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Morton Wan

Morton Wan

Educational Background

  • PhD (Musicology), Cornell University (in progress)

  • MPhil (Musicology), University of Hong Kong

  • MSt (Music), University of Oxford
  • BEcon (Economics, Philosophy, Music), University of Hong Kong / University of Edinburgh

  • Artist Diploma (Piano & Harpsichord) McGill University (coursework)

  • FRSM, The Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music


Morton Wan is a PhD candidate in musicology at Cornell. His scholarly work concerns primarily the musical history and culture of the long eighteenth century, asking how ways of making, listening to, and consuming music reckoned with contemporaneous development in political, philosophical, and economic thought. Drawing on his interdisciplinary training as both a music historian and an economist, Morton is working on a dissertation that attempts to place music in the telling of an origin story about financial capitalism via George Frideric Handel and the South Sea Bubble of 1720.

Other ongoing projects cover topics extending from the music historian Charles Burney’s 1769 doctoral composition as institutional critique, to Glenn Gould’s Mozart and musical automata, to the role of musical instruments in early Sino-European encounters. Morton is also committed to producing critical English translations of classical Chinese writings in music theory and aesthetics to help bridge the philological gap left by the sustained calls for diversifying the music curriculum in postcolonial and global directions.

Morton holds an MSt with distinction from Oxford University and an MPhil from the University of Hong Kong, where his hermeneutic work on Beethoven’s late piano sonatas was awarded the Li Ka Shing Prize for the best master’s thesis in the social sciences and the humanities. As an active performer on keyboard instruments historical and modern, Morton was trained at the Royal Academy of Music in London and McGill University in Montréal. He was admitted as a Fellow of the Royal Schools of Music in 2015. At Cornell, he directed the Cornell Baroque Orchestra from 2016 to 2019 and organized the historically informed performance studies graduate reading group for the Cornell Center for Keyboard Studies in 2018-19. He is also a frequent contributor of program notes for HKU MUSE.

Morton’s research has been supported by the Society for Eighteenth-Century Music, Cornell Institute for European Studies, and Cornell Society for the Humanities. He is the 2020-21 recipient of the Kanner Fellowship in British Studies at UCLA’s Center for 17th- & 18th-Century Studies. Morton has presented lecture recitals and papers at conferences of the American Musicological Society, Royal Musical Association Music and Philosophy Study Group, International Musicological Society East Asian Regional Association, Mozart Society of America, and Westfield Center for Historical Keyboard Studies.

As a Don M. Randel Music Teaching Fellow in 2020-21, Morton will be designing and teaching a course entitled "Music and Money." Exploring the intersections of music studies and the history of modern economic thought, the course seeks to create a stimulating dialogue between two fields which rarely interact with each other in today's academia.


  • Music


Fall 2020


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