Ian Pace studied at Chetham's School of Music, The Queen's College, Oxford and the Juilliard School, New York, where he studied with the Hungarian pianist György Sándor. He has pursued a parallel career as both a pianist and musicologist since returning to the UK in 1992, with a particular focus on contemporary music.
He has played in 22 countries, recorded over 20 CDs, and given over 150 world premieres, by composers including Julian Anderson, Richard Barrett, James Clarke, Chaya Czernowin, James Dillon, Pascal Dusapin, Brian Ferneyhough, Michael Finnissy, Christopher Fox, Volker Heyn, Horatiu Radulescu, Frederic Rzewski, Gerhard Stäbler, Howard Skempton and Walter Zimmermann. He has also played with major orchestras including the Orchestre de Paris under Christoph Eschenbach, the SWR-Orchestra Stuttgart under Rupert Huber, and the Dortmund Philharmonic under Bernhard Kontarsky, and given many workshops and masterclasses, including as a teacher at the festivals in Acanthes, Metz, and Impuls, Graz.
Ian taught first at the London College of Music and Media from 1998 to 2001, where he was co-director of a department for contemporary piano, then as an AHRC Research Fellow at the University of Southampton from 2003 to 2006 (where he wrote a monograph on Michael Finnissy's The History of Photography in Sound). He was Lecturer in Contemporary Musicologies at Dartington College of Arts (now University College Falmouth) from 2007 to 2010, before taking up the position of Lecturer and DMA Programme Director at City University London. Since 2011 he has been Head of Performance at City.
His undergraduate teaching has encompassed 20th century musical history and performance, issues of music and society (in particular the work of Theodor Adorno and also the New Musicology), aesthetics of modernism and postmodernism, historical performance practice, instrument history, site-specific music, as well as supervising many dissertations at undergraduate and postgraduate level on various areas of classical and popular music.
He co-authored and co-edited the volume Uncommon Ground: The Music of Michael Finnissy (Aldershot: Ashgate, 1998) and has published widely in The Musical Times, Tempo, Contemporary Music Review, International Piano, Open Space Magazine, Liszt Society Journal, Classical Music, Musiktexte and Musik und Aesthetik, as well as authoring many programme and CD liner notes.
Recent publications have included chapters on 'Verbal Discourse as Aesthetic Arbitrator' in Björn Heile (ed), The Modernist Legacy (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2009), 'Notation, Time and the Performer's Relationship to the Score in Contemporary Music', in Darla Crispin (ed), Unfolding Time: Studies in Temporality in Twentieth-Century Music, edited Darla Crispin (Leuven: Leuven University Press, 2009), and 'Coldness and Cruelty as Performance in Deleuze's Proust', in Mary Bryden and Margaret Topping (Eds), Beckett's Proust/Deleuze's Proust (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009).
He has given many guest lectures and conference papers. His book Brahms Performance Practice: Documentary, Analytic and Interpretive Approaches was published by Ashgate in 2010, and his chapter on 19th century instrumental performance will appear in Colin Lawson and Robin Stowell (Eds), The Cambridge History of Musical Performance. Since 2006, he has been engaged on a large scale research project concerning the development of the musical avant-garde and its institutions in West Germany between 1945 and 1963.