Thomas Burkhalter

Dr. Thomas Burkhalter [*1973], an ethnomusicologist, music journalist, and cultural producer from Bern (Switzerland), completed his post-doc research project “Global Niches – Music in a Transnational World” at the Zurich University of the Arts in March in 2014, and currently works as a researcher at the University of Basel (Seminar for Cultural Studies and European Ethnology) and the University of Arts Bern (HKB). He is the founder and editor-in-chief of Norient – Network for Local and Global Sounds and Media Culture. He published the book Local Music Scenes and Globalization: Transnational Platforms in Beirut with Routledge (2013) and co-edited the book The Arab Avant-Garde: Music, Politics, Modernity with Kay Dickinson and Benjamin J. Harbert with Wesleyan University Press (November 2013). As an academic, journalist (radio, print, and online in Switzerland and Germany), organizer of the Norient Musikfilm Festival, artist (audio-visual performances “Sonic Traces: From Switzerland”, “Sonic Traces: From the Arab World”, and the exhibition project “Zeitgenössische Kunst aus dem Nahen Osten” at Zentrum Paul Klee, 2009), documentary filmmaker (Buy More Incense, 2000; Sound Translations, with Recycled TV, ongoing), arts funder (member of the board of the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia, 2002–2010; member of the music commission of the Canton of Bern, since 2010; member of funding board Südkulturfonds, ArtLink/DEZA), he places great emphasis on transdisciplinary approaches between theory and practice.


Out of the Absurdity of Life: Globale Musik. Traversion.
Local Music Scenes and Global Platforms in Beirut. Routledge.
The Arab Avant-Garde: Music, Politics, Modernity. Wesleyan University Press.

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A photo of Thomas Burkhalter
Thomas Burkhalter. Photo: Private