Cristine MacKie, pianist and musicologist taught piano performance;  coached chamber groups at Royal Holloway, University of London for thirty years; designed courses at Morley College, London to prepare latecomers- in all aspects of music for the world of performance; given recitals and broadcast on both radio and television in the UK, Austria and beyond, as well as giving concerts and master classes throughout the West Indies sponsored by the British Council.

She has given illustrated lectures in 2009 at the Royal College of Music, and the ‘Year of the Piano’ lecture series hosted by Royal Holloway, University of London in association with Steinway & Sons, UK Ltd. She founded also the Association ‘L’Art du Piano’ in Southwest France, and in 2013 founded and directs the London International Piano Symposium, which is hosted every two to three years at the Royal College of Music, and the Royal Academy of Music; its mission being to expand the frontiers of knowledge by encouraging an interdisciplinary approach to piano performance at the interface between scientific research, and skilled artistry.

Over-Arching Objective

However, Cristine’s over-arching objective is to be found in her life-long work, which advocates an ‘embodied’ approach to piano teaching and performing.  This is acknowledged by the magazine the Music Teacher (April 2014) who describes Cristine as the UK’s ‘leading advocate of the mind/ body approach’.  Her invaluable contribution on this neglected issue of ‘embodiment’ is unprecedented, and is reflected in burgeoning research, establishing of organizations, and publishing of books and academic papers all of which have laid the foundation for a clearer understanding of what piano performance and its practice thereof, entails. As a result, two books have been published, compiled, and edited by Cristine: New Thoughts on Piano Performance: Research at the Interface Between Science and the Art of Piano Performance (2021), 2nd ed.; and Rethinking Piano Performance: The Embodied Mind (2022), 2nd ed. both available at Cristine has contributed also numerous theoretical papers on these topics, which are published in the Proceedings of the International Symposium on Performance Science between 2007-2023 (see below).


2007 Oporto/Portugal  

With a staff development grant from Royal Holloway (RHUL), University of London, Cristine presented: ‘Science Meets Art: The Role of the Body and its Role in “Shaping the Music”’ eds. Williamon, A; & Coimbra, D; at the first International Symposium on Performance Science (ISPS). Portuguese Catholic University  P.85

2009 London

‘Enhancing the Memory in Piano Performance: A Mind/Body Approach’, in Musical Body: Gesture, Representation and Ergonomics in Musical Performance, Senate House, University of London and Royal College of Music 22-24, April.

2009  Auckland/New Zealand

With an award from Music & Letters and a further award from Staff Development at RHUL, she presented: ‘Controlling the Pacing of Retards and Accelerandos in Piano Performance: A Roller Coaster Solution?’ eds.  Williamon, A; Pretty, S; Buck, R;  ISPS, Macquarie University. , P.113

2011 Toronto/Canada

‘Protecting the Pianist’s Hand: The Carrezando Touch’, content/uploads/2018/08/isps2011_proceedings.pdf.   559; and, ‘An Inquiry into the Function of the Torso and its Potential for a Relationship with the Music’. MacKie, C;  & Hussein,. I; eds. Williamon, A; Edwards, D; &Bartel, L; University of Toronto. 393

2013  Vienna/Austria

‘Mirror Neurons: Imitation and Emulation in Piano Performance’ eds. Williamon, A; & Werner, G;

ISPS, University of Music and Performing Arts, Vienna., 817.

 2017 Reykjavik/Iceland

‘Time as Process – or the Pacing of Motion – and its Demarcation Rubato: A Means to “Shaping” Ondine by Debussy’. eds. Williamon, A; & Jonasson, P;  Academy of the Arts, Reykjavik.

2021 Montreal/Canada

‘One-to-One Piano Tuition in Higher Music Education, MacKie et al. ISPS, McGill University, Montreal.

2023 Warsaw/Poland

‘Embodying the Music: A Performer’s Perspective’, ISPS, Chopin University of Music & Medical University of Warsaw.

2012 London

Two Interdisciplinary Studies

The first interdisciplinary study (www.londoninternationalpianosymposium) drew upon research by the neuroscientist Rizzolatti, amongst others, which shows that mirror neurons in the brain respond not only when a subject performs a given action but, more significantly, when the subject observes someone else performing the same action. On this basis, the Royal Ballet, and the London International Piano Symposium collaborated in a preliminary test of the relevance of this idea to musical performance. In it, a music analyst, a pianist, and a choreographer, and two dancers worked   together to assist the pianist to control subtle increases or decreases in the pacing of the temporal flow of Clair de lune, by Debussy, c.1905, from one section to the next through imitation and emulation of the dancers’ movements. The study was later premiered at Covent Garden in 2012. See New Thoughts on Piano Performance Chapter

2018 London

The second interdisciplinary study  was set up at the Royal Academy of Music  in 2018 in collaboration with primary researcher Cristine MacKie, Director of the London International Piano Symposium (see www.londoninternationalpianosymposium); Prof. John Sloboda, Research Professor, Guildhall School Music and Drama, and  Dr Sam Johnson,  Clinical Psychologist at the Tavistock and Portman and NHS Foundation Trust. The research drew upon the perceptions of twenty senior piano-teachers – engaged in higher music education in international institutions – which were presented in an open discussion concerning the nature of the relationship in one-to-one piano tuition. This has resulted in the publication of an article in the Finnish Journal of Music Education (December, 2023) entitled: ‘An inquiry into the psychological wellbeing of piano teachers engaged in one-to-one tuition in higher music education: How trauma transfers in teaching’.


Beyond the world of pianism, Cristine is acclaimed also by the academic food writer Alan Davidson in his Oxford Companion to Food (1995: Oxford University Press) as the definitive writer on the history of food in the English-speaking Caribbean. Her publications include Trade Winds (1986: UK, Absolute Press), and Life and Food in the Caribbean (1989: London, Weidenfeld & Nicholson).


For further details of the work of the London International Piano Symposium go to: