Professor Robert Brown, one
of the founders of the Wesleyan World Music Program, died recently.
was one of the first students to receive a Ph.D. in ethnomusicology from
University of California Los Angeles. He was appointed assistant professor
in Wesleyan’s Music Department in 1961 and joined the tenured ranks of the
faculty in 1966.
helped the department to grow rapidly to national and international
prominence. He brought with him from UCLA a concept called "performance
study group," a musical pedagogy that emphasizes the importance of direct
contact between students and master musicians from around the world. In this
context, he brought to Wesleyan T. Balasaraswati (1918-1984), the most
renowned classical South Indian dancer, and her brothers, a renowned flutist
and drummer, T. Viswanathan (1927-2001) and T. Ranganathan (1924-1987),
followed by master musicians from Africa, Indonesia and Japan.
Professor Brown had an important role in giving Wesleyan’s music program a
distinctive character and legacy. After his departure from Wesleyan in
1971, Brown led a program at the American Society for Eastern Arts.
he established the Center for World Music located in Berkeley, California.
From 1979 until his retirement in 1992, he was a professor of music at San
Diego State University (SDSU). Bob was known as a promoter of gamelan
studies in the United States and beyond.
survived by a niece and three nephews, and many great nieces and nephews.
The arrangements for the memorial service at SDSU are still pending.