Music & Public Life

Symposia and Colloquia

Voices of Afghanistan Colloquium


Wednesday, September 26, 2012 at 4:15pm

CFA Hall

Ustad Farida Mahwash, 'the Voice of Kabul', discussed her music and life as a female vocalist in Afghanistan. Rubâb virtuoso Homayoun Sakhi and members of The Sakhi Ensemble also talked about the group's instrumentation and performance practice.


The 11th Shasha Seminar for Human Concerns


Keynote Address at 7:30pm by Anthony Seeger—“Can We Safeguard Disappearing Musical Traditions? And if We Can, Should We?”

Performances following the keynote address by Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem, and the Cross Street A.M.E. Zion Church's Unity Choir 

Thursday, November 8, 2012 at 7:30pm

Crowell Concert HallDistinguished professor of Ethnomusicology and Director of the Ethnomusicology Archive at the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music Anthony Seeger has published numerous articles focused on issues of land and human rights for Brazilian Indians, archiving and intellectual property, and ethnomusicological theory and method. Mr. Seeger was the Executive Producer of all recordings issued on the Smithsonian Folkways label between 1988 and 2000. The effects of neo-liberal capitalism and rapidly changing communications technology are having a profound and transformative effect on the world’s cultural traditions. UNESCO projects and the UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage have led many nations to develop plans to “safeguard” cultural traditions considered to be endangered and disappearing. This talk addressed the definitions of “safeguarding” and “intangible heritage” and the more general question of our ability to “safeguard” disappearing traditions, and whether it is appropriate to do so. Before the keynote address, there was a welcome by Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Rob Rosenthal, as well as a musical invocation by the Wesleyan Gamelan Ensemble, directed by Professor of Music Sumarsam and Artist in Residence I.M. Harjito. The keynote address was followed by performances by two Middletown groups: Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem, a gleeful string band featuring Rani Arbo on fiddle and guitar, Andrew Kinsey on bass, banjo, and ukulele, Anand Nayak ’96 on electric and acoustic guitars, and Scott Kessel ’88 on percussion, playing sparkling original songs as well as a repertoire that spans 150 years of American music; and the Cross Street A.M.E. Zion Church's Unity Choir, that contemporary gospel, praise and worship music under the direction of Wesleyan University Adjunct Professor of Music and vibraphonist Jay Hoggard.

Merita Halili & The Raif Hyseni Orchestra (Albania) & La Cumbiamba eNeYé (Colombia)


Friday, November 9, 2012 at 8:30pm

Fayerweather Beckham Hall

Ethel Raim, Artistic Director of New York City’s Center for Traditional Music and Dance, curated an evening of performances by Merita Halili & The Raif Hyseni Orchestra and La Cumbiamba eNeYé. Merita Halili is one of Albania’s top performers, renowned for her stunning voice, prodigious range and technique. Raif Hyseni, originally from the Republic of Kosova, leads the most sought-after Albanian music ensemble in the United States. Together their performances thrill with masterful interpretations of instrumentals and urban folk songs from both Albania and the Republic of Kosova. Martin Vejarano is a multi- percussionist and the director of the powerfully rhythmic ensemble La Cumbiamba eNeYé. Taking its name from traditional open-air gatherings, La Cumbiamba explores the Colombian musical styles of cumbia, puya and mapalé with the use of traditional instruments from the African diaspora, as well as those of the Indians of Colombia and the European settlers.


Music Department Colloquium and Book Launch: Rob Rosenthal: Pete Seeger--His Life In His Own Words


Wednesday, October 3, 2012 at 4:15pm

Daltry Room (Music Rehearsal Hall 003)

Wesleyan University John E. Andrus Professor of Sociology and Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Rob Rosenthal discussed Pete Seeger: His Life In His Own Words, the book he co-edited with his son Sam Rosenthal.

Rachel Mundy '00: Birds, Bytes, and the Natural History of Music

Wednesday, October 10, 2012 at 4:15pm

Daltry Room (Music Rehearsal Hall 003) University of Pittsburgh Assistant Professor of Music Rachel Mundy '00 examineed the public discourse around the complexities of birdsong.


Indonesian Performing Arts & Public Life Symposium

Thursday, April 25 through Saturday, April 27, 2013

World Music Hall

Indonesian wayang (puppet play), dance, and gamelan (an orchestra of bronze gongs, xylophones, drums, and string instruments) a have been part of American public life since the 1893 Columbian Exhibition in Chicago. Since then, countless Indonesian performing arts have appeared throughout North America, such as the 1952 tours of Balinese dance and gamelan, Indonesian performances in the 1964 New York World’s Fair, the 1986 World’s Fair in Vancouver, and many others. Alongside the burgeoning of ethnomusicology, the 1960s marked the spread of gamelan study and performances on American campuses. This symposium featured Kathy Foley, Professor of Theatre Arts at the University of California Santa Cruz (where she is Interim Provost of Merrill College), who spoke on the presence of Southeast Asian puppetry in the West; and Sarah Weiss, Associate Professor of Ethnomusicology at Yale University, who spoke about past and present hybridity in gamelan and wayang. In addition, Wesleyan University Professor of Music Sumarsam spoke on wayang and technology, and addressed electricity in contemporary Javanese wayang performance. A series of wayang and gamelan performances directed by Wesleyan Artist in Residence I.M. Harjito were an integral part of the symposium.


The New Transnationalisms of Music Symposium

Friday, March 1, 2013 from 9am to 5pm

The Russell House Beverly Diamond (St. John's Memorial University, Newfoundland), Anne Rasmussen (The College of William & Mary), Aram Sinreich '94 (Rutgers University),  Joshua Tucker (Brown University) and Marc Perman '94 PhD (Brown University) engaged with Wesleyan faculty and ethnomusicology graduate students on the ways that today's international systems, circuits, and grassroots activists are changing music globally. 

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