Academic Staff Directory

Simon Zagorski-Thomas

Professor Simon Zagorski-Thomas

Course Leader - MA Record Production
Academic school:
Job title:
Course Leader - MA Record Production
Professor of Music
PhD / DMus supervisor
Higher qualifications:

BA Economics and Artificial Intelligence (Sussex University), PhD Studio Based Composition (Goldsmiths, University of London)

Professional organisations:
Convenor of the 21st Century Music Practice Research Network
Chairman of the Association for the Study of the Art of Record Production (ASARP)
Arts & Humanities Research Council – Peer Review College
International Association for the Study of Popular Music (IASPM)
Music Research Consortium - UK
The Audio Engineering Society (AES)


Simon Zagorski-Thomas is Professor of Music at the London College of Music, University of West London, co-chair of the Association for the Study of the Art of Record Production and a Director of the Art of Record Production Conference. He is also founder and convenor of the 21st Century Music Practice Research Network. He worked for 25 years as a composer, sound engineer and producer and is, at present, conducting research into 21st century music practice and the musicology of record production.  In 2015 he was the Principle Investigator in the AHRC funded Classical Music Hyper-Production and Practice As Research project and in 2012 he was awarded a visiting fellowship at the University of Cambridge and was the Principle Investigator in the AHRC funded network on Performance in the Recording Studio. His book on The Art of Record Production, which he co-edited with Simon Frith, was published by Ashgate Press in 2012 and his monograph on the Musicology of Record Production for Cambridge University Press was published in 2014 and won the IASPM Book Prize in 2015.

Funded research projects

(2015) Principle Investigator on the AHRC Classical Music Hyper-Production project
(2012 - 2013) Principal Investigator on the AHRC Research Network into Performance in the Studio.
(2012) Visiting Research Fellow, University of Cambridge’s AHRC project on Contemporary Musical Performance as Creative Practice.


Research and scholarly output:


Forthcoming publications

Zagorski-Thomas, S & Henson, D. (Forthcoming 2018) Setting the agenda: the theory of popular music practice; Chapter in The Bloomsbury Handbook of Popular Music Education. Edited by Zack Moir, Bryan Powell and Gareth Dylan-Smith; New York: Bloomsbury Academic Press

Zagorski-Thomas, S. (Forthcoming 2018) Analysing the Product of Recorded Musical Activity; Chapter in Analyzing Popular Music; Edited by Kenneth Smith and Ciro Scotto; Oxford: Routledge Press

Zagorski-Thomas, S. (Forthcoming 2018) Timbre As Text: the cognitive roots of intertextuality. Chapter in The Pop Palimpsest: Intertextuality in Recorded Popular Music. Edited by Lori Burns and Serge Lacasse. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press

Zagorski-Thomas, S. (Forthcoming 2018) Directions in music by Miles Davis: using the ecological approach to perception and embodied cognition to analyse the creative use of recording technology in Bitches Brew. Technology and Culture.

Zagorski-Thomas, S. (Forthcoming 2018) The Spectromorphology Of Recorded Popular Music: the shaping of sonic cartoons through record production. In Fink, R, Latour O’Brien, M and Wallmark, Z. The Relentless Pursuit of Tone: Timbre in Popular Music. Oxford University Press

Book and book chapters

Zagorski-Thomas, S. (2016) Sonic Cartoons. In H. Schulze, & J. Papenburg, eds. Sound as Popular Culture. MIT Press.

Zagorski-Thomas, S. (2016) How Is Theoretical Research Meeting The Challenges of Pedagogy In The Field Of Record Production? In King, A. and Himonides eds, E. Music, Technology and Education: Critical Perspectives. Ashgate Press.

Zagorski-Thomas, S. (2015) An Analysis of Space, Gesture and Interaction in Kings of Leon’s 'Sex On Fire' (2008). In R. von Appen et al., eds. Twenty-First-Century Pop Music Analyses: Methods, Models, Debates. Ashgate Press.

Zagorski-Thomas, S. (2014) The Musicology of Record Production; Cambridge University Press. (winner of the 2015 IASPM Book Prize)

Zagorski-Thomas, S. & Frith, S. (eds.) (2012) The Art of Record Production: an introductory reader for a new academic field, Ashgate Press.

Zagorski-Thomas, S. (2010) Real and Unreal Performances. In Danielsen, A. (2010) Rhythm In The Age of Digital Reproduction, Ashgate Press.

Journal articles

Zagorski-Thomas, S & Bourbon, A. (2017) The ecological approach to mixing audio: agency, activity and environment in the process of audio staging. Journal on the Art of Record Production, 11.

Zagorski-Thomas, S & Capulet, E. (2017) Creating a rubato layer cake: performing and producing overdubs with expressive timing on a classical recording for solo piano. Journal on the Art of Record Production, 11.

Zagorski-Thomas, S (2016) The influence of recording technology and practice on popular music performance in the recording studio in Poland between 1960 and 1989. Polish Sociological Review, 2016 (196).

Zagorski-Thomas, S (2013) Guest editor of a special edition of Dancecult journal on ‘Production Technologies and Studio Practice’.

Zagorski-Thomas, S. (2012) Musical Meaning and the Musicology of Record Production, Beitraege zur Popularmusikforschung (Vol.38), Bielefeld.

Zagorski-Thomas, S. (2010) The Stadium In The Bedroom: functional staging, authenticity and the audience led aesthetic in record production, Popular Music Journal 29(2).

Zagorski-Thomas, S. (2008) The Musicology of Record Production, 20th Century Music 4(2).




Conference presentations and/or papers

Zagorski-Thomas, S. (2008) The Medium In The Message: Phonographic staging techniques that utilize the sonic characteristics of reproduction media. Peer-reviewed Proceedings of the Art of Record Production Conference, University of Massachusetts Lowell.

Zagorski-Thomas, S. (2007) Gesturing Producers and Scratching Musicians. Peer-reviewed Proceedings of the Art of Record Production Conference; Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia.

Recent guest lectures

University of Aalborg (Denmark)
Bogota School of Audio Engineering, 
University of Chicago
University of Copenhagen
University of Curitiba (Brazil)
Deutsch Pop (Berlin)
Drexel University (Philadelphia)
University of Edinburgh
University of Falun (Sweden)
Harvard University
Instituto Technico Metropolitano Medellin (Colombia)
Jacksonville University (Florida)
University of Los Andes (Colombia)
University of Massachusetts Lowell
University of Michigan Ann Arbor
Mid Tennessee State University
New York University
Pop Akademie (Mannheim)
University of Rio Di Janeiro
Royal Academy of Music
Royal College of Music (Stockholm)
Rowan University (New Jersey)
York University


Research degree supervision:
Current supervision
Student Role in team Thesis title
James Bell Principal supervisor The digital audio workstation as a mediator of the electronic music production process.
Paul Borg Principal supervisor The new Modular Instrument in Electronic-Music Mediation and Performance Practice.
Jose Cubides Gutierrez Second supervisor Development of Compositional Methods Based on Sound/Noise as a Public/Private expression.
Agata Kubiak Second supervisor Under what circumstances does performing new music encourage creativity in string players?
Yongju Lee Principal supervisor How can Actor-Network-Theory and Ecological Approach to Perception be used to analyse creative mixing practice?
Jo Lord Second supervisor 3D Audio for Music: Ecological perception, embodied cognition and applied technique.
Charley Mackley Second supervisor What impact are sound design technologies having within the live medium of theatre?
Christos Moralis Second supervisor Live Popular Electronic Music - ‘Performable Recordings’.
Tyrian Purple Principal supervisor In what ways have guitar players’ tools come to shape the playing style, compositional approach, and recording methodology of noise rock music from the 1970s to the present?
Susan Thomason Principal supervisor The Embodied Feminine and the Sensory Self.


Completed Research Degrees
Student Role in team Thesis title Date of award
Anthony Meynell Principal supervisor

How recording studios used technology to invoke the psychedelic experience: The difference in staging techniques in British and American recordings in the late 1960s.

July 2017
Liz Pipe Principal supervisor The role of gesture and non-verbal communication in popular music performance, and its application to curriculum and pedagogy. August 2018