Kirk Sullivan

Lecturer in Music, Ethnomusicology


irk Sullivan received his MA in Ethnomusicology from the University of Maryland at College Park in 2014 and his PhD from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa in 2021. 

He specializes in the music of the Pacific Islands and has performed field work in the Solomon Islands (2012), and the Cook Islands and New Zealand (2015–2019). His ongoing research has employed archival recordings, field observation and interviews, his own musical performance, and musical analysis to study Cook Islands music in the homelands and diaspora, with particular emphasis on identity formation and maintenance through music.

Dr. Sullivan has taught introductory, advanced undergraduate and graduate level courses in ethnomusicology, including MUS 107, MUS 407, and MUS 657. He currently teaches at several of the University of Hawai‘i system campuses. Related activities have included serving as co-curator and video curator of exhibits of musical instruments and the Festival of Pacific Arts for the East-West Center;  interning at the Library of Congress American Folklife Center; and serving as volunteer at the Bishop Museum.

In addition, he performs regularly as a tenor in the O‘ahu Choral Society and Hawai‘i Opera Theatre, and as a Scottish Highland bagpiper for such events as the annual Makapu‘u Lighthouse First Day Hike and Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee Celebration at ‘Iolani Palace.