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John Griffiths

John Griffiths’ career revolves around Renaissance music and culture, especially solo instrumental music from Spain and Italy, and a reputation built on the vihuela and early Spanish music. He divides his days between research and performance of early plucked instruments — lute, vihuela and early guitars. He makes research and practice connect, whether it concerns instruments, performance practice, instrumental technique, or social history. His publications are spread across diverse areas of renaissance music history, early music pedagogy, style studies, organology, music printing, music in urban society, connections between written and oral traditions, music in Spanish Naples, and digital humanities.


He has performed widely in Australia, Europe, the USA and South America, both as a soloist and with ensemble La Romanesca which he co-founded in 1978. You will find him as author of numerous articles in standard reference works on music such as The New Grove Dictionary of Music, Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart and the Diccionario de la música española e hispanoamericana as well many books and articles.

He holds an honours degree in Arts and a PhD from Monash University and Doctor of Music from the University of Melbourne. Current positions include Honorary Professorial Fellow in the School of Languages and Linguistics at The University of Melbourne, Membre associé at the Centre d’Etudes Supérieures de la Renaissance in Tours, and chair of the International Musicological Society (IMS) Study group “Tablature in Western Music”. He is also Vice President of the International Musicological Society and Editor of the Journal of the Lute Society of America.  His contributions to music, scholarship have been recognised in Spain where he is an Officer of the Orden de Isabel la Católica (1993), the USA as a Corresponding Member of the American Musicological Society (2014) and at home as a Member of the Order of Australia (2019) and Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities (2006).

Former roles include director of early music studies at The University of Melbourne (1980-2011) and founder-director of the Early Music Studio, Founder of the Lyrebird Press at the University of Melbourne (2005-2011), Head of the Arts Section of the Australian Academy of the Humanities (2015-2017), President of the Musicological Society of Australia (2007-2008), and President of the Sociedad de la Vihuela in Spain (2016-2018).

John Griffiths, portrait 2013

More detail can be found at 


University of Melbourne, Find an expert

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