Robert Garfias is professor emeritus of Anthropology at University of California Irvine, and founder in 1962 of the Ethnomusicology program at the University of Washington.
Professor Garfias's long association with the University of Washington included service as professor 1962-1982 and as vice-provost of the university 1976-1982.
Professor Garfias is the 2005 recipient of the Order of the Rising Sun, a high honor bestowed by the emperor of Japan upon the most accomplishedscholars, scientists, artists. Some career highlights include his work as a research professor at the Japanese National Museum of Ethnology in Osaka, Japan; a six-year appointment to the Smithsonian Council; a two-year position as President of the Society for Ethnomusicology.
He is fluent as a performer, linguist and archivist, and has written on Japanese gagaku (Music of a Thousand Autumns: Togaku Style of Japanese Court Music) and the mbira dza vadzimu music of the Shona of Zimbabwe.
Many of his treasury of fieldwork recordings are housed in the UW-Ethnomusicology Archives.