Dr. Joseph Siu

Joseph Chi-Sing Siu joined the Music Department at UMBC in Fall 2017 as Lecturer in Music Theory and Academic Advising. He currently also serves as Music Department’s Associate Department Chair, Undergraduate Program Director, and Music Theory Area Coordinator. Outside of the Music Department, Joseph serves as the faculty mentor for students in the Individualized Study Program working on topics related to music cognition and perception.

Joseph’s research interests include phrase rhythm and musical form, Chinese choral music, music cognition and perception, and music theory pedagogy. Joseph is the recipient of the Faculty Pedagogy Fellowship (2021–2023) from UMBC’s Center for Innovation, Research, and Creativity in the Arts (CIRCA). Joseph has presented his music theoretical works at the meetings of the Society for Music Theory (2020), European Music Analysis Conference (2017, 2014), the Canadian University Music Society (2017, 2016, 2014), the West Coast Conference of Music Theory and Analysis (2017), the South Central Society for Music Theory (2017, 2014), the Music Theory Society of New York State (2016), Music Theory Midwest (2016), and the Rocky Mountain Society for Music Theory (2014). Joseph was the recipient of the SOCAN Foundation/George Proctor Prize at the 2017 conference of the Canadian University Music Society and also the recipient of the Best Student Paper Award at the 2014 conference of the South Central Society for Music Theory. Joseph was elected to join the Executive Board of the Music Theory Society Mid-Atlantic (MTSMA) in 2018 and he is currently serving as MTSMA’s Treasurer. In addition, he also served as the Program Committee Chair for MTSMA’s 2021 annual conference and as the Local Arrangement Chair for MTSMA’s 2019 annual conference at UMBC.

As an interdisciplinary researcher, Joseph has collaborated with faculty and students from the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, the Department of Biomedical Engineering, and the Department of Linguistics at the University of Rochester on projects funded by the UR Provost’s Multidisciplinary Award (2012–2013) and other projects. In summer 2016, Joseph was awarded an all-inclusive travel award sponsored by the National Science Foundation to present at the International Conference on Mobile Brain-Body Imaging and the Neuroscience of Art, Innovation, and Creativity in Cancun, Mexico. In the same summer, Joseph was selected as a Music Fellow by the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University to participate and to give a public TED-style talk at the 3rd International “Exploring the Mind through Music” Conference. In addition, Joseph has also presented his music cognition research at the Future Directions of Music Cognition International Conference (2021), Society for Music Perception and Cognition (2015, 2013), the Center for Research on Brain, Language and Music (2013), the New England Conference of Music Theorists (2013), and the Northeast Music Cognition Group (2012). Joseph served as the manager for the Eastman Music Cognition Lab from 2012–2014. His two co-authored articles, “In Their Own Words: Analyzing the Extents and Origins of Absolute Pitch” was published by the journal Psychology of Music in March 2019, and “Perspectives on Art-Science Collaborations” was published by the SciArt Magazine in June 2017. From 2020–2022, Joseph’s research in music cognition was funded by UMBC CAHSS Dean’s Research Award.

Before coming to UMBC, Joseph taught graduate and undergraduate courses in music theory at the Eastman School of Music as a Teaching Assistant (2011–2016) and as a Summer Session Faculty (2016–2017). In 2015, to recognize Joseph’s outstanding teaching, the Eastman School of Music awarded him the Teaching Assistant Prize for Excellence in Teaching. Prior to Eastman, Joseph taught at the International Christian Quality Music Secondary and Primary School in his hometown Hong Kong as a music and science teacher from 2009–2011.

Joseph holds a Ph.D. in Music Theory from the Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester, and his graduate study was supported by the Doctoral Fellowship Award from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. Joseph earned his B.Mus. in Piano Performance with distinction from the University of Western Ontario, where he was awarded the UWO Gold Medal upon graduation.



Associate Department Chair
Undergraduate Program Director
PAHB 259


Music Theory
Music Cognition and Perception
Keyboard Skills
Academic Advising


Ph.D. Music Theory, Eastman School of Music, University of Rochester (2020)
M.A. Music Theory, Eastman School of Music, University of Rochester (2015)
B.Mus. Piano Performance, University of Western Ontario (2009)