A with cello

NEW: 4-minute taster filmed by BBC History for ‘The Secrets of Ancient Greek Music’.

Enter the password  greek into the box below.

Since October 2000 I have taught at Oxford as Classics tutor at Jesus College. My main area of research is the culture of ancient Greece –  its language, poetry, music, society, history, and influence. I formerly studied piano and cello at the Royal College of Music. Music informs my current research, and I play in a piano trio.

In 2013 the British Academy and Jesus College awarded me two years research leave (up to Oct 2015) to reconstruct the sounds of ancient Greek music. This involves investigating contemporary practices in Greece, Turkey and Sardinia which derive from ancient traditions of music and performance — mousikē (μουσική). I also hope to make a film, for which BBC History has filmed a pilot (see above).

Just out: review of my book in Classical Review March 2014 — ‘erudite, eloquent and wholly engaging’ (and that’s just the review).

BBC Online (Oct 2013): my project to_70644615_010083090-1
reconstruct ancient Greek music.
                     Radio interviews:
 1) CBC Canada: humming the Iliad. 
 2) Newstalk Ireland from 49.42: doing an Elvis.
 3) NPR USA with Scott Simon: singing some Homer.

Daily Mail Online article (29 Oct 2013): the extravagant claim about 100% accuracy was taken out of context.

I don’t write a blog – more of a clog (i.e. a very intermittent and irregular blog). Posts are listed on the left. 


Mar 2014    Norwegian TV asks me in my decanal capacity about admissions to Oxford.
Jan 2014     My piece in Oxford Today explains the genesis of my project to reconstruct Greek music.


Dec 2013    Review of my book by Josiah Ober in latest Journal of Hellenic Studies (‘engaging and significant’ [see no.9 in Reviews]). Lovely comment in TLS review by Helen Morales about my Sappho 31 reconstruction (‘bold and beautiful’). Radio talk about my project on NPR America with Scott Simon.

Oct 2013     Nice review of Greeks and the New (‘a ‘rich and remarkable book’) in Common Black tKnowledge by Rachel HadasI 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) historical sources, 2) how stable was the empire?, 3) what about Claudius? 4) ‘all roads lead to Rome’, and 5) can we compare the modern world?

imgresSarah_Palin_by_Gage_Skidmore_2 July 2013     My article on 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’. That’s not Plato.
June 2013    Among those I taught Beginners’ Greek at UCL in 1995 was Chris Martin, subsequent founder of pop group Coldplay, who discusses with me how ancient Greek song and modern music compare. 


Mar 2013    The British Academy awards me a Research Fellowship to investigate ancient Greek music. 

GAN cover

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

Getting in the Flow

Trio31-168x300A talk on Innovation and ‘the classic’, with cello, for TED Oxbridge. Watch and listen here.

Other activities

I’ve completed a book about creativity and innovation called Eureka and am looking forward to its publication by Princeton University Press. I’m active in Classics outreach to schools, including Hackney college BSix.  I’m organising a conference on Greek music in July 2014, and awaiting publication of articles on Greek aesthetics, commentaries, and music. I support International Bridges for Justice, an organisation that aims to end routine investigative torture in non-political settings around the world: I gave a cello recital to accompany its President Karen Tse‘s presentation to funders in Davos in Jan. 2014.

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

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