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At the vanguard of antiquity

fiddlerEoghan Neff, an award-winning Irish fiddle player and musicologist from Cork, recently received his PhD from Cardiff University.

Eoghan’s thesis, supervised by Dr John Morgan O’Connell, was titled ‘At the vanguard of antiquity: seeking the avant-garde of the Irish Fiddle in C20th performance practice’.

The thesis examined twentieth-century Irish fiddle performance practices in the search for the avant-garde of Irish traditional music, with the central analysis focussing on processes of music structuring, particularly at a macro-structural level.  Some of the more demanding performances by a selection of Ireland’s leading exponents are drawn upon, with each example representing a different quarter point of the last century.

The study provides a clearer and more radical conception of the country’s musical past, and also provokes a traditional music avant-garde that emerges from inside fiddle performance practices of the recent century.

The full text can be found in ORCA, Cardiff University’s online repository, at:

As a musician, Eoghan has toured and recorded to critical acclaim with prestigious productions such as Riverdance, The London Metropolitan Orchestra, NeffBros, Assembly Point, Amalgamare, and Anxo Lorenzo. He has collaborated with composers such as Guillaume Roussel and Atli Örvarsson on films by the renowned directors Olivier Dahan and Oscar-winner Kevin Macdonald. Now based in Madrid, he still performs regularly.

For more information on Eoghan – including videos, a discography and upcoming performances – visit