Sumarsam, University Professor of Music, is the author of the essay, “Past and Present Issues of Islam within the Central Javanese Gamelan and Wayang,” published in Divine Inspirations: Music and Islam in Indonesia by Oxford University Press, pages 45-79, in 2011.
According to the abstract: “Sumarsam’s contribution to the volume addresses Islam in the context and development of the Javanese gamelan and wayang kulit shadow play. The chapter uniquely combines the interpretation of primarily Javanese and European texts, the author’s personal experience as teacher, performer, and practitioner of gamelan and wayang kulit, and a assessment of the public attitudes of the two largest Islamic organizations, Muhammadiyah and Nadhlatul Ulama, towards the arts.”
Wesleyan’s Music Department held a Student Steelband Concert Dec. 9 in Usdan University Center. Eric Charry, associate professor of music, directs the Trinidadian steelband and class.
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Music department doctoral students presented papers at the Society for Ethnomusicology’s annual convention in Los Angeles, Nov. 10-14. The students presented were Hae-joo Kim, Aaron Paige, Jorge Arevalo Mateus Po-wei Weng, and Min Yang. Kim, Paige and Weng were on a panel chaired by the Rochard K. Winslow Professor of Music Mark Slobin, on global film music analysis.
Jorge Arevalo Mateus
Ethnomusicology Ph.D candidate Jorge Arévalo Mateus’ musical score and sound collage for Native artists James Luna’s (Luiseño) installation, “Chapel for Pablo Tac,” was recently acquired by the Smithsonian Institution-National Museum of the American Indian, as part of the museum’s permanent collection of contemporary art. The multimedia work will appear in the upcoming exhibition Vantage Point: The Contemporary Native Art Collection, in Washington, D.C., Sept. 25 to Aug. 7, 2011.
Arévalo Mateus describes the work as a “composite of historical and contemporary source musical elements brought together to sonically demonstrate and elucidate Luna’s ritual of renewal.”
He adds, “the ‘compositional process’ was intended to reflect issues of repatriation and recuperation of indigenous cultures, as well as confronting nationalist and colonialist ideologies.”
Eric Charry, associate professor of music, received a $115,117 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, to support a Summer Institute in Ethnomusicology June 20-July 1, 2011 at Wesleyan. The Society of Ethnomusicology will oversee the institute, which will be attended by 22 college instructors and three graduate students. Wesleyan hosted a similar conference in 2008.
Joseph Getter, a Ph.D candidate in ethnomusicology, performs on a frame drum during the Art Farm Sonnet Slam in Middletown. Getter is the music director of Art Farm's summer Shakespeare production. He studies classical South Indian flute and Javanese gamelan at Wesleyan. (Photo by Jody Cormack Ph.D. '92, library assistant in World Music Archives).
Q: Joseph, you are a Ph.D candidate in ethnomusicology. How many years have you been at Wesleyan and when will you finish your Ph.D?
A: I began my graduate studies in ethnomusicology at Wesleyan in the M.A. program in 1995, and don’t you know you’re not supposed to ask when the dissertation will be done? I’m anticipating finishing this summer.
Q: What are you studying, specifically?
A: I have done fieldwork in Chennai, India, on the film music industry there. It’s a huge musical, social, and economic phenomenon that is under-studied in academia. I hope that my dissertation will be a contribution to understanding popular music in South Asia. I’ve also studied classical South Indian flute and Javanese gamelan at Wesleyan.
Q: What are your thoughts on Wesleyan’s ethnomusicology program?
A: It’s a fantastic program that integrates the study of scholarly literature with learning to perform music traditions from around the world. In seminars with Mark Slobin and Su Zheng, I learned about how to conduct research, and think, write and speak about
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