Lauri Suurpää

Professor, SibA/Department of Composition and Music Theory


Lauri Suurpää is Professor of Music Theory. His main research interest is analysis of tonal music. In his publications he has often combined Schenkerian analysis with other approaches, such as programmatic aspects, narrativity, form, musico-poetic associations in vocal music, eighteenth-century rhetoric, and Romantic aesthetics. He has given guest lectures in universities both in North America and in Europe, as well as read papers in numerous scholarly conferences. He is currently a member of the editorial board in four international scholarly journals (Eighteenth-Century Music, Journal of Schenkerian Studies, Music Theory and Analysis, and Music Theory Spectrum) and a member of the Editorial Committee of the Jean Sibelius Works, the critical edition of Sibelius’s complete works.


Lauri Suurpää, supervision

Doctoral Dissertations

  • Olli Väisälä (2004)
  • Timo Virtanen (2005)
  • Lotta Ilomäki (2011)
  • Sakari Ylivuori (2013)
  • Kai Lindberg (2014)
  • Anna Pulkkis (2014)
  • Tuija Wicklund (2014)
  • Cecilia Oinas (2017)

Written Theses of an Artistic Doctor of Music Degree

  • Jyrki Linjama (2003)
  • Matthew Whittall (2013)
  • Tapio Tuomela (2014)
  • Ilpo Laspas (2015)

Master’s Theses

  • Numerous theses of Master of Music degrees since 1990s.

Lauri Suurpää, scholarly publications (a selection)





  • Music and Drama in Six Beethoven Overtures: Interaction between Programmatic Tensions and Tonal Structure (Helsinki: Sibelius Academy, 1997; doctoral dissertation).
  • Death in Winterreise: Musico-Poetic Associations in Schubert’s Song Cycle (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2014).
  • Haydn in the Concert Hall and in the Chamber: Public and Private Modes of Musical Discourse in the London Symphonies and Late String Quartets (in progress).




Peer reviewed in journals


  • “Schumann, Heine, and Romantic Irony: Music and Poems in the First Five Songs of Dichterliebe.” Intégral 10 (1996): 93–123.
  • “Continuous Exposition and Tonal Structure in Three Late Haydn Works.” Music Theory Spectrum 21/2 (1999): 174–99.
  •  “Programmatic Aspects in the Second Sonata of Haydn’s Seven Last Words.” Theory and Practice 24 (1999): 29–55.
  • “The Path from Tonic to Dominant in the Second Movement of Schubert’s String Quintet and in Chopin’s Fourth Ballade.” Journal of Music Theory 44/2 (2000): 451–85.
  • “Structure and Rhetoric in the Second Movement of Mozart’s Piano Concerto K. 488.” Theoria 12 (2005): 93–124.
  • “The Undivided Ursatz and the Omission of the Tonic Stufe at the Beginning of the Recapitulation.” Journal of Schenkerian Studies 1 (2005): 66–91.
  • “The First-Movement Exposition of Mozart’s ‘Prague’ Symphony: Cadences, Form, and Voice-Leading Structure.” Dutch Journal of Music Theory 11/3 (2006): 164–77.
  •  “Form, Structure, and Musical Drama in Two Mozart Expositions.” Journal of Music Theory 50/2 (2006): 181–210.
  • “L’arrivo alla tonica in due Preludi e due Fughe dal ‘Clavicembalo ben temperato’ di Bach.” (“Arrival of the Closing Tonic in Two Preludes and Two Fugues from Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier, Book I.” Italian translation by Elisabetta Piras.) Rivista di Analisi e Teoria Musicale 14/1 (2008): 23–38.
  • “Suspense and Clarification: Interrelations between Expression and Structure in the First Movements of Joseph Haydn’s Piano Sonatas Hob. XVI/44 and Hob. XVI/20.” Intégral 23 (2009): 163–216.
  •  “Non-Congruent Temporal Functions in Chopin’s Nocturne, Op. 62, No. 2.” Dutch Journal of Music Theory 16/1 (2011): 64–71.
  • “The Fourth Piece of Schumann’s Kreisleriana, Op. 16, as a Musical Fragment: Discontinuity and Unity Intertwined.” Rivista di Analisi e Teoria Musicale 19/1 (2013): 7–24.
  • “Deferral of a Cadentially Confirmed Tonic and Play with Changing Conventions in the First Movement of Haydn’s F#-minor Piano Trio (Hob. XVI:26).” Music Theory Spectrum 36/2 (2014): 228–46.
  • “Duty or Love? Emotional and Structural Conflicts in the Opening Scenes of Mozart’s Idomeneo.” Music Theory and Analysis 2/1 (2015): 36–69




Peer-reviewed in anthologies



  • “Loss of Love in Two Sibelius Songs.” In Sibelius Forum II, ed. Matti Huttunen, Kari Kilpeläinen, and Veijo Murtomäki (Helsinki: Sibelius Academy, 2003), 278–86.
  • “Non-Tonic Openings in Three Beethoven Introductions.” In Essays from the Third International Schenker Symposium, ed. Allen Cadwallader (Hildesheim: Olms, 2006), 51–66.
  • “Deception, Reality, and Changes of Perspective in Two Songs from Histoires naturelles.” In Unmasking Ravel: New Perspectives on the Music, ed. Peter Kaminsky (Rochester: University of Rochester Press, 2011), 245–71.
  • “Initiating, Medial, or Closing: Tensions between Boundaries of Form, Prolonged Harmonies, and Key Areas in the First Movement of Haydn’s Symphony, No. 39.” In Essays from the Fourth International Schenker Symposium, Volume 2, ed. L. Poundie Burstein, Lynne Rogers, and Karen M. Bottge (Hildesheim: Georg Olms Verlag, 2013), 137–58.
  • “March and Pastoral in the Slow Movement of Mendelssohn’s Italian Symphony: Longing, Frustration and Confirmation.” In Proceedings of the International Conference on Musical Semiotics. In Memory of Raymond Monelle, ed. Nearchos Panos, Vangelis Lympouridis, George Athanasopoulos, and Peter Nelson (Edinburgh: IPMDS – International Project on Music and Dance Semiotics, 2013), pp. 99–110.
  • “Indistinct Formal Functions and Conflicting Temporal Processes in the Second Movement of Brahms’s Third Symphony.” In Bach to Brahms: Essays on Design and Structure, ed. David Beach and Yosef Goldenberg (Rochester: University of Rochester Press, 2015), 225–38.
  • “Longing for the Unattainable: The Second Movement of the ‘Great’ C Major Symphony.” In Schubert’s Late Music in History and Theory, ed. Lorraine Byrne Bodley and Julian Horton (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016), 219–40
  • “Endings without Resolution: The Slow Movement and Finale of Schumann’s Second Symphony.” In Explorations in Schenkerian Analysis, ed. David Beach and Su Yin Mak (Rochester: University of Rochester Press, 2016), 177–97.





—“Review of Pieter Bergé et al (ed.), Beethoven’s Tempest Sonata: Perspectives of Analysis and Performance.” Dutch Journal of Music Theory 16/2 (2011): 151–54.

  • “Review of Heather Platt and Peter H. Smith (eds.), Expressive Intersections in Brahms: Essays in Analysis and Meaning.” Music Theory Online 20/3 (2014).
  • “Review of Alison Hood, Interpreting Chopin: Analysis and Performance.” Nineteenth-Century Music Review 13/2 (2016): 327–35.