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John O'Connell  MA (Oxon), MA (UCLA), PhD (UCLA), AGSM

Professor John O'Connell

MA (Oxon), MA (UCLA), PhD (UCLA), AGSM

Director of Research


I am an Irish ethnomusicologist with a specialist interest in cultural history. I have recently completed a monograph on music and commemoration as it relates to the Gallipoli Campaign from the perspective of the Australians and the Turks, the British and the Germans, amongst others (see O’Connell 2017). I also explore the issues of militarism and orientalism with respect to Irish recruits in the military catastrophe, my own family in particular having an ongoing connection with the Ottoman Empire. Some of my ancestors were administrators and soldiers in Ottoman territories, and others were diplomats and doctors in the Ottoman capital (see Figure 1). Significantly, a number of my relatives were either killed or wounded in the Gallipoli Campaign (see Figure 2).

This research builds upon my established interest in the music of the Middle East. It also draws upon my continued research on music in conflict zones. These academic strands have resulted in significant outputs in the form of a monograph (see O’Connell 2013) and a collection (see O’Connell Ed. 2010) respectively. I recently completed (with Susan H. Motherway) a project that concerns staged folklore in Ireland. I am currently undertaking research on Ottoman music in Egypt during the nineteenth century. In addition, I have conducted impact related research in the Muslim world in association with the Aga Khan Humanities Project (see O’Connell 2015) and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (2014).

Forthcoming Publications:

O’Connell, John M. 2023. ‘A Tale of Two Ṭarabs: Intercultural Music in the late-Ottoman Empire (1908-1922)’. In Michael Frishkopf, Scott Marcus and Dwight Reynolds Eds. Ṭarab: Music, Ecstasy, Emotion and Performance. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press.

O’Connell, John M. 2023. ‘Colonial Ambiguities: Military Music in Egypt (1798-1848)’. In Erin Johnson Williams, Roe-Min Kok and Yvonne Liao Eds. The Oxford Handbook of Music Colonialism. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.







  • O'Connell, J. M. 2018. Bedî Mensî: Arel ve Ahenk. In: Turan, I. F., Temel, E. and Kurban, E. eds. 2017 Arel Sempozyumu bildirileri: Uluslararası Hüseyin Sadettin Arel ve Türk Müziği Sempozyumu (13-14 Aralık 2017)., Vol. 5247. Istanbul: Türkiyat Araştırmaları Enstitüsü, pp. 341-350.



















Book sections



  • O'Connell, J. M. 2017. Usûlsüz: a matter of meter in the concerts of Münir Nurettin Selçuk. Presented at: Rhythmic Cycles and Structures in the Art Music of the Middle East, Munster, Germany, 27-28 February 2014 Presented at Helvacı, Z., Olley, J. and Jäger, R. M. eds.Rhythmic Cycles and Structures in the Art Music of the Middle East. Ergon Verlag


My research concerns the musical traditions of the Muslim world, with a secondary area of expertise in the musical traditions of Europe. Other areas of interest include the significance of hermeneutic theory and historical ethnography for ethnomusicology. In 2013, I published a monograph on Turkish style in the early-Republican period (1923-1938). In 2010, I edited a scholarly collection that concerns music and conflict in a global perspective. Further, I have recently published chapters on music and humanism, music and classicism, and music and architecture. In 2017, I completed my latest monograph on music and commemoration as it relates to the Gallipoli Campaign (1915-1916). I am currently looking at Turkish music in Khedival Egypt during the late-Ottoman Empire.

I have acted as a music consultant for a number of international organizations, being awarded a Senior Fulbright Fellowship in association with the Aga Khan Humanities Project (2002) and a Getty Foundation Grant to participate in its International Summer Institute (2006). I was also awarded an AHRC fellowship (2014) for a project entitled ‘The God Article’. I have hosted a variety of international conferences including the 15th ICTM International Colloquium (2004) and the annual conference of the British Forum for Ethnomusicology (2008). I was reviews editor for the journal Ethnomusicology. I am currently a member of the editorial boards for the SOAS Musicology Series, Ethnomusicology Forum and the Journal of the Ottoman and Turkish Studies Association, amongst others.


I offer a range of lectures and seminars. At an undergraduate level, I teach the following lectures: 'Music in Human Life' (Year 1), 'Music in Cross-Cultural Perspective' (Year 2) and 'Project in Ethnomusicology' (Year 3). At a postgraduate level, I teach the following seminars: 'The Anthropology of Music', 'Methods in Ethnomusicology', 'The World of Music', 'Doing Ethnomusicology', 'The Language of Music' and 'Music and Discourse'. I also offer specialist seminars that concern music in the Middle East and music in the Celtic world. My doctoral students are currently completing research on musical topics in the Celtic world, the Balkans, and Turkey.



  • 1996: PhD (Ethnomusicology) UCLA, USA
  • 1992: MA (Music) UCLA, USA
  • 1986: AGSM (Performance) Guildhall School of Music, UK
  • 1985: MA (Geography) Oxford University, UK
  • 1982: BA (Geography) Oxford University, UK

Fellowships: Selected

  • 2006: Getty Foundation Internship, Koç Üniversitesi, Turkey
  • 2002: Fulbright Senior Scholar Award, Brown University, USA
  • 2001: Music Consultant, Aga Khan Humanities Project, Tajikistan
  • 1992: Turkish Government Fellowship, İstanbul Üniversitesi, Turkey
  • 1991: Graduate Distinguished Scholar, UCLA, USA
  • 1990: DAAD Fellowship, Freie Universität, Germany
  • 1988: Graduate Fellowship, UCLA, USA
  • 1987: Research Associate, York University, UK

Academic positions

Permanent Appointments:

  • Otago University (Lecturer)
  • University of Limerick (Senior Lecturer)
  • Cardiff University (Professor)

Visiting Appointments:

  • Queen's University (Visiting Lecturer)
  • Brown University (Visiting Professor)
  • Haverford College (Distinguished Visiting Professor), among others