Born in Montevideo, Uruguay, Edwin Seroussi immigrated to Israel in 1971 where he studied at the Department of Musicology at the undergraduate and graduate levels continuing into his doctoral studies at the University of California Los Angeles (1981-1987). As a faculty member of the Department of Musicology at the Hebrew University, he teaches ethnomusicology, world music, theory and methodology in the study of oral traditions and popular music. His research focuses on the musical cultures of the Mediterranean and the Middle East, interactions between Jewish and Islamic cultures (specifically in art music genres) and popular music in Israel. Within these subjects he explores process of hybridization, diaspora, nationalism and transnationalism in specific contexts such as the Ottoman Empire, and the constitution of Jewish identities through music making in settings as diverse as colonial Morocco and Algeria, Germany’s Second Empire and the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the early Zionist settlement in Palestine and the Judeo-Spanish speaking diaspora. His approach to research stresses the agency of individuals in the shaping of folk and popular culture, social networks and the role of reception and consumption in the making of musical cultures.
He has previously taught at the Department of Music of Bar Ilan University (1987-2000) and chaired directed it (1996-2000), chaired the Department of Musicology at Hebrew University (2004-2008) and established and directed the new School of the Arts at the Hebrew University (2008-2013). Since 2000 he directs the Jewish Music Research Centre of the Hebrew University. He has been a visiting professor at several institutions, among them the University of California at Berkeley, Moscow University, Institut für Mussikwissechaft in Zürich and Dartmouth College, where he is a Visiting Scholar since 2008. More recently, in the spring of 2013, he was a Starr Fellow at Harvard University working on “The Jewish music experience under Islam and Christianity; A comparison”. Besides his academic activities he is active in the music scene of Israel and abroad in diverse capacities, such as consultant for music festivals, member of state committees in music and the arts and producer of music programs. Formerly he represented Israel at the International Music Council of UNESCO.