Reinhard Strohm

Regno Unito/Germania

Premio Balzan 2012 per Musicologia

Progetto di ricerca

Towards a Global History of Music

Reinhard Strohm is Emeritus Professor of Music at the University of Oxford. His research project aimed to promote post-European historical thinking, beginning withthe consideration of what ‘western music’ would look like in an account of music history aspiring to be truly global. The project was not meant to create a universal (or global) history in itself, but to explore, through assembled case studies, parameters and terminologies that are suitable to describe a history of many different voices.

The programme’s Steering Committee consisted mainly of the representatives of the six collaborating institutions (Faculty of Music, Oxford University; Department of Music, King’s College, University of London; Institut für Musikwissenschaft, Universität Zürich; Musicology Department, Faculty of the Humanities, The Hebrew University, Jerusalem; Institut für Musikwissenschaft, Universität Wien; Institut für Musikwissenschaft und Medienwissenschaft, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin), and an Advisory Board of international specialists of musicology and ethnomusicology.

Research Visitorships
During the years of operation, the programme supported researchers in musicology or ethnomusicology at an intermediate stage of their academic careers (postdoctorates but not yet full professors with tenure) for short-term research visitorships. These visitorships were advertised worldwide for each of the three years in March preceding the respective tenures; candidates were selected by the Steering Committee. The visitorships were held at the collaborating institutions under the supervision of a Steering Committee member, but were not appointments by or at the respective universities.
The research visitors engaged with the history and historiography of music in cultures of other continents, and/or with its interactions with western music history, and/or with the question of an intercontinental/global history of music. They used the visitorships to carry out further research on their special topics, or widen the purview of their studies, and communicated about their work with colleagues, students and the public. One of their tasks was to convene or co-convene an international workshop on their particular research area, held at one of the collaborating institutions and open to the general public.

Research Visitors 2015-2017

Faculty of Music, University of Oxford

Dr. Christina Richter-Ibáñez (University of Tübingen, Germany): A Global View on Bach (June-July 2017)
Prof. Andrea F. Bohlman (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA): Music and Unofficial Media in Communist Poland (October 2017) Dr. Luis Velasco-Pufleau (University of Salzburg, Austria): European New Music Festivals and the Emergence of an Intercontinental History of Contemporary Art Music (January-February 2017)

Institut für Musikwissenschaft, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Prof. Gabriela Currie (University of Minnesota, USA): Sounding Alexander’s Legacy: the Gandharan Nexus (May-June 2016)

Department of Music, King’s College, University of London
Dr. James Mitchell (Khon Kaen University, Thailand, and Monash University, Australia): The Rabbit and the Hound: A Reassessment of the Impact of Western Recording  Activities on Non-Western Music Traditions (1900-1950), Using Siam/ Thailand as a
New Case Study (May-June 2016)

Department of Musicology, The Hebrew University, Jerusalem
Prof. Lisa Nielson (Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, USA): Concerning Music and Musical Instruments: A Fifteenth Century Collection of Anti-Samac treatises
(June-July 2016)

Institut für Musikwissenschaft, Universität Wien
Dr. Barbara Titus (University of Amsterdam): The West in Musical Retrospect: South African Maskanda Music as Historiography (March-May 2016)

Musikwissenschaftliches Institut, Universität Zürich
Dr. Avra Xepapadakou (University of Crete, Greece): Western European Opera and Operetta Companies Touring in the South-eastern Mediterranean during the Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries (April-May 2017)

Research Visitors 2015/2016 appointed in 2014

Department of Musicology, The Hebrew University, Jerusalem
Dr. Anna G. Piotrowska (Jagiellonian University, Kraków, Poland): Gypsy Music in European Culture (October-November 2015)

Institut für Musikwissenschaft, Universität Wien

Dr. Morag Josephine Grant (Independent researcher, Berlin, Germany): Martial Music in Global Historical Perspective (January-February 2016)

Department of Music, King’s College, University of London

Dr. Margaret Walker (Queens University, Kingston, Canada): Orientalism and Exchange: The Indian “Nautch” as Musical Nexus (January-February 2016)

Research Visitors 2014/2015

Institut für Musikwissenschaft, Universität Wien
Dr. María Cáceres-Piñuel (Institut für Musikwissenschaft, Universität Bern, Switzerland): The International Music and Theatre Exhibition in Vienna 1892 (October-December 2014)
Dr. Tomasz Jez (University of Warsaw, Poland): Music in the Cultural Strategies of Jesuits in Latin America (Seventeenth-Eighteenth Centuries) (March 2015)

Department of Music, King’s College, University of London
Dr. Jia, Shu Bing (Musicology Department, Central Conservatory of Music, Beijing, China): The Dissemination of Western Music through Catholic Missions in High Qing China, 1662-1795 (January-February 2015)

Faculty of Music, University of Oxford
Dr. Melanie Plesch (Department of Music, University of Melbourne, Australia): Towards an Understanding of the Rhetorical Efficacy of Latin American Art Music: Topics of Landscape (January-February 2015)

Musikwissenschaftliches Institut, Universität Zürich
Prof. Kim, Jin-Ah (Institut für Musikwissenschaft, Humboldt-Universität, Berlin, and Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, Seoul/Yongin): Transfer, Reception and Appropriation of Music: East Asia and Western Europe (April-May 2015)

Research Visitors 2013/2014

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Prof. Jonathan Goldman (Faculté de Musique, Université de Montréal, Canada): The Invention of a Gamelan Tradition in Avant-Garde Music, 1970-1995 (May-June 2014)
Dr. Tobias Robert Klein (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Germany): Panafrica and the “Idea of Non Absolute Music”: An Exercise in the Global History and Aesthetics of Music (January 2014)
Prof. Henry Spiller (University of California Davis, USA): Javanese and Sundanese Music and Dance in European Historical Reflections (January 2014)

King’s College, University of London
Dr. David R. M. Irving (School of Music, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia): Analogues of Antiquity: World Cultures, Ancient Greek Music, and Comparative Anthropologies, 1500-1800 (May-June 2014)
Dr. Suddhaseel Sen (Stanford University, USA): Intimate Strangers: Cross-Cultural Exchanges between Indian and Western Musicians 1880-1940 (May-June 2014)

Faculty of Music, University of Oxford
Dr. Jason Stoessel (University of New England, Armidale, Australia): The Role of the Singing Voice and Concepts of Song in Encounters between Latin, Persian and Mongol Cultures during the Time of the Mongol Empire, 1206-1368 (October- December 2013)
Prof. Estelle Joubert (Department of Music, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada):‘Analytical Encounters’:Global Music Criticism and  Enlightenment Ethnomusicology (April-May 2014)

Workshops and Conferences

Final Workshop
The workshop Transcultural Music Traditions was held from 7 to 9 April 2017 at the Institut für Musik- und Medienwissenschaften, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. It was introduced by a Keynote Lecture by Lars Christian Koch (Universität der Künste and Phonogramm-Archiv, Berlin) on 7 April, and involved two sessions: A Global View on Bach: Latin America and Asia in the Twentieth Century on 8 April, convened by Christina Richter-Ibáñez, followed by a performance of the Asambura Ensemble (Maximilian Guth), and Music, Media Geography, History on 9 April, convened by Andrea F. Bohlman. Speakers were Christina Richter-Ibáñez, Eva Moreda Rodriguez, Daniela Alejandra Fugellie, Thomas Cressy, Kayoung Lee and Christin Hoene (8 April), and Tom Western, Dariusz Brzostek, Ana Hofman, meLê Yamomo, Thomas R. Hilder and Andrea F. Bohlman (9 April).

This was the last of the long series of international workshops, seminars and meetings that were distributed over the five years of Reinhard Strohm’s highly articulated project, which has united six important academic institutions and a great number of researchers from all over the world, thus providing a global approach – both in terms of the project’s vastness and its depth – to the history of music, the fruit of different voices and points of view.

On 22 and 23 January 2016, a workshop Towards a Global History of Martial and Military Music: Comparative Perspectives for the Early and Pre modern Period was held at the Institut für Musikwissenschaft, Universität Wien, with Morag Josephine Grant (Berlin) as convenor. The other speakers were Ralph Martin Jäger (Universität Münster), Nina Reuther (Konstanz), Vivien Estelle Williams (University of Glasgow), Bruce Gleason (University of St. Thomas, Minnesota/USA), Keith Howard (SOAS, University of London) and Silke Wenzel (Hochschule für Musik und Theater, Hamburg). The workshop opened up a remarkable narrative of intercontinental parallels and relations between ceremonial and martial music-making in early modern times.

Places of Interaction: Histories of Music and Dance in India, Africa, and South-East Asia was held at the British Academy in London on 16 and 17 June 2016, with convenors Margaret Walker (Queen’s University, Kingston, Canada), James L. Mitchell (Khon Kean University, Thailand) and Reinhard Strohm. Keynote speakers were Katherine Butler Schofield (King’s College, University of London) and Anna Maria Busse Berger (University of California, Davis). Other speakers included James Mitchell, Rainer Lotz, James Kirby (University of Edinburgh), Margaret Walker, Tiziana Leucci (CNRS, France), Ann David (University of Roehampton, London), Nalini Ghuman (Mills College, Oakland), Gerhard Kubik (University of Vienna and C. J. Jung Institut, Zurich), Barbara Titus (University of Amsterdam and 2016 Balzan Research Visitor), Luis Velasco Pufleau (University of Salzburg and 2016 Balzan Research Visitor), Andrée Grau (University of Roehampton, London), Judit Frigyesi (Bar Ilan University, Israel), Sen Suddhaseel (University Kolkata, India). A highlight of the Places of Interaction workshop was a song and dance performance by Urja Desai Thakore accompanied by Manjeet Sing Rasiya and Surjeet Sing Aulakh.

In 2016, Eastern Mediterranean and Western Asian Music, Ancient and Modern, a workshop on medieval and more recent middle Eastern musical life, took place from 4 to 6 November 2016 at the Faculty of Music, Oxford University, with Gabriela Currie, Lisa Nielson and Avra Xepapadakou convening. There were three keynote lectures, given by Owen Wright, Walter Puchner and Kevin Dawe, respectively. Three sessions were held: Early transcultural musical legacies from the Mediterranean to the Indus (speakers: Gabriela Currie, Ciro Lo Muzio, Andrew Hicks, Donatella Restani); Music Aesthetics in the Medieval Islamicate World (speakers: John Franklin, Dwight F. Reynolds, Pernilla Myrne, Lisa Nielson); Greece – a Cultural Crossroads between East and West (speakers: Katy Romanou, Kostas Kardamis, Avra Xepapadakou). The workshop also featured a concert of the Trio Khimaira in Oxford’s Holywell Room.

On 10 and 11 October 2014, Reinhard Strohm, Michele Calella and Angharad Gabriel- Zamastil convened an international workshop at the Institute for Musicology at the University of Vienna. Its title was Many Kinds of Music History: a Crosscultural Enquiry. It hosted Regina Allgayer-Kaufmann, Tina K. Ramnarine, Tobias Robert Klein (research visitor 2013/2014), Britta Sweers, María Gembero-Ustárroz, Slawomira Zeranska-Kominek, Michael Fend, Reinhard Strohm and August Schmidhofer as speakers.

A workshop entitled The Global Music Culture of the Catholic Missions in the Seventeenthand Eighteenth Centuries was held at King’s College, University of London, on 6 and 7 February 2015, convened by Tomasz Jez and Jia Shubing (research visitors 2014/2015), who gave papers on Jesuit missions in Latin America, and Western musicians in China in the 17th century, respectively. Other speakers were Bernardo Illari (University of North Texas College of Music), Leonardo Waisman (Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, Argentina), Egberto Bermúdez (Universidad Nacional de Colombia), Jutta Toelle (Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics, Frankfurt), Peter Allsop (Visiting Professor, Central Conservatory of Music, Beijing), Gabriele Tarsetti and Fabio G. Galeffi (Teodorico Pedrini Centre, Fermo, Italy), Lars Peter Laamann (SOAS, University of London), David R. M. Irving (The Australian National University), Daniele V. Filippi (Schola Cantorum Basiliensis) and Mateusz Kapustka (University of Zurich). Joyce Lindorff (Temple University, US), harpsicord, with Jean-Christophe Frisch, flute, and David R.M. Irving, violin, gave a recital with an introduction and discussion of Teodorico Pedrini’s Trio sonatas op. 3, composed in China.

A conference-workshop on Topical Encounters and Rhetorics of Identity in Latin American Art Music was convened by Melanie Plesch (research visitor 2014/2015) at the Faculty of Music, Oxford University, from 13 to 15 February 2015. The papers were given by Melanie Plesch (The University of Melbourne), Julio Mendívil (Stiftung Universität Hildesheim), Paulo de Tarso Salles (Universidade de São Paolo, Brazil), Omar Corrado (Universidad de Buenos Aires), Roberto Kolb-Neuhaus (Universidad Autónoma de México), Omar García Brunelli (Instituto Nacional de Musicología, Argentina), Acácio Pieade (Universidade do Estado de Santa Catarina, Brazil), Juan Francisco Sans (Universidad Central de Venezuela). The keynote address was delivered by Kofi Agawu (Princeton University). Virginia Correa Dupuy, mezzosoprano, and Marcel Ayub, piano, gave a Holywell Room recital of Latin American art music of the 19th and 20th centuries.

Historiography on Display: the Musical (Inter)nationalisms of the Fin-de-siècle was the title of the workshop held at the Österreichische Gesellschaft für Musik, Vienna, on 14 March 2015, convened by Maria Cáceres-Piñuel (research visitor 2014/2015). Papers on aspects of the international exhibitions in Vienna and elsewhere in Europe were offered by Nicholas Cook (University of Cambridge), Cristina Urchueguía (University of Bern), Maria Cáceres-Piñuel (University of Bern), Rachel Beckles-Willson (Royal Holloway, University of London), Stefan M. Schmidl (Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften) and Katharina Wessely (Österreichische Akademie der

Jin-Ah Kim (research visitor 2014/2015) convened a workshop entitled “European” Music in East Asia? The Musical Intertwining of Western Europe and East Asia in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries on 1-2 May 2015 at the Institut für Musikwissenschaft, Universität Zürich. Speakers included Nicola Spakowski (University of Freiburg), Max Peter Baumann (University of Würzburg), Jin-Ah Kim (Humboldt University, Berlin), Zhang Boyu (Central Conservatory of Music, Beijing), Keith Howard (SOAS, University of London), Rinko Fujita (University of Vienna) and Oliver Seibt (Goethe University, Frankfurt).

Outside Europe, the workshop Musical Cultures under Relationships of Power: Eastern Europe and the Middle East was held at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem on 25 and 26 October 2015. It was convened by Anna G. Piotrowska (University of Kraków) and Ruth HaCohen (The Hebrew University). The event was inaugurated by a welcome from Dr. Suzanne Werder (International Balzan Foundation “Prize”, Milan) and Prof. Dr. Gottfried Scholz (Balzan Prize Committee). The visit of these two representatives, which helped to intensify the interest in the Balzan Prize in Jerusalem, was much appreciated by the participants and the local audience. After an opening session with a dialogue talk by Ruth HaCohen and Edwin Seroussi (The Hebrew University, Jerusalem), sketching the general framework for discussing musical cultures under relations of power, the two-day event consisted of the following sessions: Power, politics and musical legacy chaired by Marina Ritzareva; Revisiting ‘national’ in music chaired by Alexander Rosenblatt; East of Europe? Europe vis-avis the Middle East chaired by Abigail Wood. Papers were delivered by Bennett Zon (Durham University), Valentina Sandu-Dediu (Bucharest University), Judit Frigyesi (Bar Ilan University), Nadeed Karkabi (Martin Buber Institute, The Hebrew University), Marina Frolova-Walker (Cambridge University), Martin Stokes (University of London King’s College); other discussants included Milena Boshikova (Institute of Art Studies, Sofia). The workshop concluded with a round table entitled ‘Insiders’ and/or ‘Outsiders’ in the history of music in Eastern Europe and the Middle East, a general discussion, and was chaired and introduced by Anna G. Piotrowska, with a conclusion by Reinhard Strohm.

A one-day research workshop entitled “Mongols Howling, Latins Barking”: Voice and Song in Early Musical Encounters in Pre-colonial Eurasia was held on 2 December 2013 at the Faculty of Music, Oxford. This was convened by Jason Stoessel (research visitor 2013/2014). Speakers were Charles Burnett (The Warburg Institute, University of London), Manuel Pedro Ferreira (Universidade Nova de Lisboa), Felicitas Schmieder (FernUniversität Hagen, Germany) and Jason Stoessel (University of New England, Australia). The main theme of the event was the cultural diversity of concepts of the voice in the Middle Ages (12th-14th centuries) and its relevance for global relationships. The concluding panel discussion, in which Catherine Holmes (University of Oxford) also participated, was chaired by Jason Stoessel.

From 15 to 17 January 2014, an international workshop-conference was held at the Humboldt-Universität and Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, on the invitation of Prof. Dr. Laurenz Lütteken, entitled Alternative Modernities: Postcolonial Transformations of “Traditional” Music in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries. Co-convenor with Laurenz Lütteken was Tobias Robert Klein (research visitor 2013/2014). The papers with their discussions revealed much of the reciprocity of musical developments in the West and in East Asia and Africa in the so-called “modern” period, whether through the increase of actual “influences” and cultural borrowings, or by the effect of historical events and encounters (including industrial relations, missions, global economies and wars) on national and regional musical identities. Papers were delivered by François Picard (Université de la Sorbonne, Paris), Yang Chien-Chang (National Taiwan University, Taipei), Tobias Robert Klein (Berlin), Nicholas Cook (University of Cambridge), Jonathan Goldman (Université de Montréal) and Henry Spiller (University of California, Davis). Research visitors of 2013/2014 were Klein, Goldman and Spiller.
The event was introduced by Prof. Dr. Reinhart Meyer-Kalkus (Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin) and Reinhard Strohm.

The events in Berlin also included a meeting of the Steering Committee of the project at the Humboldt University on 15 January, and a public panel discussion between Balzan Prizewinners Manfred Brauneck, Ludwig Finscher and Reinhard Strohm.
Convened at the Istituto Italiano di Cultura, Berlin, by Professor Gottfried Scholz, it was entitled Die grössere Welt: Transkulturelle Projekte der Musik- und Theaterforschung. A concluding discussion of the project Towards a Global History of Music with all workshop speakers, Steering Committee members and advisors was held at Humboldt University on 17 January.

On 27 May 2014, the workshop Theorizing across Cultures: Ethnomusicological and Historical-Musicological Perspectives was held at King’s College, University of London. Convened by Suddhaseel Sen (Stanford University/Presidency University, India; research visitor 2014/2015), speakers included Michael Fend, Suddhaseel Sen, Tina K. Ramnarine, Matthew Pritchard, Georgina Born, Richard David Williams, Raymond Head, Naresh Sohal, Nicholas Cook, Martin Stokes, Reinhard Strohm and David R. M. Irving.

The workshop Alterity and Universalism in Eighteenth-Century Musical Thought was held from 30 May to 1 June 2014 at the Faculty of Music at Oxford. Convenors were David R. M. Irving and Estelle Joubert (research visitors 2013/2014). Papers were delivered by Philip Bohlman, Michael Fend, Emily Dolan, Keith Chapin, Glenda Goodman, Katherine Butler Schofield, Joan-Pau Rubiés, Ruth HaCohen, Matthew Gelbart, Miguel Á. Marín, David R. M. Irving and Estelle Joubert.

Full details on individual workshops and conferences can be found at the following websites:;

Towards a Global History of Music has come to an end, but Reinhard Strohm has discussed the wish to continue these studies of a global history of music with Jin-Ah Kim (2015 research visitor who convened the Zurich workshop), and many of the other specialists involved in the project, as well as funding institutions and advisers around the world. The director of this new research group on Global Music History is Jin-Ah Kim, assisted by an international steering committee and an advisory board.
The group’s activities will take the form of a series of scholarly symposia as the main format of a continuation of the Balzan Musicology Project, with annual or biannual international meetings. Enquiries and offers of collaboration are welcome. Please write to Prof. Dr. Jin-Ah Kim, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies (Seoul/Yongin), Minerva College of Liberal Arts, Department of Musicology and Media Studies, Humboldt University of Berlin (

Selected papers from the 2013-2017 workshops of the Balzan Musicology Project Towards a Global History of Music are now being published by Reinhard Strohm. A representative sample of papers has appeared as Studies on a Global History of Music: a Balzan Musicology Project, ed. by Reinhard Strohm, London-NewYork: Routledge, 2018 (SOAS Musicology series), ISBN 978-1-138-05883-5 (hbk) and ISBN 978-1- 315-16397-0 (ebk). A volume entitled The Music Road: Coherence and Diversity in Music from the Mediterranean to India is being edited for the British Academy, to appear in 2019 in the series British Academy Proceedings: Themed Volumes. A third book, provisionally entitled Transcultural Music History, and an illustrated online report with further contributions are in preparation.

Excerpt from the: The Balzan Prizewinners’ Research Projects: An Overview 2018