Dr Stephen Graham

Staff details

Dr Stephen Graham


Head of the School of Arts and Humanities, Senior Lecturer in Music




s.graham (@gold.ac.uk)

Stephen's research theoretically analyses a wide range of current music, from underground to popular and avant-garde.

Stephen studied at University College Dublin (BMus) and King’s College London (MMus) before coming to Goldsmiths in 2008 to do a PhD on ‘underground’ music. After completing the PhD in 2012 and joining the staff of the Music Department, Stephen expanded and developed the research into a book; Sounds of the Underground was published by University of Michigan Press in May 2016.

Stephen's Becoming Noise Music was published by Bloomsbury in 2023. Stephen co-authored a multi-generic history of 20thC music for CUP (2022, with Tom Perchard, Holly Rogers and Tim Rutherford-Johnson). Stephen and Roddy Hawkins' The Work of New Music is under contract with CUP.

Stephen wrote chapters on popular modernism (Routledge, 2018), popular music biography and life writing (Oxford, forthcoming) and fringe music writing (Routledge, 2023). His article on late style and popular music appeared in the JRMA in 2021, and a piece on 1970s fringe music writing in Twentieth Century Music in 2019.

Research interests

Twentieth and twenty-first century music, including underground, experimental, popular, and art musics; music and cultural theory/philosophy; music and politics; music analysis; music journalism.

Publications and research outputs


Graham, Stephen. 2023. Becoming Noise Music: Style, Aesthetics, History. London: Bloomsbury Academic. ISBN 9781501378669

Perchard, Tom; Graham, Stephen; Rutherford-Johnson, Tim and Rogers, Holly. 2022. Twentieth-Century Music in the West. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9781108481984

Graham, Stephen. 2016. Sounds of the Underground: A Cultural, Political and Aesthetic Mapping of Underground and Fringe Music. Michigan: University of Michigan Press. ISBN 9780472119752

Book Section

Graham, Stephen. 2023. Familiarity Breeds Consent? Distance and Dependence in Fringe Music Writing. In: Ian Pace and Christopher Wiley, eds. Writing on Contemporary Musicians: Promotion, Advocacy, Disinterest, Censure. Abingdon: Routledge.

Graham, Stephen. 2018. Modernism for and of the Masses? On Popular Modernisms. In: Björn Heile and Charles Wilson, eds. The Routledge Research Companion to Modernism in Music. Abingdon: Routledge, pp. 239-257. ISBN 9781472470409

Graham, Stephen. 2015. Historical Documents of the Irish Avant-Garde. In: Jennifer Walshe, ed. Historical Documents of the Irish Avant-Garde. Aisteach Foundation.


Graham, Stephen. 2022. Ulyssess Journey - In Context. Contemporary Music Centre, Dublin,

Graham, Stephen. 2021. Summer’s Gone: Late Style and Popular Music. Journal of the Royal Musical Association, 146(2), pp. 315-333. ISSN 0269-0403

Graham, Stephen. 2019. From Microphone to the Wire: Cultural change in 1970s and 1980s music writing. Twentieth-Century Music, 16(3), pp. 531-555. ISSN 1478-5722


Graham, Stephen. 2012. Notes from the underground: a cultural, political, and aesthetic mapping of underground music. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London

Professional projects

Ongoing projects include a wide-ranging and collaborative research project on music since 1970 (alongside Dr Roddy Hawkins at the University of Manchester).

Stephen runs the Fringe and Underground Music Group at Goldsmiths. He also engages in a wide range of knowledge exchange and journalism, from appearing in a Channel Five documentary on Abba to being interviewed by papers such as Metro and the Irish Times to hosting a musicology podcast to writing on contemporary music in various venues and, finally, to consulting on changes to the Music Theory curriculum for the ABRSM.

Stephen is Head of the School of Arts and Humanities. He served as Co-Head of the Music Department from 2018 to 2021.

Conferences and talks

2023: ‘Marking, Crossing and Blurring Boundaries in (Experimental) Music History’
University of Manchester Research Seminar

2023: Royal Musical Association Annual Conference, Nottingham University
Becoming Noise Music paper

2023: Becoming Noise Music Launch
Book Launch at Goldsmiths

2023: Music Education Council Seminar: Higher Education and excellence
What do we mean by excellence? How do we value creativity in the same space as virtuosity? Panel of experts from across the Music sector

2022: EDIMS Parenting and Caring Working Group’s workshop at the RMA/BFE Annual Students' Conference

2021: ‘Introduction’ at Beyond the Avant-Garde? Rethinking the Vanguard in British Music since 1970
Conference at Goldsmiths

2022: Ulysses Journey: Pre-Concert Talk
I hosted a pre-concert talk as part of the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival's presentation of various commissioned works from the Irish Contemporary Music Centre