A with cello

I work as Fellow and Tutor in Classics at Jesus College Oxford. My research focusses on the culture and literature of ancient Greece. I was trained both as classicist and musician, and play cello and piano (click on image left to hear my TEDx talk). This year I’m on leave from Oxford until October 2015 to pursue my research.

I don’t write a blog, but a clog i.e. a very intermittent and irregular weblog. Clog-posts are listed on the left of the page.

Research: hearing ancient Greek music

I am investigating the sounds of ancient Greek music and asking what they meant forimgres-3 Greek poetry (much of which was composed as song). I describe the project (see Song of the Sirens in list on the left) in a 4-minute pilot film, ‘The Secrets of Ancient Greek Music’. To watch it, click on the title or on this link, and enter the password greek into the box: https://vimeo.com/80564559



July 2014: Asked by the BBC to explain UK politicians’ use of the term ‘Trojan Horse’, I _76336656_92846723(3)explored ’10 questions in Greek history’ in an article aimed at promoting the subject to an English-speaking audience. The piece was distorted in some parts of the Greek press.

GAN coverMar 2014: Review of my book on the Greeks and the New in Classical Review — ‘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): extravagant claim about 100% accuracy – taken out of context.


Dec 2013    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’ (and that’s just the review).

Getting in the Flow

Trio31-168x300A 15-minute 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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