A with celloI teach Classics at Jesus College Oxford, and research the cultures of ancient Greece and Rome. I also perform as a cellist, formerly my profession, and did so in my TEDx talk. My current work is on the sound of ancient Greek music, a topic that spans my interests in Classics, music, poetry, psychology — and innovation.

imagesI write a clog i.e. an intermittent blog;  posts are listed on the left.images

Hearing ancient Greek music

_60565028_ancientgreece304Supported by a British Academy Fellowship, in 2013-15 I investigated ancient Greek music, as described in Song of the Sirens. The project will continue for years to come as new evidence comes to light and instruments are reconstructed.


News 2016

imgres23 Jul:  Oxford has awarded me a Knowledge Exchange Fellowship 2016-17 to reconstruct and film a chorus of Euripidean music;  a few bars of the original are preserved on papyrus (left).

BritishMuseum16 Jul:  A unique research-driven performance of ancient Greek music was presented in the magnificent setting of the Nereid Gallery in the British Museum. Performers drawn from across the UK and Europe played reconstructions of ancient double-pipes (auloi), flutes, and kitharas, captivating a 300-strong audience with sounds and musical texts derived from ancient sources, some of which date back thousands of years.

4 July: Keynote Lecture at King’s College London Conference: Sounds of the Hellenic World.

5 April:  Radio programme on the history of vegetarianism: I speak about Pythagoras and the basis of musical intervals, and sing a line of an Orphic Hymn at 22 mins 10.


Sep 2015: My TED lesson ‘The Ancient Origins of the Olympic Games’ imageshas been viewed over 300,000 times. (My TED ‘Eureka’ has been going since March 2015 – see below – and been accessed more than twice as many times).

Aug 2015     On BBC WS Newshour I talk about the Homer’s Iliad.

The Deccan Herald, has published an article imgreson my research project.

Jul 2015    In memoriam Martin WestWest Lord Mallard

May 2015  BBC4 Sappho: I Sappho_Postcard_8_JPEGspeak at 26.30 mins about the music of Sappho’s songs.

Mar 2015    ArchimedesTEDed lesson Archimedes’ Eureka moment, has been viewed over 600,000 times.

A podcast of my talk on innovation at the Oxford Business School event (4 March) ‘Engaging with the Humanities’.

Feb 2015  LSE Literary Festival: with Fiona Sampson and Ian Bostridge (podcast here).


July 2014 BBC Online:    10 mysteries from ancient Greece.

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Mar 2014  Great review of my book  in Classical Review: ‘erudite, eloquent and wholly engaging’.

BBC Online (Oct 2013)my project to_70644615_010083090-1
reconstruct ancient Greek music.

Radio interviews:
 1) CBC Canada: in which I hum the tune of the Iliad. 
 2) Newstalk Ireland (from 49.42 mins): Elvis and the Greeks.
 3) NPR USA with Scott Simon:(Dec ’13) singing Homer.

Daily Mail Online article (29 Oct 2013): ‘100% accurate’ is, of course, quoted out of context.


Dec 2013    TLS review by Prof. Helen Morales describes my Sappho 31 reconstruction as ‘bold and beautiful’. 

Oct 2013     Black tI translate into Latin a motto on a rock band T-shirt.

Aug 2013       Blackwell’s Bookshop interviews me about the Julio-Claudian dynasty, with questions about: 1) sources, 2)  the empire 3)  Claudius 4) Rome and 5) modern parallels.

imgresSarah_Palin_by_Gage_Skidmore_2 July 2013     My article Plato and Play in American Journal of Playspurred by a misattribution to Plato by Sarah Palin of the idea that ‘you can learn more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation’.

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Jan 2013    Review of my book in Bryn Mawr Classical Review: ‘dazzling…fascinating…not to be missed’.

Other activities

I’ve completed a book about creativity and innovation called Eureka, to be published by Princeton University Press. 

VenusMy article on restoring Sappho’s poem ‘He seems to me…’ (fr. 31) is summarised here.

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