Dr Brian Diettrich

Dr Brian Diettrich profile picture

Senior Lecturer, Ethnomusicology School of Music


Teaching in 2020


BA - Baldwin Wallace University

MA and PhD - University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa


  • Senior Lecturer, Music Studies - Ethnomusicology

Research interests

Ethnomusicology, Pacific Island and Indigenous musics/performance, music and environment, ecomusicology, music ethnography, sound studies, social media and online music communities, festivals, musical instruments, sound recordings, archives, repatriation, and heritage.


Brian Diettrich (PhD, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa) is Senior Lecturer in Ethnomusicology at Victoria. He teaches courses in critical approaches to ethnomusicology, about music in performance events, popular culture, and film, and with a focus on the Pacific, New Zealand, and in global cultures. Brian supervises postgraduate research projects in ethnomusicology, ethnography, Pacific, Māori, and Indigenous musics, and in related areas.

Brian’s research focuses on music in the Pacific Islands, and since 2000 he has undertaken projects in the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), and also in Palau, the Marshall Islands, and among Micronesian migrant communities in Hawai‘i. Since 2015 Brian has served as Chair of the ICTM Study Group on Music and Dance of Oceania, and in 2016 he organized the international symposium “Performing the Past, Sustaining the Future” on the island of Guam. Brian has regularly undertaken educational and community music projects in the Pacific, and he formerly taught music and performance in the FSM. Brian has been a Visiting Scholar in Ethnomusicology at National Taiwan Normal University and Nara University of Education in Japan. His recent publications explore the close links between indigenous performance and environment in the Pacific. He is also working on a book manuscript about the history of performance and empire in the Caroline Islands, as well as projects with the Centre de Recherche et de Documentation sur l'Océanie (Paris) and Oxford University Press.

Brian is editor for the biannual Newsletter of the ICTM Study Group on Music and Dance of Oceania, an open-access publication that features new research, performances, and events in the region, and is found here: https://ictmusic.org/group/music-dance-oceania

Postgraduate supervision

Current projects

The Relationships between Ngāti Ruakā, Whanganui Awa, and Hapū Waiata

Ngā Waiata Tuku Iho: The Legacy Of Tribal Song Traditions

Classical Polynesia: Samoan Opera

Samoan Identity Through Composition: The Agony of Asking

“Toying with the “Other”: Analysing Gender Subversion in Indo-Fijian Performance

Past projects

Whanganui Kaiponu: Ngāti Ruakā Methodologies for the Preservation of Hapū Waiata and Oral Taonga

Irish Music in Wellington: A Study of a Local Music Community

The Clarinet as Extension of the Voice and Expressive Conduit of Musical Styles in Diverse Ensembles

Na Suklit: Benny Sokkong and the Bamboo Musical Instruments of the Kalinga

The Forgotten Soundtrack of Maoriland: Imagining the Nation Through Alfred Hill’s Songs for Rewi's Last Stand

The Acquisition Process of Recognition: Musical Performance in New Zealand

Menginpehn Lien Pohnpei: A Poetic Ethnography of Urohs

Māori Performing Arts and the Weaving of Local, National and International Communities

Outside In: Wellington Jazz Among the Discourses

Voices in the Reo: Music, Community and Membership in a Rātana Brass Band



Diettrich, Brian, Jane Freeman Moulin, Michael Webb. 2011. Music in Pacific Island Cultures: Experiencing Music, Expressing Culture. Book and CD. New York: Oxford University Press.

Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles

Diettrich, Brian. 2018 [in press]. “A Sea of Voices: Performance, Relations, and Belonging in Saltwater Places.” Yearbook for Traditional Music 50.

Diettrich, Brian. 2018. “Tracking Flutes on Nineteenth-Century Pohnpei: Queries about Instruments and their Movements in the Colonial Pacific.” The Galpin Society Journal LXXI:207–220 (159, colour plate).

Diettrich, Brian. 2018. “Summoning Breadfruit” and “Opening Seas”: Towards a Performative Ecology in Oceania. Ethnomusicology 62(1):1–27.

Diettrich, Brian. 2017. “Instruments in Motion: Flutes, Harmonicas, and the Interplay of Sound and Silence in Colonial Micronesia.” Journal of the Polynesian Society 126(3):283-311.

Diettrich, Brian. 2016. "Virtual Micronesia: Performance and Participatory Culture in a Pacific Facebook Community." Perfect Beat 17(1):52-70.

Diettrich, Brian. 2015. “Performing Arts as Cultural Heritage in the Federated States of Micronesia.” International Journal of Heritage Studies 21(7):660-673.

Diettrich, Brian. 2011. Voices from “Under-the-Garland”: Singing, Christianity, and Cultural Transformations in Chuuk, Micronesia. Yearbook for Traditional Music 43:62-88.

Diettrich, Brian. 2011. ‘Keeper-of-the-Drum’: Silent Objects and Musical Pasts of Pohnpei, Micronesia. The Galpin Society Journal LXIV:219-242 (196-97, color plates).

Diettrich, Brian. 2007. Across All Micronesia and Beyond: Innovation and Connections in Chuukese Popular Music and Contemporary Recordings. The World of Music 49(1):65-81.

Book Chapters

Diettrich, Brian. 2018. “Returning Voices: Repatriation as Shared Listening Experiences.” In The Oxford Handbook of Musical Repatriation, edited by Frank Gunderson and Bret Woods. New York: Oxford University Press.  http://www.oxfordhandbooks.com/view/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780190659806.001.0001/oxfordhb-9780190659806-e-9

Diettrich, Brian. 2018. “Ephemerality and Permanence: Situating Performance as Intangible Cultural Heritage.” In Cultural Heritage Care and Management, edited by Cecilia L. Salvatore, pp. 29–42. Lanham: Maryland: Rowman and Littlefield.

Diettrich, Brian. 2017. “Chanting Diplomacy: Music, Conflict, and Social Cohesion in Micronesia.” In A Distinctive Voice in the Antipodes: Essays in Honour of Stephen A. Wild, edited by Kirsty Gillespie, Sally Treloyn, and Don Niles, pp. xv-xvi, 195-218. Canberra: Australian National University.

Diettrich, Brian. 2016. “Cultural Disjunctures and Intersections: Indigenous Musics and School-Based Education in Micronesia.” Intersecting Cultures in Music and Dance Education: An Oceanic Perspective, edited by Linda Ashley and David Lines, pp. 33-48. Springer.

Diettrich, Brian. 2009. “Musik und die Inselumwelt in Mikronesien (Music and the Island World of Micronesia).” In Südsee Oasen: Leben und Überleben im Westpazifik, edited and translated by Ingrid Hermann, pp.135-37. Exhibition book for Power and Aesthetics: Traditional Life in Micronesia. Linden-Museum, Stuttgart, Germany.

Diettrich, Brian. 2007. “Listening Encounters: Sound Recordings and Cultural Meaning from Chuuk State, Micronesia”. In Oceanic Music Encounters: Essays in Honour of Mervyn McLean, edited by Richard Moyle, pp. 47-58. University of Auckland, Department of Anthropology.

Reference Works

Diettrich, Brian. 2017. “Mikronesien”. In Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart, edited by Ilka Sührig. Germany: Bärenreiter and Metzler.

Diettrich, Brian. 2017. “Micronesia: Music in History Culture Geography; Micronesia: Contemporary Performance Practice.” The Sage Encyclopedia of Ethnomusicology, edited by Janet L. Sturman. Sage Publishing.

Diettrich, Brian. 2014. Entries on Micronesian instruments [Aangun, Aip, Didipwoapw, Filipwow, Keseng en tumwe, Keseng lepin rahu, Lepin tuhke, Peitehl, Tumtum ra lild, Upwut, and Wokun Kurukur]. In New Grove Dictionary of Musical Instruments. 2nd Edition. New York: Oxford University Press.


Diettrich, Brian. 2018 [in press]. Review of “Making Waves; Traveling Musics in Hawaiʻi, Asia, and the Pacific.” The World of Music (New Series) 7(2).

Diettrich, Brian. 2017. Review of “Sustainable Futures for Music Cultures: An Ecological Perspective.” Language Conservation & Revitalization 11:325–327.

Diettrich, Brian. 2017. Review of “Kīkā Kila: How the Hawaiian Steel Guitar Changed the Sound of Modern Music.” Journal of Pacific History 52(1):125-127.

Diettrich, Brian. 2017. Review of “The Pacific Festivals of Aotearoa New Zealand: Negotiating Place and Identity in a New Homeland,” by Jared Mackley-Crumb. The Asia Pacific Journal of Anthropology 18(1):97-99.

Diettrich, Brian. 2016. Review of three CDs: “Chelitakl: Early Reel-to-Reel Recordings from Palau”, “Sound Memories of Past Palau”; and “15 Favorite Japanese-influenced Palauan Songs/Derrebechesiil”. Yearbook for Traditional Music 48:232-233.

Diettrich, Brian. 2015. Review of “Hawaiian Music in Motion: Mariners, Missionaries, and Minstrels,” by James Carr. Journal of Pacific History 50(2):246-47.

Diettrich, Brian. 2013. Review of “Austronesian Soundscapes: Performing Arts in Oceania and Southeast Asia,” edited by Birgit Abels. Yearbook for Traditional Music 45:265-267.

Diettrich, Brian. 2008. Review of “Marshall Islands Musical Transitions: Marshallese String Band Music Today and Yesterday” (CD). The World of Music 50(2):143-44.

Diettrich, Brian. 2008. Review of “Guitar Style, Open Tunings, and Stringband Music in Papua New Guinea” by Denis Crowdy. The Contemporary Pacific 20(2):518-20.

Diettrich, Brian. 2008. Review of “The Nose Flute Breathes Again,” with Calvin Rore (CD), from the Oceania Center for Arts and Culture, University of the South Pacific. The Contemporary Pacific 20(1):265-66.

Diettrich, Brian. 2005. Review of “The Theory and Practice of the Music in the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Papua New Guinea” by Jennifer J. Jones. Yearbook for Traditional Music 37:169-70.


Teaching in 2020