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Nikolaus Urbanek, Professor of Musicology at the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna, is the head of the structured doctoral programme and currently serves as Dean of Research Programmes. He studied musicology and philosophy at the University of Vienna and received his doctorate in 2008 with a music-philosophical thesis on Theodor W. Adorno's Beethoven fragments. His academic research and publishing activity is characterized by three areas of thematic interest: the philosophy of music, the philology of music, and the historiography of music.

Since January 2018 Urbanek has been leading the DACH-research project Writing Music. Iconic, performative, operative, and material aspects in musical notation(s) (funded by FWF, SNF, and DFG) together with Federico Celestini, Matteo Nanni, and Simon Obert.