Edwin Li is Assistant Professor of Musicology at The Chinese University of Hong Kong. His scholarly work, often straddling disciplinary boundaries, focuses on intercultural philosophies of music, semiotics, aesthetics, affect, Cantonese popular music, and Gustav Mahler.
Li's current book project, tentatively titled Border Listening: A Global Hermeneutics of Gustav Mahler and His Music, uses Mahler and his music as a case study to explore techniques of performing a global hermeneutics of Western art music from the perspective of a Hongkonger. More broadly, the book aims to destabilize the hermeneutic categories, methodologies, and locales in analyses of Western art music through such topics as ontology, translation, and affect. Other ongoing research include a reconstruction of Li Tsing-chu's music-theoretical thoughts, aesthetic categories in Cantopop, a philosophical rumination on the video game Line Rider, and theories of pitch space and timbre in contemporary Chinese compositions.
In 2021, Li received the Adam Krims Award from the Society for Music Theory's Popular Music Interest Group for his article, "Cantopop and Speech-Melody Complex," published in Music Theory Online in the same year. His peer-reviewed writings on concepts of nature in nineteenth-century music theories and on an integrationist perspective on musical topic and affect, can be found in Ecomusicology Review and in an edited volume published by the Semiotic Society of America respectively. He is currently working with Zheng Yan on a Chinese translation of Suzannah Clark's Analyzing Schubert (Cambridge 2011), under contract with the Shanghai People's Publishing House.
Li was a Jockey Club Scholar at The University of Hong Kong, where he obtained his B.A. in Music with First Class Honors, and a Pembroke-King's Scholar at the University of Cambridge. He earned his Ph.D. in Music Theory from Harvard University, where he received numerous times the Certificate of Distinction in Teaching from the Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning. Prior to joining CUHK Music, he taught at Hong Kong Baptist University.
"Cantopop and Speech-Melody Complex." Music Theory Online 27, no. 1 (2021).
"Integrationism and Music Theory's Resistance." In Semiotics 2019: New Frontiers in Semiotics, ed. Geoffrey Ross Owens and Donna West (Charlottesville, VA: Philosophy Documentation Center, 2020): 101–114.
"Eco-Music Theory." Ecomusicology Review 7 (2019).