New Contributions in Historical Ethnomusicology

We are soon receiving a complete draft of Volume IV for our book series Deep Soundings: The Lexington Series in Historical Ethnomusicology. It will be one of the few books to offer an ethnomusicological perspective on a European composer, in this case Xaver Scharwenka, and is written by Dr. Mikolaj Rykowski, vice rector with the Paderewsky Academy of Music in Poznan, Poland. This book promises to advance the field of historical ethnomusicology with new insights into sociocultural and historical aspects of European art music, enriched through application of glocalization theory. Two additional volumes are already under contract with this series, and we expect several more over the coming years. 

It was also quite exciting last week to see the emergence of a brilliant new scholar in the fields of folk music and historical ethnomusicology, Dr. Laura Ellestad, who gave an impressive performance throughout her trial lecture and doctoral defense at the Norwegian Academy of Music, in Oslo. Dr. Ellestad’s dissertation sheds new light on historical Norwegian-American music traditions in the upper-Midwest region of the United States. She is also highly accomplished as a fiddler in Norwegian folk music genres, and has become the very first scholar in the academy’s folk music programs to successfully complete a PhD degree. Ellestad's dissertation is now available as a free download


MOU and Global Competence Partnership Established

This week we formally established cooperation at the doctoral and postgraduate levels between universities in Norway and Hong Kong. 

This was through both signing of a Memorandum of Understanding and the holding of our inaugural joint doctoral symposium. I am grateful for the support of our rektor Gunnar Yttri, vice dean Vegard Fusche Moe and the vice president and dean of the Hong Kong institution, Prof. Sing Kai Lo. 

Koji Matsunobu, a highly accomplished scholar who I have known for many years, is the main partner for this project on the Hong Kong side. 

Click HERE for the project website.

Click HERE for the symposium program.


New Demo Recording: Sympathetic Resonance Trio

The Sympathetic Resonance Trio is now making its second demo recording. The latest repertoire includes songs from an unusually diverse array of genres: a local Norwegian boating song, a romantic Russian art song (by Glinka), a timeless Bob Dylan tune, a ritualistic piece by a Sami songwriter, a jazz standard waltz-ballad, and a Ukrainian folk song. 

In addition to singing and playing trumpet with this group, recently I have been developing technique on the cajon, a versatile percussion instrument from South America that helps to add some additional depth to the trio’s sound.

Our first demo recording was made about 9 months ago, so we now have plenty of material for a full 2-hour set and a full album. 

Below is a sneak preview of one of these songs, a duet performance of Glinka’s art song (with powerful lyrics by Pushkin), “Ja pomnju chudnoe mgnovenie”: 

Painting: Karl Briullov’s “A Dream of a Girl Before Sunrise”

Doctorate on Norwegian-American Music

I look forward to serving as the first Opponent (external examiner) at the end of May for a PhD defense at the Norwegian Academy of Music in Oslo.



Laura Ellestad has produced a very interesting dissertation in the field of historical ethnomusicology on Norwegian-American fiddling traditions. It is a quite interesting study, and I hope there will be an enthusiastic audience at both her trial lecture and doctoral defense. 

This will be my first time to take part in a doctoral defense at the Norwegian Academy of Music. I have previously participated in doctoral disputations at two of the other major Nordic music academies: Malmo Academy of Music (Lund University) and Sibelius Academy (University of the Arts Helsinki), but each institution has slightly different procedures.

Image source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Midt.jpg


Global Competence Partnership Launch

The Global Competence Partnership project is fully underway now, and on May 15 we will host a group of 20 professors, doctoral students, and university leaders from the Education University of Hong Kong at our campus in Bergen, Norway.

Our visitors will participate in an MOU signing ceremony (between Rector and Vice President), and have a shared doctoral symposium with PhD students from Western Norway University of Applied Sciences.   

Below are links related to the Global Competence Partnership project and its May 15 launch event:

Click HERE for the project website.

Click HERE for the symposium program.

Shown above is a photo taken of curving train tracks, just a ten-minute walk from my home by the lake in Norway. Life often takes us on a curvy path, but eventually we go in the right direction. 


Global Philosophy of Education PhD Course

April 2023, and we are busily preparing to offer the course PhD911 Non-Western Educational Philosophy and Policy, now that the administration has completed its admissions process. I am pleased to report that we had 34 applicants from universities in 17 countries: Ghana, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Uganda, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Iceland, Finland, UAE, Iran, Bangladesh, India, China, Australia, Canada, and the USA.

The course runs during the first two weeks of May 2023 as an entirely online doctoral seminar, and its live discussion sessions will be planned for compatibility with the various time zones. Later, the students will work on their writing assignment with some individual tutoring. It is exciting to see such interest in this topic, and I am hopeful that we will learn much from each other and collectively produce some unique outcomes.

The first two cohorts of this course (2020-2022) produced the book Comparative and Decolonial Studies in Philosophy of Education, and hopefully the 2023 cohort will also develop plans for a collaborative project of some kind.

The images shown here are from the beautiful Faroe Islands, where I serve on a PhD committee as an Affiliate Professor at University of Faroe Islands.


Music of the Faroe Islands

The Faroe Islands is an autonomous territory of 18 islands located north of Scotland, between Iceland and Norway. With roots traceable to a teacher’s seminary founded in 1870, the University of the Faroe Islands is located in the capital city Torshavn (pictured here).   

It is a pleasure to have the opportunity to serve as a supervisory professor on the PhD dissertation committee of Knut Eysturstein at University of the Faroe Islands. Knut is researching music traditions of the Faroe Islands and ways of sustaining traditional music through school education.


Qatari and Uzbek Music Dissertation

I am happy to announce that Dr. Nasser Sahim Aljassim successfully defended his PhD degree in musicology at the Uzbekistan State Conservatory of Music, Tashkent at the end of March 2023. It was a pleasure to serve as the doctoral opponent (external examiner) for his unique doctoral dissertation comparing music traditions in Qatar and Uzbekistan.

Dr. Nasser Sahim is an accomplished musician who works with the Qatar Foundation and Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra. His main supervisor was professor Elnora Mamadjanova. The dissertation is available in multiple languages.


Comparison and Decoloniality

It is a pleasure to announce that our book Comparative and Decolonial Studies in Philosophy of Education has just been published, and is now available as a download via SpringerLink.

Here is a link to the website for that: https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-981-99-0139-5

This book is designed to stimulate alternative ways of understanding the nature and value of education based on historically-informed awareness of ideas from parts of the world that experienced colonization.


Wonderment of Arts in a Fragile World

I look forward to giving a keynote speech soon for the Arts Education Symposium at the Technical University of Kenya. My title is Rediscovering the Wonderment of Arts in a Fragile World, and it will address some of the main themes and lessons learned from some recent research and development projects.

Below is a poster for this event, and here is a link for more information about the symposium: https://tukenya.ac.ke/eap-symposium

Kenya is a nation with a rich artistic heritage and innovative work in arts education fields, so it is exciting to have this opportunity to interact with scholars and educators there, but this keynote speech will necessarily be presented through videoconference.  

In the speech, I will describe some concepts and examples from my latest book, a recent article, and some current and ongoing projects (e.g. CABUTE, Music Talks, NNME, MusiPæd, HK-Global Competence, Sympathetic Resonance, etc.).

Below are links to some other keynote speeches I have recently presented in Uganda and China, as well as the poster for the event in Kenya:





Resilience Studies in Spain

It is a pleasure to be visiting Spain (first Madrid, and then on to Granada, and finally Malaga) as my first research trip in the RESUPERES project, an EU Erasmus Plus initiative for interdisciplinary and comparative study of resilience in higher education.

We look forward to developing a clearer understanding of how the Norwegian and arts components of the project will integrate with the rest of this initiative with partners in Spain, Portugal, Italy, and Serbia.



Doctoral Defense in Luxembourg

It was a pleasure to serve this week on the PhD examining committee for Dr. Miwa Chiba at University of Luxembourg. Chiba’s dissertation is titled Comparing Inclusive (Music) Education in Luxembourg and Japan, a study that contributes to the fields of inclusive education, comparative education, and music education policy studies. My role was as the external examiner along with Kanae Nishioka from Kyoto University. Chiba's dissertation supervisor was sociologist of education Justin Powell, and other committee members included Damien Sagrillo and Christina Siry. 

University of Luxembourg is a multilingual public research university with a growing profile, and its Belval campus features unique architecture built around the impressive historic structures of what had been Europe’s largest center for steel manufacture.

Dr. Chiba has articles appearing in various research journals as well as a chapter in the book Comparative and Decolonial Studies in Philosophy of Education.

Congratulations to Dr. Miwa Chiba!



PhD 911 Non-Western Educational Philosophy, 2023

We are happy to announce that a unique doctoral course PhD 911 Non-Western Educational Philosophy and Policy will be offered in the late spring: May 4-12, 2023. This 5-ECTS (fully accredited) course is presented entirely online, free of charge through Western Norway University of Applied Sciences, to qualified PhD students in Norway and around the world.

Offered for only a few years so far, the course already has a good record for producing publications. The very first cohort of this course (2020-2021) developed a special issue of a refereed journal, and the second cohort (2021-2022) collaborated with the first cohort to produce a book together on Springer press (see below). The 2023 cohort will also be encouraged to develop a scholarly publication together.

Do you know a doctoral student in education, philosophy, area studies, or a related field, who might be interested in joining this course? The application deadline is 23 March 2023. 

Please share with colleagues!

Here are links for more information:











Shared Listenings

After some delays with the press, our book on intercultural music projects will soon be formatted and published: Shared Listenings: Methods for Transcultural Music Performance and Research. In less than two weeks, the final version will be returned to Cambridge University Press.

Co-authored by Stefan Ostersjo, David Hebert, Thanh Thuy Nguyen, and Henrik Frisk, this book is an outcome of the Musical Transformations project in Vietnam. We received unusually positive feedback from two reviewers, and we are confident the book will be valuable for musicians, composers, and researchers interested in intercultural music projects.

Click HERE for more information. Note: The above image is of a Vietnamese "moon lute" collected during the project, but is not the actual book cover. 

Guest Lecture by Emily Akuno

UPDATE: This event has been postponed. 

We are pleased to announce that Professor Emily Achieng’ Akuno will be giving a guest lecture on arts leadership at Western Norway University of Applied Sciences on 22 March 2023.

Dr. Akuno is Professor of Music Education at the Technical University of Kenya, in Nairobi, and has recently served as Deputy Vice Rector for the Co-operative University of Kenya. 

In recent years she has held roles as President of the International Society for Music Education and President of the International Music Council (UNESCO). Her book Music Education in Africa: Concept, Process, and Practice was published by Routledge in 2019.

Here are links for more information about Prof. Akuno:





Arts in Cultural Diplomacy

This summer, a panel of very interesting papers will be presented for the Research Committee for Sociology of Arts, part of the International Sociological Association, for the XX ISA World Congress of Sociology, Melbourne, Australia (June 25-July 1, 2023). 

Founded in 1949 under the auspices of UNESCO, the ISA is the leading scholarly organization for the field of sociology, with around 4,500 members in 167 countries worldwide 

Below is the abstract and list of paper presentations for the Arts in Cultural Diplomacy session, for which I am the organizing Chair. Accomplished researchers from universities in Australia, Brazil, France and Norway will contribute to the session:


Arts in Cultural Diplomacy

Researchers are increasingly examining how music and other arts are used in cultural diplomacy initiatives. In such contexts, the arts function as a form of "soft power" that deflects attention to universally appreciated aspects of a local or national culture even under circumstances that are complicated for international or bilateral relations. Cultural diplomacy through arts thereby serves as a bridge that enables reduction of hostilities through affirmation of mutual appreciation and shared humanity. Sociological theory is only beginning to develop adequate explanations of the mechanisms of arts in cultural diplomacy, particularly when it comes to diplomacy of non-western nations toward the west in a postcolonial era. New studies in this field may seek to provide robust quantitative or qualitative descriptions as well as refinement of theoretical models to enhance explanation of phenomena and processes associated with arts diplomacy.




The Affordances of Musical Participation and Improvisation for Conflict Transformation 

Ryan MARTIN, University of New South Wales, Australia


Beyond Carnegie Hall: Strategies and Mediations in the Promotion of Bossa Nova in the United States
, University of São
Paulo, Brazil


Beyond Bellephonic Sound: Musical Diplomacies in the Ukraine War
Frederic RAMEL
, SciencesPo, France


Transnational TV Series and Cultural Diplomacy: A Case Study
Dimitra Laurence LAROCHELLE
, Université Sorbonne Nouvelle-Paris 3, France


More details will be posted here later this year.