Tala Jarjour

Tala Jarjour

Faculty, Assistant Professor of Ethnomusicology, Concurrent Assistant Professor Department of Anthropology

Fellow of the Medieval Institute
Fellow of the Kellogg Institute for International Studies
Fellow of the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies

PhD, University of Cambridge                                                                        
MPhil, University of Cambridge                                                                   
MMus (Dual Degree), Ohio University                                                                             
BA, Higher Institute of Music in Damascus

105 Decio Hall

On leave 2015-2016
Yale University
ISM Fellow in Sacred Music, Worship, and the Arts 2015 – 2016
Visiting Assistant Professor in Ethnomusicology, Music Department (Spring 2016)

Tala Jarjour is an ethnomusicologist who studies music from the Arab World and the Middle East. She has a background in Historical Musicology and violin Performance. Her research interests include art and popular musics as well as music in the local academe. She is particularly interested in religious musics from the region – especially Levantine traditions such as Christian and Sufi musics – and focuses on Syriac chant. Her current research examines issues of contemporary modality and musical systems, identity, minority and ethno-religiosity, society and performance, emotion, survival, nation and power.

Her monograph on Syriac chant, with the working title Chanting Blessed Edessa: Syriac Spirituality and The Economy of Musical Aesthetics, is under contract with Oxford University Press. She has articles in publications by the British Forum for Ethnomusicology, the International Council for Traditional Music and Oxford University Press, among others. She has worked with and consulted for a number of artistic and academic entities in the Middle East, the United Kingdom and the USA, such as L’Arche, The Clerk’s, Al-Fanar and the Manchester International Festival. She has appeared on national and international media such as the BBC Radio 3 and CNN International, and has published articles in cultural media in the Arab world, such as Annahar and Assafir weeklies.

Recent awards include the Senior Fellowship at the Yale University Institute of Sacred Music, and the American Fellowship from the American Association of University Women (for research at Cambridge University). As a Gates Scholar and recipient of the Overseas Research Studentship Award Scheme, Jarjour wrote her PhD on the contemporary Syriac chant of Edessa as practised in the Syrian city of Aleppo. She did so under the supervision of Martin Stokes, at the University of Cambridge, where she also had the privilege of mentorship from Roger Parker. Jarjour came to Notre Dame from New York University NYC where she was Assistant Professor of Music on behalf of NYU Abu Dhabi.

With experience in curriculum design at New York University for its Abu Dhabi offshoot, and preceding that at the Higher Institute of Music in Damascus, Jarjour is working to develop the ethnomusicological dimension of music studies at Notre Dame, particularly in terms of studying sacred music in its wide geographic, historical and cultural variety. Based in the Department of Music, Jarjour has a concurrent appointment in the Department of Anthropology, and is on the faculty of the Sacred Music MSM and DMA Programs.

Besides offering a number of new courses in ethnomusicology at Notre Dame, Jarjour has been working on raising interest in ethnomusicology among students as well as the wider community on campus and beyond.  She encourages experiencing diversity in music through participatory research and performance.  A number of her courses encourage student engagement with the local community (in coordination with the Community Engagement Faculty Institute), as well as specialized engagement with professional musicians from the Middle East through vocal and instrumental workshops.  She has also started the Ethnomusicology Colloquium at Notre Dame in Spring 2013.