David Irving

David Irving

Institució Milà i Fontanals


David R. M. Irving studied at Griffith University, the University of Queensland, and the University of Cambridge. He held post-doctoral positions at Christ's College, Cambridge, and King's College London, then taught at the University of Nottingham, the Australian National University, and the University of Melbourne. Since 2019 he has been an ICREA Research Professor at the Institució Milà i Fontanals de Recerca en Humanitats, CSIC. His research interests include the role of music in early modern intercultural contact, the global history of music, and historical performance practice. He is co-editor of the journal Eighteenth-Century Music (Cambridge University Press) and co-general editor of A Cultural History of Western Music (Bloomsbury, in press). Awards include the Jerome Roche Prize (Royal Musical Association) and the McCredie Musicological Award (Australian Academy of the Humanities).

Research interests

My research stands at the nexus of historical musicology, ethnomusicology, and global history, examining the role of music in intercultural contact during the early modern period. I have worked on the musical repercussions of Spanish, Portuguese, French, Dutch, and British colonialism in Southeast Asia, and the role of music in various early modern Catholic missions. I aim to develop new conceptual frameworks for global histories of music, and to explore the impact of colonialism on musical thought and practice in early modern Europe. I am working on two monographs, Transitory Sounds: Early Music, Global History, and Decolonial Praxis (under contract to University of Michigan Press) and The Making of “European Music” in the Long Eighteenth Century (under contract to Oxford University Press). I have deep interests in early music and also serve as Chair of the International Musicological Society’s Study Group “Global History of Music”.

Selected publications

Irving DRM & Yamamoto M 2022, ‘Japanese Perspectives on Arnold Dolmetsch: An Article of 1932 by 大野正夫 Masao Ohno’The Consort 78: 109-26.

– Irving DRM 2022, “Lady Playing Vihuela da Mano.” In The Museum of Renaissance Music: A History in 100 Exhibits, edited by Vincenzo Borghetti and Tim Shephard, 218–21. Turnhout: Brepols.

Selected research activities

2022 was a busy year. I gave invited seminars at the University of York and Rutgers University, respectively on the Dolmetsch phenomenon and the eighteenth-century emergence of the “European music” concept. I also delivered papers and chaired panels at conferences held in Romania, Greece, Spain, France, and the United Kingdom. Work continued on the AEI I+D+i project PyRCEM (PIs: Joan-Lluís Palos, Diana Carrió-Invernizzi, Consuelo Gómez, and me); an inaugural two-day research seminar was held at the Universitat de Barcelona and UNED. As chair of the International Musicological Society’s Study Group on the Global History of Music I co-convened, with Jacob Olley, a session at the IMS Congress in Athens.

I wrote a chapter on the Iberian historiography of musics in early-modern Maluku (Moluccas, Indonesia) and co-authored with Qingfan Jiang a chapter on translation in missions and other early-modern musical contexts. Masumi Yamamoto and I published an article in The Consort (Europe’s longest-running journal devoted to the historical performance movement).

Editing work continued for the journal Eighteenth-Century Music (Cambridge University Press).

I examined two doctoral theses (University of Cambrige and the University of Western Australia), and peer-reviewed for multiple publishers and journals.