Being home to one of the oldest ethnomusicology programs in the country, it
was only fitting that Wesleyan host the 53rd annual meeting of the Society
for Ethnomusicology (SEM), Oct. 25-28.
All activities will take place on the Wesleyan campus, primarily in the
Center for the Arts, Usdan University Center and Memorial Chapel. The
meeting will take place during fall break to accommodate the more than 850
academics, students, professional musicians, and public sector
administrators expected to attend.
Events during the three day meeting will include conference-style panels,
performance workshops, and concerts. A one-day pre-conference on Oct. 24
titled “Toward a 21st Century Ethnomusicology,” will include visiting
scholars from China, Indonesia and Africa. The meeting will also include
webcasting and videoconferencing with students and colleagues in their home
countries for a global discussion.
Known throughout its history for curricular innovation, Wesleyan boasts
undergraduate and MA theses on South Indian, Native American, Irish, Jewish,
Indonesian, Japanese, African, and experimental music, blues, and jazz
written in the 1960s. The first Wesleyan ethnomusicology Ph.D was granted in
late Wesleyan Professor David McAllester was a co-founder of SEM in the
1950s, and in the 1960s he co-founded Wesleyan’s World Music Program, which
has supplied two presidents to SEM, MacAllester and Mark Slobin,
chair and professor of music.
Wesleyan University Press published the journal Ethnomusicology from its
inception until 1971. SEM met at Wesleyan in 1975.
Music Department faculty, which has trained scores of
ethnomusicologists, dates from the 1960s up to the present and includes
Abraham Adzenyah, adjunct professor of music; Slobin; Sumarsam
adjunct professor of music;
I. Harjito, artist in residence, music;
associate professor of music, associate
professor, East Asian Studies; Eric
Charry, associate professor of music;
David Nelson, artist in residence;
adjunct instructor in music.
Other longterm areas of specialization include experimental music,
composition, creative music, and jazz and feature Alvin Lucier,
John Spencer Camp Professor of Music;
Anthony Braxton, professor of music;
Neely Bruce, professor of music;
Ron Kuivila, adjunct professor of music,
director of the electronic music and recording studios;
and Jay Hoggard, adjunct associate
professor of music
16-member fulltime faculty is rounded out by experts in conducting, Angel
Gil-Ordóñez, associate professor of music; and musicology/theory Jane Alden,
assistant professor of music, assistant professor
of medieval studies; and Yonatan Malin,
assistant professor of music.
Wesleyan has long stressed the integration of performance and scholarship
and has an unusually large number of ensembles (called performance study
groups) directed by full and part-time faculty, and occasionally by graduate
students, that span the globe, including West Africa, South India,
Indonesia, Eastern and Western Europe, China, Japan, Korea, the Caribbean,
and North America.
Wesleyan alumni with Ph.Ds in ethnomusicology currently hold teaching
positions at Yale, Brown, Duke, Tufts, Hampshire, Trinity, Wesleyan, New
England Conservatory, Rensselaer Polytechnic, Kenyon, Lewis and Clark,
Florida State, San Francisco State, and Central Conservatory (Beijing),
among many others.
For further information, contact Music Department Associate Professor Eric
Charry, who is chair of the SEM 2008 Local Arrangements Committee, at
firstname.lastname@example.org or 860-685-2579.