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School of History

Dr Percy Leung




Percy Leung is a cultural and music historian of modern Europe. He holds degrees from St Andrews (PhD), Cambridge (MPhil) and Durham (BA) Universities, and he is a fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society and an associate fellow of the Royal Historical Society.

Percy's doctoral thesis offers a comparative study of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra and the London Symphony Orchestra during the First World War, examining how their music-making and their performances were affected between 1914 and 1918, how they attempted to support their countries and societies throughout the conflict, as well as how the groups of people associated with them – namely soloists, conductors, orchestral players, critics and concertgoers – contributed to, and also reflected, the identity of classical music in late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Germany and Britain. These two distinguished and admired musical institutions are also used as prisms to investigate two contrasting cultural configurations, specifically with regard to issues such as nationalism, patriotism and propaganda.

Percy is currently Lecturer in Modern Western/Central European History at Liverpool John Moores University and Teaching Associate at Queen Mary, University of London; he also lectures and tutors at the University of Oxford.


Research Interests:

Twentieth-Century Germany and Britain
Interrelations between music and politics
Music and cultural diplomacy
Musical policies in twentieth-century authoritarian regimes


Book Reviews

‘Review of Abby Anderton, Rubble Music: Occupying the Ruins of Postwar Berlin, 1945– 1950 (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2019), Music & Letters, 320-322.
‘Review of Melissa D. Burrage, The Karl Muck Scandal: Classical Music and Xenophobia in World War I America (Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press, 2019), Music & Letters, 104/1 (2023), 151-152.
‘Review of Klaus Nathaus and Martin Rempe (eds.), Musicking in Twentieth-Century Europe: A Handbook (Berlin and Boston: De Gruyter, 2021), Connections: A Journal for Historians and Area Specialists (written in German)

‘Review of Jonathan O. Wipplinger, The Jazz Republic: Music, Race, and American Culture in Weimar Germany (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2017)’, German Studies Review, 42/3 (2019), 617-619.
‘Review of Joseph E. Morgan and Gregory N. Reish (eds.), Tyranny and Music (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2018)’, Music & Letters, 100/1 (2019), 174-177.

Other Publications

‘Symphonic Beneficence - The London Symphony Orchestra’s Charity Concerts During WWI’, Oxford Musician (2023).
‘The Berlin Philharmonic in the First World War’, Berliner Philharmoniker (2022).

Public Engagement

Culture Columnist, CUP Magazine Hong Kong (2018-Present).

Guest Speaker at the Launch Event of the London Festival of Baroque Music at St John's Smith Square ('Baroque Music in Spain, c.1570 to 1750') (2023).


Curator of the Exhibition 'Southbank Sinfonia 20th Birthday Concert' (2022).

Guest Speaker on ‘Mentioned in Dispatches’, Western Front Association Podcast (episode: ‘The Berlin Philharmonic & London Symphony Orchestras in WW1’) (2019).

Researcher and Programme Consultant for BBC Radio 3 Sunday Feature, 'The Ruhleben Legacy' (2018).

Guest Expert on ‘Summit’, Radio Television Hong Kong (episode: ‘In Defense of History’) (2017).

Percy has published in English, German and Chinese, and he also regularly contributes programme notes for symphony orchestras. 

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