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Dr Owen Burton
Associate Lecturer



After studying at Bangor University, Owen Burton came to York in 2016 to study for a PhD, working with Professor Tim Howell. Having graduated with his doctorate in 2021, Owen now teaches in the areas of Musicology and Music Education. His teaching covers critical musicology, music and the environment, Nordic music, nineteenth-century genres – especially the Tone Poem – and music pedagogy. Most recently, he has joined part of the teaching team working on the MA in Music Education at York.

Owen’s PhD thesis on the Finnish composer Einojuhani Rautavaara is entitled ‘Upholding a Modernist Mentality: Experimentalism and Neotonality in the Symphonies of Einojuhani Rautavaara’ and is the first analytical investigation into this composer’s full symphonic cycle. His research on Rautavaara’s most famous piece, Cantus Arcticus, has been accepted for publication in the journal Twentieth Century Music and he is also working on a monograph on Rautavaara’s symphonies, for which he is supported by a Postdoctoral Research Fellowship through the Humanities Research Centre at York.

Owen’s wider projects include conducting the Bangor University Community Orchestra, writing performance notes for the Trinity College piano syllabus, and programme notes for the Lake District Summer Music Festival, Ensemble Cymru, and York Concerts. He also leads conducting workshops in primary schools and has given public lectures on ‘Music and Nature’ as part of the Leeds International Piano Competition. He is also an active piano, guitar and music theory teacher.



Owen's main research interests concern:

  • The music of Einojuhani Rautavaara
  • 20th/21st century Nordic music
  • Tonality in the late-20th century
  • Music theory in education
  • Music and the natural environment


Selected publications

Burton, Owen. (2022). Rautavaara's Cantus Arcticus: National Exoticism or International Modernism? Twentieth-Century Music, 19(2), 251-282.



  • Module coordinator: ‘Shaping Imagery: The Tone Poem’
  • Module coordinator (alongside Dr Charlotte Armstrong): Critical Thinking and Listening
  • ‘Listen to This!’ (composers include Grace Williams, Carl Nielsen and Einojuhani Rautavaara)


  • Tutor: MA Musicology
  • Tutor: MA Music Education

Contact details

Dr Owen Burton
Associate Lecturer
School of Arts and Creative Technologies
University of York
YO10 5DD