Professor: Creativity, Improvisation, and Mathematical Music Theory

Guerino Mazzola earned his Ph.D. in Mathematics from Zurich University, where he also qualified as a professor in algebraic geometry with Peter Gabriel and in computational science with Peter Stucki.

Mazzola has profiled the European school of mathematical music theory since 1980 and has written six books on the subject, among them The Topos of Music, published by Birkhäuser, and proposed  by the American Mathematical Society as the mathematics book of the year 2005. His French book, La vérité du beau dans la musique, is about the philosophy of music and was published in 2007 by Delatour. Mazzola’s approach to music includes sophisticated mathematics of topos theory, but also classical tools from group theory to homotopy theory. His book Flow, Gesture, and Spaces in Free Jazz - Towards a Theory of Collaboration was published in 2009 by Springer and applies mathematical gesture theory to free jazz. His book Musical Performance was published in 2010 by Springer; it is the first comprehensive treatment of performance theory, including philosophical and empirical approaches, qualitative methods from musical ontology, and quantitative methods from differential geometry and their implementation in the performance software rubato. His book Musical Creativity was published in 2011 by Springer; it is co-authored with Joomi Park and Florian Thalmann and describes creativity in a tutorial for students, a theoretical part and a number of advanced case studies. His book Computational Counterpoint Worlds, co-authored with Octavio Agustin and Julien Junod, and his book Computational Musicology in Hindustani Music, co-authored with Soubhik Chakraborty et al.  are published in 2014 by Springer. His new book, The Topos of Music III: Gestures, is published in 2018 by Springer, and co-authored with René Guitart et al., it presents latest developments in musical gesture theory and its philosophical implications. It is a follow-up of The Topos of Music. Co-authored with PhD Students Maria Mannone and Yen Pang, a first introduction to Mathematical Music Theory: Cool Math for Hot Music, is published by Springer Fall 2016. Springer publishes the book Basic Music Technology in 2018. It was written with eight students as co-authors.

Educational Background & Specialties
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Educational Background

  • Ph.D.


  • classical symbolic thinking in music and performance theory
  • transformational theory using category theory
  • gestures in music
  • software for musical analysis, composition, and performance
  • free jazz