Ethnomusicology Program History

From its begin­nings in 1962, the Eth­no­mu­si­col­ogy pro­gram at the UW has made an impor­tant impact on the musi­cal cul­ture of the Pacific North­west and has sent gen­er­a­tions of schol­ars into the field to col­lect and doc­u­ment the music of the world’s peo­ple. Addi­tion­ally, the program—one of the country’s old­est and most notable—has hosted upwards of 100 musi­cians and schol­ars from around the globe for res­i­den­cies rang­ing in length from a few days to a few years.

As it passes the half-century mark, Eth­no­mu­si­col­ogy at the UW remains an impor­tant aspect of the School of Music’s aca­d­e­mic offer­ings. In 2012–13, the School imple­ments a new under­grad­u­ate degree pro­gram in Eth­no­mu­si­col­ogy, a major expan­sion of a pro­gram that for­merly offered only grad­u­ate degree stud­ies. A game­lan and a marimba ensem­ble will be wel­come new addi­tions to the program’s instru­ment col­lec­tion and will enhance stu­dents’ study of music cul­tures of Indone­sia and south­ern Africa.

While bud­get reduc­tions in recent years at the UW have altered the extent of the Vis­it­ing Artists Pro­gram, the School has worked dili­gently to con­tinue the tra­di­tion of host­ing notable artists from through­out the world. In addi­tion to appeal­ing to friends and alumni for increased pri­vate sup­port for the Vis­it­ing Artists pro­gram, the School has imple­mented quarter-long (rather than year-long) res­i­den­cies. That trend con­tin­ues in 2012–13, when Eth­no­mu­si­col­ogy will spon­sor res­i­den­cies by Wagago musi­cian Ked­mon Mapana of Tan­za­nia, Sene­galese per­cus­sion­ist Thione Diope, and Hin­dus­tani vocal­ist Sri­vani Jade. All three artists will offer classes with UW stu­dents in addi­tion to pub­lic per­for­mances and demonstrations.

Indeed, there is much to cel­e­brate as this ven­er­a­ble UW pro­gram cel­e­brates 50 years of “bring­ing the world to Seat­tle.” Anniver­sary events include sev­eral vis­it­ing artist con­certs and a 50th Anniver­sary Week­end of Eth­no­mu­si­col­ogy Feb­ru­ary 8–10, 2013, with pan­els, per­for­mances, and social events for alumni, friends, and for­mer and cur­rent fac­ulty of the pro­gram. “The Eth­no­mu­si­col­ogy pro­gram is notable for its pio­neer­ing efforts in the schol­arly study of music and cul­ture,” says Patri­cia Camp­bell, chair of the pro­gram. “We are eager to cel­e­brate the fine work of the schol­ars asso­ci­ated with the pro­gram over the past 50 years.”