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2017 SEM First Vice President Candidates-Bios
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Judith Gray

Judith Gray is coordinator of reference services for the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress.  Her principal areas of specialization are Native American cultural traditions, audiovisual archiving, intellectual property rights issues, and public-sector ethnomusicology.  She came to the Library from Wesleyan University to become part of the Federal Cylinder Project staff, documenting the earliest field recordings of tribal music and returning copies of those recordings to communities of origin. Helping indigenous people locate relevant cultural heritage materials as well as create and preserve their own documentation remains an important part of her work, for which she received a “Guardian of Culture and Lifeways” award last year from the Association of Tribal Archives, Libraries, and Museums. She has collaborated with colleagues in the National Park Service and branches of the Smithsonian Institution on projects such as the needs assessment and gathering of resource information for the “Keepers of the Treasures” program; on field schools providing training in cultural documentation and archiving for teams from tribal communities; and on the establishment of the Park Service’s Historic Preservation grants for indigenous groups. She has been the Library of Congress liaison for the three national Breath of Life Archival Institutes for Indigenous Languages, and a presenter of information on the Library’s extensive resources and dissemination/repatriation activities in numerous gatherings and publications. 

She is currently on the board of the International Association of Sound and Audiovisual Archives, and was a contributor to the organization’s Statement of Ethical Principles. Her work on behalf of SEM has included two terms as the Secretary of the SEM Board (1996-1999); two terms on the Council (1992-95, 2014-17); chair of the Archiving SIG; chair of the Board Nominating Committee (2002); book review editor for the journal (1992-98); chair (1992-94) and Local Arrangements host (1993) for MACSEM; and participation on the Program Committee (2012).  More recently, she chaired the committee that formulated and awarded the first Judith McCulloh Public Sector Award, and served as co-chair for the 2016 SEM Pre-Conference Symposium on Public Sector Ethnomusicology. 


Gordon R. Thompson

Gordon Thompson (Professor of Music, Skidmore College) currently is a member of the college’s Faculty Executive Committee and has been Chair of the Department of Music (1996-2000, 2004-2005, and 2013-2015), Director of Asian Studies (1989-1994 and 2008-2009), and Chair of the Committee on Educational Policies and Planning (2003-2005) as well as directing the London (1995-96, 2007, and 2016) and India (1994-95) programs. 

His publications include articles in Ethnomusicology, Asian Music, and other journals on the paradigms underlying melodic practice in the folk-classical continuum in Gujarati-speaking Western India, on the role of music in the identities of hereditary bards in that cultural region, and on how Gujarati music and dance traditions have served as loci of community bonding in the United States. He is the author of the entries in the Encyclopedia of India (Schirmer) on the North Indian classical music tradition and of articles in the Garland Encyclopedia of World Music on regional caste artists and patrons and on Gujarat. Additionally, his book and recording reviews on both classical and folk traditions of northern India have appeared in Music and Letters, Yearbook for Traditional Music, Asian Music, World of Music, Notes, and Ethnomusicology.

He is the author Please Please Me: Sixties British Pop, Inside Out (Oxford, 2008), an examination of the evolving ecology of sixties British pop based on interviews with producers, recording engineers, music directors, songwriters, and musicians. He has authored over sixty blogs for the Oxford University Press’s OUP Blog exploring the lives of musicians in London’s music and recording industries in that era. Most recently, he has authored articles on censorship, memory, and the role of collaboration in the music of the Beatles and has been active as a lecturer (including a TedX talk on distance learning) and as an interviewer. He is currently writing a two-volume ethnomusicology of sixties British rock, pop, folk, and blues for Oxford University Press. 

From 2012 to 2016, he edited the SEM Newsletter, where he introduced a series of section histories, special roundtables, and interviews by ethnomusicologists of ethnomusicologists. In that capacity he also edited the historic “Symposium on the Current State of Ethnomusicology, 1963” with Robert Garfias. He sat on the SEM Council (2011-2012), chaired SEM’s Southern California Chapter (1978-79), and has served as the web editor for the Society for Asian Music (1998 to the present). 

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