Institut für Musikforschung

Prof. Dr. Juniper Hill

Professor and Chair of Ethnomusicology

Tel. +49 931 31-82952


Juniper Hill is an Ethnomusicologist with additional interests in Performance Practice Studies and Music Education. Originally from California, she holds a B.A. with High Honors in Music and Latin American Studies from Wesleyan University (1998), and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology from the University of California, Los Angeles (2001, 2005). She is a Henriette Herz Scout of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and is currently working on the research project "Learning from Ethnomusicology and Our Neighbors:  Musical Heritage, Creativity, and Intercultural Engagement" supported by the Volkswagen Foundation. Previous awards include a Marie Curie Intra-European Research Fellowship (2012-2013), two Fulbright Fellowships (2011, 2002-2003), an Alexander von Humboldt Research Fellowship (2007-2008), and a University of California Faculty Fellowship (2005-2006), among others. She has held teaching positions at the University College Cork (2009-2017), the University of California (2005-2007) and Pomona College (2006), as well as research affiliations with the University of Cambridge (2012-2016), the AHRC Research Centre for Musical Performance as Creative Practice (2012-2014), the University of Cape Town (2011-2014), the Sibelius Academy (2002-2013), the University of Bamberg (2007-2008), and the University of San Francisco in Quito, Ecuador (1999-1997).

Research Interests

  • Migration and intercultural engagement
  • Creative agency, creative development, improvisation, and performance practice
  • Music revival and cultural sustainability
  • Pedagogy, musician training, and institutionalization
  • Applied Ethnomusicology and Community Music

Prof. Hill’s current research focuses on the diversity of heritage music practices in Germany, including by musicians with migration background and local Franconian folk musicians. She is exploring how immigrants and new Germans creatively maintain and adapt their musical traditions in new settings, how Franconian folk musicians respond to cultural change, and how community music may be used to increase intercultural engagement and empathy. Her current project, “Learning from Ethnomusicology and Our Neighbors: Musical Heritage, Creativity, and Intercultural Engagement,” is supported by the Volkswagen Foundation and uses community-participatory action research methods to collaborate with diverse local musicians and generate learning materials for the public.

In previous research projects, Prof. Hill has conducted extensive cross-cultural and cross-idiomatic research on creative agency. She examined how multiple cultural and sociopolitical factors – including postcolonial and economic inequalities, cultural beliefs and values, and formal and informal learning methods – shape the extent to which musicians acquire or fail to acquire the capacity, motivation, and authority to be creative. She has also studied the transnational power dynamics at play in intercultural musical appropriations and fusions, as well as how music revivals selectively engage and reimagine the past in order to serve contemporary cultural and political agendas. On these topics she has conducted fieldwork in South Africa, Finland, the United States, and Ecuador. Her books include the monograph Becoming Creative: Insights from Musicians in a Diverse World and the co-edited volume The Oxford Handbook of Music Revival (with Prof. Caroline Bithell). She has also published twenty essays in the journals Ethnomusicology, Revue de Musicologie, Ethnomusicology Forum, Musiikin Suunta, Pacific Review of Ethnomusicology, and Yearbook for Traditional Music and in numerous edited volumes, including Musical Imaginations: Multidisciplinary perspectives on creativity, performance and perception, Musicians in the Making: Pathways to Creative Performance, and The Oxford Handbook of Philosophical and Qualitative Assessment in Music Education.

Teaching repertoire

  • Theorizing Music and Culture; Theorizing Music as Social Process; History and Theory of Ethnomusicology
  • Ethnographic and Qualitative Research Methods; Field Research
  • Research Seminar in Ethnomusicology
  • Music in Culture and Society
  • Developing Creativity in Music
  • Improvisation in Cross-Cultural Perspective
  • Gender and Sexuality in Traditional and Popular Musics
  • Introduction to World Music; Introduction to Non-European Art Musics
  • Power, Politics, and Identity in South African Music; Narratives of South African Music
  • Latin American Music
  • Finnish Music from Ancient to Avant-Garde
  • Musical Heritages and Social Dynamics in the United States; American Folk Music
  • American shape note singing (listen to the community singing formed by Hill’s former students at the Cork Sacred Harp Singers’ YouTube channel)
  • Andean music and dance ensembles
  • Creatively Courageous, an improvisation-based performance laboratory