Professor Michael Beckerman awarded Irish Research Council – Harrison Medal 2021

Posted: 27 May, 2021


  • Medal recognises outstanding achievements and excellence in research in musicology. 
  • Professor Beckerman is a renowned scholar of Czech and eastern European music, film music, the music of the Roma (Gypsies), and music in the concentration camps. 


Michael Beckerman, Carroll and Milton Petrie Professor of Music and Collegiate Professor of Music at New York University, has been awarded the prestigious Irish Research Council – Harrison Medal 2021Awarded by the Society of Musicology in Ireland, the Harrison Medal recognises outstanding achievements and excellence in research in musicology.  


Professor Beckerman’s ground-breaking research explores the relationship between music and the world around us, with a particular emphasis on eastern European music, Jewish musical tradition and culture, and the music of the Roma (Gypsies). A renowned scholar of musicology, Beckerman has also been committed throughout his career to reaching wider audiences beyond the academic sphere, as a contributor to the New York Times and through his appearances on radio and television in the US, Europe and Japan. He has held many prestigious positions including the Leonard Bernstein Scholar in Residence at the New York Philharmonic 2016-17. 


A leading authority on Czech composers, Professor Beckerman has authored and edited seven books including Martinů’s Mysterious Accident, ed. (Pendragon Press, 2007), Janáček and his Worlded. (Princeton Press, 2003) and New Worlds of Dvořák (W.W. Norton, 2003). His research on musicians interned at the Terezín concentration camp in the summer of 1944 explores how the music composed there offers new insights into the concentration camp experience. Most recently Beckerman has explored Czech music history through the lens of infectious diseases, drawing parallels between the historic concerns of Czech composers and our current experience during the Covid-19 pandemic. 


Michael Beckerman at the Czech Centre, New York
















The IRC – Harrison Medal was inaugurated in 2004 by the Society of Musicology in Ireland in honour of Frank Llewellyn Harrison (1905-1987), the Irish musicologist who made a seminal contribution to the study of medieval music and to the study of ethnomusicology. Professor Beckerman will be delivering a special lecture to mark the award presentation ceremony during the Joint Plenary Conference of the Society for Musicology in Ireland and the Irish Chapter of the International for Traditional Music, 29 May 2021, 19.00 IST, held virtually this year. In advance of the lecture Professor Beckerman will be presented with the medal by the President of the Society for Musicology in Ireland, Professor Lorraine Byrne-Bodley, and Peter Brown, Director of the Irish Research Council. 


Professor Beckerman’s lecture, ‘“I Have Loved the Lands of Ireland,” and Other Adventures in the Timeless Past(oral),’ explores how music references certain experiences relating to the idea of a nostalgic idyll, looking at examples ranging from Seóirse Bodley’s Symphony No. 2 to Bohuslav Martinů’s Opening of the Wells, and from the soundtrack of Princess Mononoke, to the song ‘Cobweb of Dreams.’                


Join us for the presentation of the IRC-Harrison Medal to Professor Michael Beckerman, followed by Professor Beckerman’s lecture ‘“I Have Loved the Lands of Ireland,” and Other Adventures in the Timeless Past(oral),’ Saturday, 29 May 2021, 19:00 IST.

Register for Professor Beckerman’s lecture here.



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