eMousikē – Blog

  • Tosca Lynch

Andrew Barker, 24 April 1943 – 22 July 2021

Updated: Jul 22


‘The same dream came to me often in my past life, sometimes in one form and sometimes in another, but always saying the same thing:
Andrew,” it said, “make music and work at it”.’ (Ὦ Ἀνδρέα, μουσικὴν ποίει καὶ ἐργάζου)
(~'Plato' Phaedo 60e)

Today marks one year since we lost Andrew, and it is still hard to find the words to express the magnitude of the loss experienced by many people who had the good fortune to know him and learn from, and with, him — either in person or through his many books and articles.


Many tributes have been paid to him by distinguished institutions, friends and colleagues, including the University of Birmingham, the UK Council of University Classical Departments, and the journal he founded, Greek and Roman Musical Studies. An extended biographical memoir will also appear shortly on the British Academy's website.


So today we will let music speak for us, and especially Andrew’s own voice, leading us all in song and reminding us to shine while we are alive.


Thank you, Andrew, for all that you have taught us and all that we have shared over the years.


Andrew Barker singing the Seikilos Song (DAGM 23) at the Moisa Summer School in 2014, with Stefan Hagel on the aulos.

Ὅσον ζῇς φαίνου·

μηδὲν ὅλως σὺ λυποῦ·

πρὸς ὀλίγον ἐστὶ τὸ ζῆν·

τὸ τέλος ὁ χρόνος ἀπαιτεῖ.


‘While you're alive, shine, man,

don't be the least bit blue,

Life's for a little span,

Time demands its due’

(Translation by Martin L. West)



One of Andrew's sons, Michael Barker, has recently released a new album—here is the final song, poignantly entitled ‘Looking ahead’ (Guardare avanti):

'Guardare Avanti', from Michael Barker's new album 'La Settimana'