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 newest monograph, Becoming Noise Music, was published by Bloomsbury in 2023. Stephen co-authored a multi-generic history of twentieth century music for Cambridge University Press (2022, with Tom Perchard, Holly Rogers and Tim Rutherford-Johnson).
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.
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. 2016. Sounds of the Underground: A Cultural, Political and Aesthetic Mapping of Underground and Fringe Music. Michigan: University of Michigan Press. ISBN 9780472119752
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. 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. 2017. The X Factor and Reality Television: Beyond Good and Evil. Popular Music, 36(1), pp. 6-20. ISSN 0261-1430
Graham, Stephen. 2015. Boogie Nights: Joe Cutler, Danserye: Michael Wolters, Kathrine and Peter Play the Recorder: Michael Wolters (CD Review). Tempo, 69(272), pp. 80-83. ISSN 0040-2982
Graham, Stephen. 2015. Frank Zappa and the And. Edited by Paul Carr (Book Review). Popular Music, 34(1), pp. 147-150. ISSN 0261-1430
Graham, Stephen. 2014. Justin Timberlake’s Two-Part Complementary Forms: Groove, Extension, and Maturity in Twenty-First-Century Popular Music. American Music, 32(4), pp. 448-474. ISSN 0734-4392
Graham, Stephen. 2013. 'Popular Music and Television in Britain' Ian Inglis (ed.). (Book Review). Music, Sound, and the Moving Image, 7(1), pp. 83-88. ISSN 1753-0768
Graham, Stephen. 2011. Beyond the Postmodern: Music and Theory at the Start of History. The Musicology Review(7),
Graham, Stephen. 2011. David Toop, Sinister Resonance: The Mediumship of the Listener (2010) (Book Review). Journal of the Society for Musicology in Ireland(6), pp. 93-100.
Graham, Stephen. 2011. Ronald Schleifer, Modernism and Popular Music (Cambridge: 2011) (Book Review). Popular Music, 32(3),
Graham, Stephen. 2010. (Un)Popular Avant-Gardes: Underground Popular Music and the Avant-Garde. Perspectives of New Music, 48(2), pp. 5-20. ISSN 0031-6016
Graham, Stephen. 2009. August Halm, A Critical and Creative Life in Music (University of Rochester Press, 2009) (Book Review). The Musicology Review(6),
Graham, Stephen. 2012. Notes from the underground: a cultural, political, and aesthetic mapping of underground music. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London
Further profile content
Becoming Noise Music
A book telling the story of noise music over the last fifty years through its music and musicians
Twentieth-Century Music in the West
A polygeneric textbook for CUP on the history of twentieth-century music
Sounds of the Underground
A cultural, political and aesthetic mapping of underground and fringe music
‘Summer’s Gone: Late Style and Popular Music’
An article on late style in popular music for the Journal of the Royal Musical Association
‘From Microphone to the Wire: Cultural change in 1970s and 1980s music writing’.
An article on music writing in the 1970s and cultural change for Twentieth-Century Music
Ongoing projects include a wide-ranging and collaborative research project on music since 1970 (alongside Dr Roddy Hawkins at the University of Manchester) and a project on fantasy and the musical imagination.
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
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
Mapping the Avant-Garde in British Popular Music: Limits, Boundaries, Erasure Panel
University of Manchester Panel
2022: EDIMS Parenting and Caring Working Group’s workshop at the RMA/BFE Annual Students' Conference
‘Introduction’ at Beyond the Avant-Garde? Rethinking the Vanguard in British Music since 1970
Conference at Goldsmiths
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