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About City

Ivan Penev

Music Department


PhD Title: Liszt's "Apres Une Lecture du Dante" - a Theoretical Study of its Formal Features and a Practical Interpretation of Selected Expressive Devices.

SupervisorsDr Shay Loya and Prof. Ian Pace

Research overview

My research is built upon two large musicological frameworks – theoretical and practical. The musical work in question is Franz Liszt’s “Apres une Lecture du Dante : Fantasia quasi Sonata”. As the title suggests, my thesis is directed towards a bipartite investigation of the piece, attempting first to establish and codify its theoretical formalistic nature, by inspecting its hybrid generic features and structural genesis; and secondly to contextualize these theoretical findings into our contemporary and highly dynamic performance practices. To ensure that my project would be an adequate and indispensable update towards the historically accumulated performative aesthetics of the work, I thus propose a practical methodology that centres upon a comparative analysis of notable recordings, which through an actual performance, juxtapose overt score-based textual expressive devices such as articulation, dynamics and tempo. For a conclusion, my dissertation will try to probe further beyond the visible textual expressivity, by uncovering and demonstrating my personal reading of the interpolated, behind-the-score meta-textual interpretivism, compositionally implied and artistically delivered through the categories of rubato, virtuosity and dramatism.

Research Interests

  • Interplay and Reciprocity between Theory and Practice in Romantic Piano Music
  • Piano Music of Liszt and Chopin with reference to cultural and philosophical trends such as Realism and Symbolism
  • Extroverted Dramatism and Introverted Sentimentalism in the respective artistic credos of Liszt and Chopin
  • Relationship between text, sound and image (literature, music and fine arts) with strong reference towards the Romantic Programaticism and the Wagnerian Ideology of the "All-inclusive" art-form
  • Early Impressionsim, especially focused upon the piano music of Maurice Ravel and Claude Debussy.


  • Masters Degree of Performance (Piano) at Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (2014)
  • Bachelor of Music (Hons) at Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (2012).

Presentations & Conference Papers

  • Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (April 2014) – Lecture- Recital as part of my Master’s Programme with topic – “Old and New in the Liszt’s B Minor Sonata”
  • Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (June 2012) – Dissertation project as part of my Bachelor’s Degree with topic – “Realism in Liszt’s and Individualism in Chopin’s Piano Music.


  • Currently Employed as a Piano Teacher at the “Windsor Piano School”
  • Self-Employed private teaching in Glasgow (2012-2017).