stephen sneak

I am a classical pianist, toy pianist, and music theorist. I am currently working on my PhD in Music Theory at Harvard University as a Presidential Scholar of the GSAS. I also hold degrees from the Clare Hall at the University of Cambridge, CUNY Queens College, and Williams College.

My primary research interests are split between 17th-century keyboard music and contemporary popular music. On one hand, my work on the music of the 17th century deals primarily with historical meantone and well-temperaments, centering the expressive potential of keyboard tuning in historical treatises and modern historically informed performance. On the other hand, my research in popular music attempts to understand the role of music in an audiovisual culture of increasing digital media connectivity, particularly in anime, kpop, and children’s television. 

My performance interests rest on opposite ends of the spectrum; I have a strong inclination towards historical keyboards, new music, and their intersections. As a pianist, I have appeared in concert with the Berkshire Symphony, the Los Angeles Bach Festival Orchestra and the San Diego Symphony. My past teachers include Ms. Doris Stevenson, Dr. Judy Huang, and Ms. Anna Stal.

My Chinese name, 天游 (“rambling sky”), was given to me by my grandfather. It refers to a Shaanxi style of improvisatory folk singing, 信天游, first developed by porters and farmers as a means to alleviate the stresses and monotony of manual labor. I also go by the moniker, Tangerine, bestowed to me by a well-meaning elementary school teacher who couldn’t pronounce (or couldn’t be bothered to learn to pronounce) Tian-You.

I am always open to collaboration—on or offline. Please don’t hesitate to contact me or download my CV.