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Since 2016, Huovinen is professor of music education at Royal College of Music in Stockholm, Sweden. He also holds a research fellowship at the North-West University School of Music, Potchefstroom, South Africa. Previously, he has worked as professor of musicology at three Finnish universities, and as a visiting professor at the University of Minnesota School of Music in 2009–2013.


Originally studying musicology, philosophy, and classical languages, Huovinen received his PhD in musicology in 2002 at the University of Turku, Finland, with a dissertation concerning the perception of tonality in melodies. In his post-doctoral work, he concentrated both on philosophical aesthetics (e.g., philosophy of creativity, musical understanding, philosophical intuitions in aesthetics) and various empirical research projects (e.g., music listening, improvisation pedagogy, music reading, quantitative music analysis), also publishing research on methodological and historical issues in music theory and music research in general. On and off, he also worked as a musician in free-improvisation contexts.


In 2014–2018, Huovinen led the Academy of Finland research consortium Reading Music: Eye-Movements and the Development of Expertise, which brought together views from educational science, psychology of music, and statistics in an interdisciplinary effort to understand the visual processes in music reading. His own main contribution in this project concerned measuring the “early attraction” of the music reader’s eyes on salient items of the score (see Journal of Eye-Movement Research11[2]).


Many of Huovinen’s present research efforts concentrate on the relationships between music and imagination, including topics such as everyday musical imagery, imagined agency in heard music, children’s associative imagery in music, and ideational creativity in music. Huovinen’s work in this area applies various forms of mixed methods research. For instance, he has worked to integrate qualitative and quantitative methods in studying music listeners’ extramusical associations (Music Percpetion33[2]), and studied everyday “pleasant musical imagery” by integrating microphenomenological elicitation interviews in a quantitative research framework (Music Perception, 36[3]).