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Ethnomusicology Student of the Month - Felix Morgenstern

Friday, February 15, 2019   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Stephanie Sturgis
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Felix Morgenstern
Irish World Academy of Music and Dance, University of Limerick

Concentration of Study: Intercultural Musical Affinities, Global Irish Traditional Music Practices, Folk Music Revival, Irish-German Studies

Expected Date of Graduation: August 2020

Biography: Felix Morgenstern from Berlin, Germany is a PhD candidate in Ethnomusicology at the Irish World Academy of Music and DanceUniversity of Limerick under the joint supervision of Dr Aileen Dillane and Prof Dr Britta Sweers (University of Bern). His doctoral research, supported by an Irish Research Council Government of Ireland Postgraduate Scholarship Award, explores historical and contemporary narratives of Irish music-making in Germany. Drawing upon and extending Mark Slobin’s (1993) seminal theoretical framework for identifying dynamics of musically-mediated intercultural affinities, Felix’s research project evaluates the factors that have characterized the German engagement with and performance of Irish music both historically and in the present. Extensive ethnographic research and musicological analysis carried out among members of the German Irish music community uncovers narratives of identity negotiation, identifying how these dynamics recursively inform discursive mechanisms and the musical practice itself. In many ways, Felix’s research takes the study of Irish music as part of the ethnomusicological project into new terrain, uncovering and nuancing the various non-diasporic and post-ethnically configured dynamics that shape this intercultural musical affinity. A graduate of the B.A in Irish Music and Dance (2016) and M.A in Ethnomusicology (2018) programs at the University of Limerick, Felix has presented his undergraduate and early postgraduate work on the German Irish music scene and post-war German folk music revivals in the context of several European conferences and graduate workshops in ethnomusicology. In 2018, he secured a place in the competitive Hildesheim International Doctoral Workshop in Ethnomusicology, led by Prof Philip V. Bohlman, and delivered a paper as part of the first ‘Anthropology of Music’ extended masterclass with Prof Timothy D. Taylor at the University of Mainz. Felix is also an active practitioner of Irish traditional music, his main instruments being the bodhrán and the uilleann pipes. He has toured professionally as part of various ensembles and show productions across Europe, Russia and China, and is a member of the Irish traditional band The Conifers. The group were winners of the 2018 Michigan Irish Music Initiative Competition, performed at the Michigan Irish Music Festival later that year and released their self-titled debut album in January 2019. 


(2019 forthcoming) ‘From Ethnic to Sonic Irishness: The Experience of Irish Traditional Musicians in Germany’, Ethnomusicology Ireland, 6:2019.

(2019 forthcoming) ‘Die Rolle irischer Folkmusik im Rahmen des DDR-Folkrevivals (1976-1990): Von der klanglich-reflexiven zur inhaltlich-restaurativen Nostalgie eines Ersatz-Genres’, in Holfter, G., Byrnes, D. and Conacher, J., eds., Irish-German Studies 11: Exploring Connections Between Ireland and the GDR, Trier: WVT.

(2018) ‘Voices of ambiguity: The GDR folk music revival movement (1976-1990): exploring lived musical experience and post-war German folk music discourses’, Folk Life: Journal of Ethnological Studies, 56:2, 116-129, available: https://doi.org/10.1080/04308778.2018.1501956


  • Recipient – Irish Research Council Government of Ireland Postgraduate Scholarship (2018-2020)

  • Recipient – Irish World Academy Fee Waiver (2017)

  • Recipient – Irish World Academy of Music and Dance Stepping Stones Scholarship (2016)

  • Recipient – University of Limerick ‘UL40’ Scholarship (2012)

  • Nominee – Studienstiftung des Deutschen Volkes (German Academic Scholarship Foundation Award) (2012)



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