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Marianna Cortesi
Associate Lecturer in Music Education



Marianna is an Italian pianist, researcher and educator based in York. Between 2013 and 2017 Marianna studied at the Conservatorio di Musica “G. B. Martini” in Bologna, Italy, where she gained a BA(Hons) degree in Piano performance. In 2017 Marianna moved to York where she completed the MA in Music Education: Instrumental and Vocal Teaching at the University of York, and subsequently furthered her studies with a PhD under the supervision of Dr Liz Haddon. The title of her PhD thesis is: Constructions and Perceptions of Competition in a UK Higher Music Education Institution. 

Marianna is currently part of a collaborative research project funded by Mentally Fit York with three other researchers (Dr Liz Haddon, Dr Andrea Schiavio, Federico Pendenza) aiming to understand how engagement in the social and creative opportunities provided by the Humanities Research Centre (HRC) at the University of York develops awareness of mental health needs and support among Arts and Humanities staff and students. From September 2023 she joins ACT as Associate Lecturer for the MA Music Education: Instrumental and Vocal Teaching, for which she has worked as a Graduate Teaching Assistant for the past four years.

Alongside her research activities, Marianna has been performing and teaching piano since 2015. She gained considerable experience of performing in Northern Italy, particularly in Bologna and has been actively performing in York since 2017, both as a soloist and in ensemble settings. In 2020 she performed Mozart’s Piano Concerto K.503 with the University of York Chamber Orchestra and in recent years she has undertaken solo and ensemble lunchtime concerts in York and collaborated with the University of York Symphony Orchestra on several occasions. Upcoming performance includes a selection of contemporary works for the Late Music Concert Series with London-based baritone Stuart O’Hara. As a piano teacher, Marianna has regularly taught students of various ages (6-62) and levels, both privately and as an instrumental teacher at the Music Department, University of York. She has experience of preparing students for ABRSM performance examinations from Grade 3 to Grade 8, with a 100% pass rate for her students.

While her educational and professional background in strongly rooted in music, Marianna has enjoyed undertaking other studies; in 2014 she gained a BA in History at the “Alma Mater” University in Bologna. In her free time, she enjoys hiking with her partner and their friends, travelling, reading novels and newspapers, going to the theatre, and playing chess. 



MA Music Education: Instrumental and Vocal Teaching


Selected publications

(Forthcoming, 2025). Two collaborative chapters: 1) ‘Considering the effects of the instrumental/vocal music teachers’ personality on students’; 2) ‘Hurdles not brick walls: Supporting students (schools and parents) overcome physical and mental barriers to practice’, in Haddon, E. (Ed.) Instrumental Music Education. Bloomsbury.

External activities

Invited talks and conferences

‘Wellbeing activities and mental health awareness: Processes, perceptions and potential’, presented at ARTFULNESS conference – Opatija (Croatia), 23rd and 24th September 2023. 

‘Wellbeing activities and mental health awareness: Processes, perceptions and potential’, presented in collaboration with Dr Liz Haddon and Federico Pendenza at the Arts and Humanities Mental Health Research Showcase – University of York, 21st June 2023. 

‘Relationship between perceptions of competition and mental health among postgraduate research students in one UK music department’ – presented at the International Conference on the Mental Health & Wellbeing of Postgraduate Researchers, Brighton, 18th May 2021. 

‘Perceptions of competition among higher education music students and relationship with mental health’ presented at the BFE-RMA Research Students’ Conference 2020 – Open University, 9th January 2020. 

‘The impact of competition on musicians’ mental health’ presented at the Music, Wellbeing and Mental Health conference – Hereford College of Arts, 11th May 2019. 

‘The impact of competition on musicians’ mental health: A comparison with sport, effective coping strategies and educational responsibilities’ presented at SEMPRE Graduate Conference – University of Cambridge, 25th March 2019.

Contact details

Marianna Cortesi
School of Arts and Creative Technologies
University of York
YO10 5GB

Tel: +44 (0)1904 32 8231