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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 the forthcoming Cultural History of Western Music (Bloomsbury, 2023). His 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 musical and cultural repercussions of Spanish, Portuguese, French, Dutch, and British colonialism in early modern Southeast Asia, and the role of music in various Catholic missions in the early modern world. 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: Performing Praxis of Global Music History (under contract to University of Michigan Press) and How the World Made European Music: Sonic Identities in Global Early Modernity (under contract to Oxford University Press). I also serve as Chair of the International Musicological Society’s Study Group “Global History of Music”.

Selected publications

Irving DRM 2021. “YouTube y el International Music Score Library Project (IMSLP) en la interpretación musical histórica: una evaluación preliminar.” Trans. María Gembero-Ustárroz and Emilio Ros Fábregas. In Musicología en web: Patrimonio musical y Humanidades Digitales, edited by María Gembero-Ustárroz y Emilio Ros Fábregas, 253-63. Kassel: Reichenberger.

Irving DRM 2021, ‘Review of Sarah Justine Eyerly, Moravian Soundscapes: A Sonic History of the Moravian Missions in Early Pennsylvania’ (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2020), Eighteenth-Century Music 18 (2): 305-310.

Irving DRM & Sutcliffe WD, eds. 2021, Eighteenth-Century Music, vol. 18, no. 1, pp 1-240.

Irving DRM & Sutcliffe WD, eds. 2021, Eighteenth-Century Music, vol. 18, no. 2, pp 241-341.

Selected research activities

I delivered a keynote lecture in Switzerland and presented at events in the Philippines, Israel, Belgium, the United Kingdom, Italy, and the USA. I also taught classes at Bard College, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Haverford College, and the University of Michigan.

Besides working on the ongoing projects mentioned above, I wrote and submitted a study of soundscapes in the 1519-1522 voyage of circumnavigation led by Magellan and Elcano, and a study of an eighteenth-century Franciscan manuscript from the Philippines.

I was elected to a Fellowship of the Royal Historical Society (UK) and held a visiting fellowship at Clare Hall, University of Cambridge. At Cambridge I worked on the Jeanne-Marie Dolmetsch Collection, an archive recently bequeathed to the University Library.

For the International Musicological Society’s Study Group on the Global History of Music, Jen-yen Chen and I co-organised a 4-day conference, “Music in the Pacific World: Change and Exchange Through Sound and Memory”, hosted by National Taiwan University and held online.

I am one of four co-PIs on the project “Poder y Representaciones Culturales en la Edad Moderna (siglos XV-XVIII)”, which was awarded I+D+i funding.

ICREA Memoir 2021