikwissenschaft (online publication at

Recent conference papers and invited lectures

  • 'ECM and the Solo Piano Record', National Library, Oslo, October 2013.
  • ‘Musicology, Recordings, and Keith Jarrett’s Koln Concert’. Research Seminar, Birmingham Conservatoire, October 2011.
  • ‘Filmic Composition and Jazz on Film’, Lancaster Music Analysis Conference, July 2011.
  • ‘Framing Jazz: Thoughts on Representation and Embodiment’. Watching Jazz Conference, University of Glasgow, February 2011.
  • ‘Jazz on Film: Representation and Mediatisation’ panel session at Jazz and Race, Past and Present Conference, Open University, November 2010.
  • 'Fairy tales and near death experiences: the music of Sigur Ros', research seminar at the University of Sheffield, November 2008
  • 'Constructing Improvisation: Keith Jarrett's 'Prism'', presented at the Cardiff International Music Analysis Conference, September 2008
  • 'The sound of a rock record?', presented at CHARM/RMA Annual Conference, Royal Holloway, University of London, September 2007.
  • 'Air guitar and the music of Sigur Ros', 2nd International Conference on Music and Gesture, Royal Nothern College of Music, July 2006.
  • 'Gesture and the Improvised in the music of Keith Jarrett', seminar at the Institute of Music Research, University of London, June 2006.

Unpublished Writings

  • 'Keith Jarrett's solo piano concerts and the aesthetics of free improvisation, 1960-73', PhD thesis, University of Southampton, 2001.



Level 4

  • Introduction to Performance (Jazz and Pop)

Level 5

  • Jazz History
  • Performance (Jazz and Pop)
  • Orchestration and Arranging

Level 6

  • Performance (Jazz and Pop)
  • Special Study (supervision)



Level 7 (MMus)

  • Performance (Jazz and Pop)
  • Improvisation (including live electronics)




  • Programme leader, BA Jazz and Popular Music

  • Collaborative Provision academic contact (Leeds College of Music)
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