Alexandra Huang

Thesis title: Female Pianism and Piano Performance: Musical Performativity in the Novels by Virginia Woolf, E. M. Forster, and Thomas Mann


Alexandra is a Ph.D. student in English and comparative literature with a specialism in word and music studies. Her doctoral project is funded by the scholarship of the Ministry of Education, Taiwan (awarded 2020). Her research investigates the interrelations between music performance and twentieth-century narrative discourses of European art music, drawing on the cultural history of music, Austro-German and new musicology,  theories of performance, and the intellectual theories of performativity (primarily Stanley Cavell and Shannon Jackson). Besides research activities, she is dedicated to solo piano performances and a range of creative collaborations with practicing musicians and artists. 


  • University of Edinburgh - Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) – English & Comparative Literatures (in progress)
  • Royal Conservatoire of Scotland - Master of Arts - Piano Performance
  • University of Edinburgh - Master of Science - English Literature in Modernity 
  • National Taiwan University - Bachelor of Arts, Foreign Languages and Literatures 

Research summary

  • Word and music studies
  • Performance theories and studies 
  • The intellectual theories of performativity
  • Modernism and post-modernism
  • World literature - 20th-century novels
  • Historical and interdisciplinary musicology 
  • Romantic opera
  • Narrative discourses on Virtuosity

Project activity

'Beyond-tune Traditional Music in Scotland'.

School of Scottish & Celtic Studies. University of Edinburgh, July - Sep 2021. (as Research Assistant) 

Alexandra Huang contributes to Phase I of a pilot study project in the development and contextualisation of a database centred on experimental music compositions by traditional musicians in Scotland, with Dr Lori Watson (Principal Investigator). Building on methodologies frequently used in ethnomusicology and artistic practice as research, Alexandra primarily worked on these specific tasks: literature search and analysis, the identification of key themes and the state of the art in recent scholarship development, the refinement plan for the qualitative survey, and the analysis of survey findings. The project website can be seen here:


'Ode to Autumn – Revisiting Frédéric Chopin in Scotland in Autumn 1848'.

Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, 2020. 

The project is a fully edited film. Seen through the mind's eye of Jane Stirling, the film presents a story about the brilliant composer Frédéric Chopin visiting Scotland in autumn 1848. It incorporates recorded piano performances of Chopin's music and a cinematic representation of Chopin's journey through Scotland. All creative content is performed, written, recorded, directed, filmed by Alexandra. (

Conference details

  • 'Musical Performativity of the Piano Novels by Thomas Mann, E. M. Forster and Virginia Woolf'. Northeast Modern Language Association's 53rd Annual Convention, Johns Hopkins University & The University of Buffalo, March 2022. 

  • 'Musical Performativity of Piano Performance in Thomas Mann’s Tristan, E. M. Forster’s A Room with a View, and Virginia Woolf’s The Voyage Out'. Acoustic Text Symposium, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, October 2021. 
  • 'Inter-subjective Musical Connectivity: Virtuosic Piano-playing in Tristan, A Room with a View, and The Voyage Out'. 13th GradNet Annual Conference, University of Southampton, June 2021.
  • 'Reconfiguring the Positivity of Death Narratives in Virginia Woolf's Novelistic Writing'. English Literature Work-in-Progress Seminar, University of Edinburgh, January 2020. 
  • 'Happiness in Sweet Death: A Positive Reading of Virginia Woolf's Jacob's Room and The Waves'. Happiness: Enlightenment to Present Conference, University of Cambridge, October 2019. 
  • 'Word and Music Studies: Surveying beyond Cultural and Aesthetic Fields'. Taiwanese Scholars in Scotland Symposium, Taiwanese Scholars Association in Scotland, May, 2019.
  • “Sun Ra Arkestra: A Mythical Rebirth.” Inciting Sparks. 18 Sep. 2019.

  • “Recomposing Caesuras: The Silent Creativity of Sounds in 'A Quiet Place' (2018 Film).” Inciting Sparks. 8 Aug. 2018.

  • Piano Recital. Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Glasgow/Online, May 2020. (
    • J.S. Bach: Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue in D minor, BWV 903 
    • F. Chopin: Piano Sonata No. 3 in B minor, Op. 58 
    • A. Ginastera: Danzas Argentinas, Op. 2
  • Three on a Thursday: St. Cecelia's Day Piano Recital. St. Cecilia's Hall, Edinburgh, November 2018. 
    • G. Fauré: Nocturne in B Major, Op. 33 No.2
    • L. V. Beethoven: Piano Sonata No. 23 in f minor, Op. 57, 'Appassionata'
  • Fundraising Piano Recital. St. Marks Unitarian Church, Edinburgh, November 2018. 
  • World Music Day Piano Recital. St. Cecilia's Hall, Edinburgh, June 2018. 
  • 'The Musical Waves' Piano Recital. Wenshui Arts and Cultural Centre, Taipei, September 2017.
    • Gluck/Sgambati: Melodie from “Orfeo ed Euridice,” Wq. 30
    • F. Chopin: Piano Sonata No.3 in b-minor, Op. 58
  • 'Music Played Outdoors' Chamber Concert. Taipei Art Fringe Festival, Taipei, August, 2016. 
    • P. Tchaikovsky: Piano Trio in a-minor, Op. 50
  • 'Spiritual Time' Piano Recital. National Taiwan University, Taipei, December 2015. 
    • L. V. Beethoven: Piano Sonata No.30 in E Major, Op.109
    • L. V. Beethoven: Piano Sonata No.31 in A-flat Major, Op.110
    • J. S. Bach: The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1, Prelude and Fugue No.4 in e-flat minor, BWV 853
    • F. Chopin: Polonaise No.5 in f-sharp minor, Op.44, “Tragic”
    • F. Chopin: Polonaise No.6 in A-flat Major, Op. 53, “Heroic”
    • F. Chopin: Polonaise-Fantasie in A-Flat Major, Op. 61
  • 'Winterreise' Piano Recital. YinQi Culture & Music Foundation, Taipei, December 2014. 
    • J. S. Bach: The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1, Prelude and Fugue No.4 in c-sharp minor, BWV 849
    • L. V. Beethoven: Piano Sonata No.8 in c minor, Op.13, “Pathetique”
    • F. Mendelssohn: Piano Trio No.1 in d minor, Op. 49, Mvt. 1, 2
    • F. Chopin: Ballade No.3 in A-flat Major, Op. 47
    • F. Chopin: Ballade No.4 in f minor, Op.52