Dr David R.M. Irving is an ethnomusicologist, cultural historian, and performer. Having studied violin and musicology at the Queensland Conservatorium and the University of Queensland, he completed his Ph.D. at the University of Cambridge. He held several posts at Cambridge, King’s College London, and the University of Nottingham before moving to ANU in July 2013. As a baroque violinist, he has worked with many leading early music orchestras in Australia and overseas.
His research revolves around the role of music in intercultural exchange, colonialism, and globalisation from c.1500 to c.1900, with a particular focus on Southeast Asia. His first book, Colonial Counterpoint: Music in Early Modern Manila (Oxford University Press, 2010), examined musical practices in the Philippines under Spanish colonial rule between 1565 and 1815 (the period of the trans-Pacific galleon trade), and was named one of eighteen ‘Books of the Year’ by BBC History Magazine in December 2010. He has published numerous articles and book chapters, and in 2010 the Royal Musical Association awarded him the Jerome Roche Prize ‘for a distinguished article by a scholar in the early stages of his or her career’.
His current work explores the impact of Portuguese, Dutch and British colonialism on the musical traditions of the Malay-Indonesian Archipelago, c.1500–c.1850. This forms part of the collaborative project ‘Musical Transitions to European Colonialism in the Eastern Indian Ocean’ (on which he is a Visiting Fellow), funded by the European Research Council and based at King’s College London. He is also writing a book on European music and globalisation in the early modern world.
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