Professor Yo Tomita
Professor of Musicology on leave (Sem I, 12/13).
Tel: +44 28 9097 5206
Office: Music Building
Address: School of Creative Arts, Music Building, Queen's University Belfast,
Director of Education (Sem II 09/10 – Sem II 11/12)
Responsibility for Keyboard Instruments
Teaching in musicology and performance studies at all levels
Achievements and Distinctions
Yo Tomita (b.1961) is a scholar known internationally for his work on the manuscript sources of the works of Johann Sebastian Bach (esp. the Well-Tempered Clavier II), the Bach Bibliography and musicological font, Bach.
He graduated from the Musashino Academia Musicae in Tokyo specializing in piano and completed an MMus in performance at Leeds University and thereafter PhD in musicology. He initially joined the staff at Queen's in March 1995 as Research Fellow. He was reappointed as Lecturer in 2000, promoted to Reader in 2001 and to Professor in 2007.
Since 2000, he has served as member of the organising committee of the Biennial International Conference on Baroque Music, and chaired the 14th Conference in July 2010 held at Queen's. In November 2007, he also organised the international symposium ‘Understanding Bach’s B-minor Mass’ at Queens. From 2005 to 2009, he served the editorial board of the Journal of Musicological Research. From 2006 to 2009 he became the trustee of the Bach Network UK, and from 2010 became the members of both Advisory Council and the editorial team of its journal, Understanding Bach. In September 2011 he was appointed Senior Fellow at Bach-Archiv Leipzig. In autumn 2012, he was invited by the University of Louisville, Kentucky, USA, to become the third Gerhard Herz Visiting Bach Professor.
Bach Studies (in particular the Well-Tempered Clavier II), manuscript studies, the pedagogical aspects of piano education, text-critical analysis using Artificial Intelligence techniques, and the development of computer software and tools for musicology.
The WTC II is widely regarded as one of the most important works in western music. Many composers of later generations were influenced by this work. The accounts of Beethoven and Mozart are well-documented; both studied this work from a manuscript copy, as it was in this form that it was circulated before its publication at the beginning of the 19th century. Despite its exceptional popularity, we are still unable to establish fully the final text intended by the composer, let alone the texts that were available to the pupils of subsequent generations. This makes it very difficult to conduct an accurate assessment of its influence it had on the musicians.
Having published the critical edition of the work from G. Henle (April 2007), Professor Tomita is currently working on the following projects:
Arts and Humanities Research Board (2000-2001): £770 for "Recent rediscovery of sources of J S Bach’s canons and Credo from the B-Minor Mass and their significance and roles in the musical life in the late eighteenth century England"
Arts and Humanities Research Council (2002-2003): £5000 for "The sources of the Well-Tempered Clavier, Book II"
Arts and Humanities Research Council (2006-2008): £15,957 for "Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier, Book II -- Composition, Revision and Reception"
A collaborative project "Nineteenth-Century Bach Reception" Study Group in Bach Network UK to compile a list of resources consisting of manuscript copies, printed editions, concert programmes, advertisements and reviews that provide a new foundation for further research. The group will also provide opportunities to discuss their individual projects both online and at BNUK meetings.
A large-scale project with Professor Robin Leaver and Nobuaki Ebata on “Bach and the Chorales – Backgrouind and Contexts”. Its aim is to establish the chorale repertories that Bach encountered at various stages of his life, repertories within which he made his specific choices. Through a detailed study of these repertories new perspectives on his understanding and use of the Lutheran chorale will be identified.
“Bach Printed Music Database”, a new online database project, as an extension to the Bach Bibliography. This new database aims to catalogue all the printed editions and their reviews of Bach’s works in the form that can be used for various analyses.
Current Research Students
Elise Crean, Ian Mills, Tanja Kovacevic, Jennifer Kleeman Dieffenbach, Adam Dieffenbach, Susan McCormick, Masahiro Niitsuma