Dr David R. M. Irving recently travelled to Rome, where he was invited as one of 17 young academics to participate in an International Interdisciplinary Research Laboratory (Iinter-La+b) organised jointly by the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, the Balzan Prize Foundation, and the Swiss Academy of Arts and Sciences. These young academics were working on various projects directed by Balzan Prizewinners; David is currently working on the project Towards a Global History of Music, directed by the 2012 Balzan Prizewinner for Musicology, Prof. Reinhard Strohm (University of Oxford). For this he held a Research Visitorship at King’s College London earlier this year, and co-convened with Prof. Estelle Joubert (Dalhousie University) the two-day international workshop “Alterity and Universalism in Eighteenth-Century Musical Thought” at the Faculty of Music and Wadham College, University of Oxford.
David’s contribution to Prof. Strohm’s Balzan project is entitled “Analogues of Antiquity: World Cultures, Ancient Greek Music, and Comparative Anthropologies, 1500–1800”. He examines how early modern Europeans asserted a sense of musical ‘modernity’ through comparative evaluations of ancient Greek music and the living musics of world cultures, and how they developed conceptual distinctions of these from their own musical traditions, thus contributing to a growing discourse of exceptionalism and essentialism in Western art music. While in Rome, David gave a presentation about his current work at the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, the oldest scientific academy in the world (founded 1603), which is based in the Palazzo Corsini. He also had the opportunity to observe the 2014 Balzan Prize ceremony in the presidential palace (Quirinale).