Living Sounds: Democratizing and Reviving Musical Heritage

Recently I am assembling an international team of outstanding researchers to collaborate in a major pan-European project. The overall aim is to develop and test innovative approaches for online virtual experience of music to protect, preserve, restore and safeguard cultural heritage and the arts.

We seek to counteract serious threats to this sector due to the rise of digitalization and the disruptive conditions of the Covid-19 pandemic. The project will focus on tangible and intangible music heritage to develop, test, and popularize new research-based approaches to use music, not only in itself, but also to preserve, sustain and disseminate other forms of cultural heritage. We plan to also use digital collaborative strategies to revolutionize how cultural activities are funded and produced online, and thus create sustainable job opportunities within the cultural and creative industries (CCIs).

Hopefully we will manage to attract major funding for this unique project which promises to offer new approaches for cultural professions that have been negatively impacted by the recent pandemic. More information will be posted here later as project planning develops further.

Here are a few quotations from recent publications that provide some background for this project:

  • “When music is recognized as invaluable cultural heritage, entailing unique artefacts of intellectual property, new developments in this field then become acknowledged as important forms of social innovation” (Rykowski & Hebert, 2018, p.367).
  • Musical heritage in museums requires either “reimagining a form of music from the past or representing music that exists in the present, both of which entail an array of methodological issues” (Hebert & McCollum, 2014, p.71). 
  • “Virtual musicianship clearly prompts us to rethink how relationships between music and place have traditionally been conceived” (Hebert, 2018, p.5). 
  • “locating those songs on social media now serves to connect people and places through their virtual homes online” (Hebert & Williams, 2020).

-Hebert, D. G. & McCollum, J. (2014). Methodologies for historical ethnomusicology in the twenty-first century. In J. McCollum & D. G. Hebert (Eds.), Theory and Method in Historical Ethnomusicology (p.35-83). Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.

-Hebert, D. G. & Williams, S. (2020). Ethnomusicology, music education, and the power and limitations of social media. In J. L. Waldron, S. Horsley, & K. K. Veblen (Eds.), Oxford Handbook of Social Media and Music Learning. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

-Hebert, D. G. (2018). Music in the conditions of glocalization. In D. G. Hebert & M. Rykowski (Eds.), Music Glocalization: Heritage and Innovation in a Digital Age (p.1-19). Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars. 

-Rykowski, M. & Hebert, D. G. (2018). Conclusion: Toward a Theoretical Model of Music Glocalization. In D. G. Hebert & M. Rykowski (Eds.), Music Glocalization: Heritage and Innovation in a Digital Age. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, pp.346-374.


Music Conference in Kiev

One of the world’s major music institutions is the Tchaikovsky National Music Academy of Ukraine, also known as the Kiev Conservatory. This prestigious music school was founded by Tchaikovsky himself and led by Rachmaninov and Glazunov.

I look forward to presenting a paper soon (via videoconference) for an international conference hosted by the World Music History Department of the Kiev Conservatory: Music Culture of China: Forms, Traditions, Practices, which will take place at the end of March. My paper title is “Research on Chinese Traditional Instrument Teachers at Prominent Conservatories in Europe and China.”

Here is a link for the conference program:



The Kiev Conservatory is home to a pioneering Music Confucius Classroom, for which my paper seems especially relevant. Here are a few links about Confucius Music Classrooms …  




Many years ago, I lived in Moscow, working as a Lecturer for Moscow State University while performing free improvisation with members of the Pan-Asian Ensemble affiliated with the other Tchaikovsky conservatory (Moscow Conservatory), and now I serve on the Editorial Board of the Eurasian Music Science Journal. It will be exciting to reconnect with colleagues in the fascinating field of Eurasian musicology via this conference in Kiev.

Below are videos based on excerpts from the Pan-Asian Ensemble's free improvisation sessions recorded in Moscow at the conservatory. This experimental music still has an unusually mysterious sound even several years after it was created.  



Each of the tracks here are interesting for different reasons. On the first, I play muted trumpet in some uncannily improvised gestures and harmonies in sync with two Russian shakuhachi players. In the second, I add lyrical trumpet lines after about one minute into the final track.

Below is something much more traditional that I recorded in recent years, a lovely song by Rachmaninov: