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Grijda Spiri

PhD Candidate in Cross-Cultural Musicology

Grijda Spiri is a violinist and Ethnomusicology Ph.D. student in the Department of Music at UC Santa Cruz advised by Prof. Tanya Merchant. Her research interests revolve around the Southern Albanian traditional music and women’s role in shaping the modern Albanian society. Her fieldwork and research have been generously funded by the UCSC Department of Music and the prestigious Onassis Foundation. 


Before joining UC Santa Cruz, Grijda received a Master's degree in Violin Performance and a Bachelor's degree in Violin and Piano Performance. She has been performing since the age of 6 and has won numerous competitions and awards throughout Europe. In the USA, she has performed with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, North Carolina Ballet, Greensboro Symphony Orchestra, and was the assistant concertmaster of Chamber Orchestra of Triangle. She has performed also in many events for big cooperations such as Ferrari, Google, Apple, Cascadian Farm, North Seas Energy Cooperation, etc. 


She likes to spend her free time honing her photography skills, creating music, and exploring new places.

Selected Presentations: 

ICTM Conference, Bangkok, 2019, "Women’s role in preserving lament songs in the villages of Gjirokastër, Albania” 

SEM Conference 2019, " Overcoming Propaganda through Polyphonic Songs: Negotiating Communist and other Agendas during The First Albanian National Folk Festival in Gjirokastër"

Education and Training: 
B.M Ionian University Corfu, Greece
M.M University of North Carolina