David R. M. Irving

David R. M. 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, global histories 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 six-volume series A Cultural History of Western Music (Bloomsbury Academic), published in November 2023. 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. A new book, The Making of European Music in the Long Eighteenth Century, is to be published by Oxford University Press in 2024; I am also working on a monograph entitled Transitory Sounds: Early Music, Global History, and Decolonial Praxis, which is under contract to University of Michigan Press. I have deep interests in early music and serve on the Steering Committee of the International Musicological Society's Study Group "Global History of Music".

Selected publications

- Irving DRM & Rehding A 2023, A Cultural History of Western Music, 6 volumes, London: Bloomsbury Academic.
- Irving DRM 2023, 'Rediscovering Arnold Dolmetsch: Going Back to the Sources of the Early Music Revival', Early Music 51, 2, 275–291. 
- Irving DRM 2023. "Transplanted Musics in a Plantation Society: Performing Arts on the Cocos (Keeling) Islands, 1826-1955." In Sounding the Indian Ocean: Musical Circulations in the Afro-Asiatic Seascape, edited by Julia Byl and Jim Sykes, 251–273. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Selected research activities

A major milestone in 2023 was the publication of the six-volume series A Cultural History of Western Music (Bloomsbury Academic), for which I was co-General Editor with Alexander Rehding (Harvard University). Within this set I was also co-editor with Estelle Joubert (Dalhousie University) of its fourth volume, A Cultural History of Western Music in the Age of Enlightenment, and authored a chapter on intercultural exchange. The series involved six years of work and more than fifty contributors.
My book The Making of European Music in the Long Eighteenth Century went into production with Oxford University Press, for release in 2024. A new article on Arnold Dolmetsch was published in Early Music, and this research was mentioned on BBC Radio 3. Work progressed on the AEI I+D+i project PyRCEM, for which I am co-PI, and we held an annual workshop at the Universitat de Barcelona.
I delivered a keynote lecture in Taiwan for the International Musicological Society Regional Association for East Asia (IMSEA), and gave conference papers in Spain, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. I also co-organised with Maria Alexandra Iñigo Chua (University of Santo Tomas) a conference in Manila, the Philippines, for the International Musicological Society Study Group 'Global History of Music' and served on the programme committees for the Biennial International Baroque Conference and the Annual Meeting of the American Musicological Society.