Michael Frishkopf, BSc (Yale University), MA (Tufts University), PhD (UCLA)

Professor in Faculty of Arts and Adjunct Professor in Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, Faculty of Arts - Music Dept


Professor in Faculty of Arts and Adjunct Professor in Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, Faculty of Arts - Music Dept
(780) 492-0225
3-34D Arts Building (Main & Conv Hall)
113 St and 91 Ave
Edmonton AB
T6G 2E6



Michael Frishkopf, Professor of Music at the University of Alberta, is an ethnomusicologist, performer, and composer. A graduate of Yale College (BS Mathematics, 1984), Tufts University (MA Ethnomusicology, 1989), and the University of California, Los Angeles (Ph.D. Music, 1999), Dr. Frishkopf’s ethnomusicological research interests include music of the Arab world; Sufi music; sound in Islamic ritual performance; music and religion; comparative music theory; the sociology of musical taste; social network analysis; (virtual [world) music]; digital music repositories; deep learning for sound recognition and music information retrieval; music in West Africa; participatory action research; psychoacoustics and music cognition; music and global health; indigenous medicine and music as medicine for integrative health; and  music for global human development and social change.

His research and teaching combine a number of different fields, including ethnomusicology, anthropology, Middle East studies, religious/Islamic studies, psychoacoustics, computer science, media studies, literary studies, music theory. He is a lifetime member of the Society for Ethnomusicology, the International Council for Traditional Music, and the Middle East Studies Association of North America. 

He has received numerous fellowships supporting his research, including grants from Fulbright, the American Research Center in Egypt, the Social Science Research Council, the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, the Killam Foundation (Canada), the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada, supporting his extensive fieldwork in Egypt. 

In performance, Michael specializes in the nay (Middle Eastern reed flute), and also performs the song-drum-dance traditions of Ghana. He is the founder (in 2004) of the University of Alberta Middle Eastern and North African Music Ensemble, as well as the University of Alberta West African Music Ensemble (in 1999). Both ensembles perform frequently in public in the Edmonton area, especially to support progressive causes. He also performs “Third Stream” and world music inflected jazz on the piano, following studies with Ran Blake and others in the Third Stream program at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston. 

Please see frishkopf.org for more (including a list of publications, many of them online)


Areas of Research & Interest:

  • Ethnomusicology
  • Anthropology
  • Sociology
  • Stories of Change
  • Human Development
  • Migration and Refugee Studies
  • Music and Global Health
  • Social Network Analysis
  • Religious Studies
  • Islamic studies
  • Middle East studies
  • African Studies
  • Psychoacoustics
  • Machine Learning
  • Media studies
  • Virtual and Augmented Reality

See frishkopf.org for a list of publications (many of them online)


Areas of Instruction:

  • Ethnomusicological theory and practice
  • Music of Africa and the Middle East
  • Sounds of Islam
  • Social Network Analysis
Ensemble Instruction:

Middle Eastern and North African Music Ensemble (MENAME)

Outreach Instruction:
Ghana Summer Study Abroad Program

Scholarly Activities

Research - Aswan Music Project
Aswan Music Project
Research - Deep Learning for Sound Recognition
Research - Music for Global Human Development
Music for Global Human Development
Research - Music, Sound, and Architecture in Islam
Music, Sound, and Architecture in Islam


Music, Sound, and Architecture in Islam
Author(s): Michael Frishkopf and Federico Spinetti, editors