Tag Archive for ethnomusicology

Sumarsam, PhD Students, Alumni Present at Symposium

University Professor of Music Sumarsam demonstrated puppet movements at the 4th Symposium of the International Council for Traditional Music Study Group on the Performing Arts of Southeast Asia (ICTM PASEA), in Penang, Malaysia.

University Professor of Music Sumarsam demonstrated puppet movements at the 4th Symposium of the International Council for Traditional Music Study Group on the Performing Arts of Southeast Asia (ICTM PASEA), in Penang, Malaysia.

University Professor of Music Sumarsam and several PhD students and alumni recently presented papers at the 4th Symposium of the International Council for Traditional Music Study Group on the Performing Arts of Southeast Asia (ICTM PASEA). The symposium was hosted by Universiti Sains Malaysia in Penang, Malaysia, from July 31 to Aug. 6.

Sumarsam presented a paper titled, “Religiosity in Javanese Wayang Puppet Play,” and demonstrated puppet movements.

Slobin Honored for 45 Years at Wesleyan

Mark Slobin, second from left, was celebrated by colleagues, friends and family during a day long conference and concert April 16.

Mark Slobin, second from left, was celebrated by colleagues, friends and family during a day long conference and concert April 16.

Mark Slobin, the Winslow-Kaplan Professor of Music, was honored April 16 with “Ideas on the Move,” a conference celebrating his career and many accomplishments. Slobin will retire from Wesleyan June 30.

Slobin is an ethnomusicologist who has written extensively on the subject of East European Jewish music and klezmer music, as well as the music of Afghanistan.

The daylong event featured talks by alumni from as far back as 45 years. Topics included “Mark’s Metaphors: Visual Poetics, Pedagogy and Theoretical Clarity;” “ONCE Upon a Time: Mark Slobin’s Experimental Ethnomusicology;” “How Mark Slobin Became an Ethnomusicologist;” and “Growing Up With Mark.” A concert, featuring Irish, Yiddish, Korean and other music, also was held in honor of Professor Slobin in World Music Hall. View a list of all speakers and musicians on this website.

Slobin came to Wesleyan on July 1, 1971. He has been president of the Society for Ethnomusicology, president of the Society for Asian Music, and editor of Asian Music. He has been the recipient of numerous prizes, including the Seeger Prize of the Society for Ethnomusicology, the ASCAP-Deems Taylor Award, the Jewish Cultural Achievement Award (for lifetime achievement) from the Foundation for Jewish Culture, and the Curt Leviant Award In Yiddish Studies from the Modern Languages Association (honorable mention). He was a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award for Chosen Voices (1989).

In his blog, President Michael Roth said: “He is at home with all kinds of sounds, and his students (many of whom were present at the conference) work on everything from Mongolian throat singing and African funeral music to hip-hop and klezmer. He’s even written the book on music at Wesleyan.

“Mark spoke briefly at the conference about how Wesleyan has fostered groundbreaking research, practice and teaching in music for a very long time. Thanks to him, and to his colleagues and students, we expect that to continue far into the future.”

The evening concluded with a Javanese Wayang Puppet Play “Arjuna in Meditation,” performed with the Wesleyan Gamelan Ensemble under the direction of I. M. Harjito and Sumarsam (dhalang) and guest musicians.

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PhD Candidate Colwell Speaks on Throat Singing as Part of Graduate Student Speaker Series

Andrew Colwell, PhD candidate in ethnomusicology, presented “The Conditions of Audibility: Cultural Heritage, Pastoral Sensibility and Global Ambition in Mongol Xöömeí (Throat-singing),” a lecture based on his dissertational research, on Dec. 2 in Exley Science Center.

Andrew Colwell, PhD candidate in ethnomusicology, presented “The Conditions of Audibility: Cultural Heritage, Pastoral Sensibility and Global Ambition in Mongol Xöömeí (Throat-singing),” a lecture based on his dissertational research, on Dec. 2 in Exley Science Center.

In his lecture, Colwell focused on the performance of xöömeí, its conditions of audibility, and the critical questions it poses to ethnomusicology and Mongolian studies’ treatment of places, circulation and belonging.

In his lecture, Colwell focused on the performance of xöömeí, its conditions of audibility, and the critical questions it poses to ethnomusicology and Mongolian studies’ treatment of places, circulation and belonging.

In western Mongolia a project is underway to rehabilitate a once-sacred place into a “natural theater” for the promotion of xöömeí (throat-singing). According to elder generations, a nearby crevice called xavchig was once a venerated site for the pastoral community, due to a sonorous rivulet of mountain water that flows through it. But sometime during the socialist collectivization of herders’ pastoral encampments, the nationalization of their expressive practices, and the censorship of animist or Buddhist spiritual practices in the 20th century, the crevice fell into neglect.

In western Mongolia a project is underway to rehabilitate a once-sacred place into a “natural theater” for the promotion of xöömeí. According to elder generations, a nearby crevice called xavchig was once a venerated site for the pastoral community, due to a sonorous rivulet of mountain water that flows through it. But sometime during the socialist collectivization of herders’ pastoral encampments, the nationalization of their expressive practices, and the censorship of animist or Buddhist spiritual practices in the 20th century, the crevice fell into neglect.

Sumarsam Speaks on Javanese Puppet Theater at Museum of Puppetry

Sumarsam

Sumarsam

On Oct. 28, as part of its Fall Puppet Forum Series, the Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry at the University of Connecticut hosted Javanase musician and scholar Sumarsam for a presentation on “Javanese Puppet Theater and the West.” Sumarsam is the University Professor of Music at Wesleyan.

Sumarsam’s talk included discussion of the complex nature of Javanese wayang kulit shadow theater in the context of his recent research into the history of Javanese gamelan culture.

Professor Sumarsam’s work analyzes adaptations in gamelan art as a result of Western colonialism in 19th century Java, showing how Western musical and dramatic practices were domesticated by Javanese performers to create hybrid Javanese-Western art forms, such as with the introduction of brass bands in traditional court music and western theatrical idioms in contemporary wayang puppet plays.

The event included a book signing for Professor Sumarsam’s newest work, Javanese Gamelan and the West, hosted by the UConn Co-op Bookstore.

Sumarsam Writes Article on Gamelan Carabalen

University Professor of Music Sumarsam is the author of an article titled “Bali–Java Cultural Exchange: Gamelan Carabalen,” published in Interculturalism and Mobility of the Performing Arts, Sound, Movement for the Proceeding of the 3rd Symposium of the International Council for Traditional Music Study Group on Performing Arts in Southeast Asia.

Gamelan Carabalen is an ancient, processional Javanese ensemble whose creation was inspired by a processional Balinese gamelan.

“Ethnicity and cultural identity is the product of specific historical condition. Viewed in a context of history of ethnic relations, we find very complex picture, dynamic process, and multifaceted forms and meanings of ethnicity and its performing arts,” Sumarsam said. “With this perspective in mind, the article examines Java–Bali cultural encounters, its impact on the development of, ethnic identity, music and musical culture.”

Sumarsam, Students, Alumni Attend Traditional Music Conference in Kazakhstan

PhD candidate Ander Terwilliger, University Professor of Music Sumarsam and PhD candidate Christine Yong attended the International Council for Traditional Music conference in Astana, Kazakhstan.

PhD candidate Ander Terwilliger, University Professor of Music Sumarsam and PhD candidate Christine Yong attended the International Council for Traditional Music conference in Astana, Kazakhstan.

From July 14–23, two ethnomusicology PhD candidates — Christine Yong and Ander Terwilliger — along with five alumni —Tan Sooi Beng ’80, Donna Kwon ’95, Jonathan Kramer ’71, Sylvie Bruinders ’99, and Becky Miller ’94 — joined University Professor of Music Sumarsam at the 2015 conference of the International Council for Traditional Music (ICTM) in Astana, Kazakhstan. Tan Sooi Beng was elected to the ICTO executive board.

The International Council for Traditional Music is a non-governmental organization in formal consultative relations with UNESCO. It aims to further the study, practice, documentation, preservation and dissemination of traditional music and dance of all countries.

At the conference, Sumarsam presented a talk titled “Expressing And Contesting Java-Islam Encounters In The Performing Arts;” and Kwon spoke on “Glimpses Beyond The Curtain: Making Sense Of North Korean Musical Performance in the Age of Social Media.” Kwon also was a recipient of this year’s prestigious American Council of Learned Societies grant.

 

Scott Published in Routledge’s The Modernist Reader

Stanley Scott

Stanley Scott

Stanley Scott, private lessons teacher in music, authored a chapter titled “Modernism in South Asian Art Music,” published in the The Modernist World, part of the Routledge Worlds series, in 2015.

Scott traces modernism in South Asian art music from its 18th century roots to the 21st century. The examples, drawn from Pakistan, North India and Bangladesh, represent parallel developments throughout South Asia. The seeds of South Asian modernism were sown in 18th century Calcutta, with the emergence of British orientalist scholarship and the development of the urban South Asian intelligentsia. The orientalist discovery of India’s “golden age” allowed Hindu nationalists to find inspiration in an India that predated both European colonization and Islamic rule. North Indian music, in particular, served sometimes as an icon of national identity, sometimes of revived Hindu hegemony, and sometimes of an Indo-Islamic synthesis.

Graduate Students Speak on Taiwanese Music at Ethnomusicology Meeting

Pictured at the Society for Ethnomusicology's Annual Meeting are, from left, Wesleyan's Ender Terwilliger, Po-wei Weng, Joy Lu and Su Zheng.v

Pictured at the Society for Ethnomusicology’s Annual Meeting are, from left, Wesleyan’s Ender Terwilliger, Po-wei Weng, Joy Lu and Su Zheng.

During the 2014 Society for Ethnomusicology’s 59th Annual Meeting, held Nov. 13-16 in Pittsburgh, Pa., Wesleyan graduate students collaborated to present the first panel dedicated to Taiwanese identity and music.

The panel, titled “How Taiwanese Should I Be? Contesting Taiwanese Identities in Local, Regional and Global Contexts,” comprised of Ph.D. candidates Joy Lu and Po-wei Weng, and graduate student Ender Terwilliger.

Su Zheng, associate professor of music, chaired the panel.

Covering Taiwanese opera, Pili Budaixi, and fusion performances, the panel explored the process of identity formation when promoting Taiwanese identity in politically delicate situations domestically and overseas.

In addition, Ph.D. candidates Dustin Wiebe, Min Yang and Fugan Dineen presented papers at the conference.

Ishiguro to Study Female Saman Dance as Fulbright DDRA Fellow

Maho Ishiguro

Maho Ishiguro

Maho Ishiguro, an ethnomusicology doctoral student, received a Fulbright Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad (DDRA) Fellowship to study the female Saman dance in Indonesia. The award came with a $29,508 stipend.

Ishiguro’s proposed research title is “Saman Dance in Diaspora Presence of Female Saman Dance as Expressions of Piety Cultural Identity and Popular Culture.” Her DDRA project will examine the contemporary life of female Saman dance in Jakarta, Yogyakarta and Banda Aceh.

Saman dance, or the dance of a “thousand hands” is typically performed in Gayo Lues, a mountainous region of Aceh, by eight to 20 male performers who kneel in a row and make different kinds of torso movements accompanied by songs, clapping hands, slapping chests or slapping the floor. The dance traditionally is performed to celebrate the birthday of Prophet Muhammad and has been used recently to promote Acehnese as well as Indonesia’s national culture.

“Indonesia’s deepening Islamization today impacts the nations’ performing arts and the conduct of Muslim women’s lives,” Ishiguro said. “In Aceh, despite its Islamic origin, female adults were prohibited from performing Saman dance at public events.

Netsky Ph.D. ’04 Selected Among The Forward’s 50 Most Influential American Jews

Hankus Netsky Ph.D. '04

Hankus Netsky Ph.D. ’04

Hankus Netsky, who received a Ph.D. in ethnomusicology from Wesleyan in 2004, has been chosen by the editorial staff of The Forward — a well-respected weekly newspaper covering the Jewish world — as one of the 50 American Jews who have had the greatest impact on the world in 2013, alongside the likes of Harvey Fierstein, Mandy Patinkin and Janet Yellen.

Netsky is the chair of the contemporary improvisation department at the New England Conservatory of Music. He has mentored countless young Jewish musicians, many of whom attended NEC primarily to study with him, and has guided jazz and classical instrumentalists as they expand and evolve the Jewish repertoire to coincide with modern times.

At a recent performance by superstar violinist Itzhak Perlman and cantor Yitzchak Meir Helfgot at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, Netsky was the less-visible but highly influential musical director.

The Forward refers to him as, “a quiet but powerful force affecting nearly every corner of contemporary Jewish music.”

Read more about Netsky in this New England Conservatory press release.

Sumarsam Publishes Papers on Javanese Music, Shadow Puppetry

Ethnomusicologist Sumarsam, University Professor of Music, is the author of two new articles published in 2013.

Past and Present Issues of Javanese-European Musical Hybridity,” was published in Recollecting Resonances: Indonesian-Dutch Musical Encounters by Leiden: Brill, pages 87-108.

Soon after the introduction of European music in Java in the 18th century, Java-European musical hybrids emerged. In his article Sumarsam asks the following questions: how do we explain the incorporation of European sounds into the indigenous gamelan ensemble? Is this incorporation a kind of Javanese-European intercultural sonic dialogue, a subversive act of European authority, or the domestication of an exotic sound? Sumarsam addresses these questions by examining the history and meaning of “marching gamelan pieces” in the court of Yogyakarta and other hybrid genres, the performance of which requires the inclusion of European brass bands and drums and other Western instruments.

“A Preliminary Report on Javanese Wayang and Islamic Dakwah,” was published in (Re)Producing Southeast Asian Performing Arts by Manila: Philippine Women’s University, pages 200-203.

In the preaching of Islam (dakwah), some preachers in Java incorporate wayang shadow puppet play to make their presentation more interesting and effective. In this regard, the Hindu story and characters are linked to Islam. To attract the audience further, the musical accompaniment for this play is a hybrid ensemble consisting of some indigenous gamelan instruments (traditional) and Western electric keyboard, guitars, and a drum sets (modern). The article addresses the dynamic hybridization of this wayang dakwah.

Sumarsam, Alumni Participate in Indonesian Performance Conference

Ethnomusicologist Sumarsam, University Professor of Music, participated in a festival and conference on Indonesian performing arts at the Smithsonian Institution Oct. 31-Nov. 3. Sumarsam and Andy McGraw Ph.D. ’06 helped organize the conference, “Performing Indonesia: Conference, Music, Dance, and Drama” with support from the Indonesian Embassy in Washington, D.C.

Sumarsam delivered the conference’s keynote address on “Traditional Performing Arts of Indonesia in a Globalizing World” on Nov. 2. He discussed Javanese musical and cultural interactions with the rest of the world, focusing on current trends in and the changing role of classical and contemporary gamelan music and other genres in Indonesia and around the globe.

In addition, six Wesleyan alumni delivered paper presentations or chaired sessions at the event.

During the opening ceremony of the festival on Oct. 31, Sumarsam and  Andy McGraw Ph.D. '06 received a "Certificate of Appreciation" for their role in strengthening the ties of friendship between Indonesia and the U.S. The event was attended by the Indonesian Ambassador, the Smithsonian museum director, the Sultan of Yogyakarta, the Director General of Indonesian, Cultural Attache of Indonesia, and many others.

During the opening ceremony of the festival on Oct. 31, Sumarsam and Andy McGraw Ph.D. ’06 received a “Certificate of Appreciation” for their role in strengthening the ties of friendship between Indonesia and the U.S. The event was attended by the Indonesian Ambassador, the Smithsonian museum director, the Sultan of Yogyakarta, the Director General of Indonesian, Cultural Attache of Indonesia, and many others.

On Nov. 3, Sumarsam, Artist-in-Residence I.M. Harjito and members of the Wesleyan Gamelan participated in a "jam session" with gamelan teachers at the California Institute of the Arts, University of Michigan, U.C. Berkeley and other American gamelan teachers/musicians.

On Nov. 3, Sumarsam, Artist-in-Residence I.M. Harjito and members of the Wesleyan Gamelan participated in a “jam session” with gamelan teachers at the California Institute of the Arts, University of Michigan, U.C. Berkeley and other American gamelan teachers/musicians.