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Institutional Histories Entry: The Ethnomusicology Program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-C
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Since its beginnings, the ethnomusicology program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), now entering its fifth decade, has emphasized a balance between approaches derived from musical (or musicological) and anthropological approaches. While the program has had the good fortune to train a considerable number of scholars who became successful and distinguished ethnomusicologists, it has since its beginnings been equally concerned with providing an ethnomusicological component in the education of historical musicologists, music educators, composers, socio-cultural anthropologists, and others in related fields. Ethnomusicology has always been considered a constituent component of the Division of Musicology in the School of Music, moving from minority status to a role coeval with that of historical musicology. The ethnomusicology program at UIUC may be considered to have begun in 1964, when Bruno Nettl joined the faculty of the School of Music, and when the first student to complete a PhD dissertation in an area of ethnomusicology, Stephen Blum, began his graduate studies. There were significant precursors. From 1957-59, the Chinese-American composer Chou Wen Chung had been in residence and raised consciousness of East Asian music. In 1962, under the leadership of folklorist Archie Green, a Campus Folksong Club had begun to sponsor concerts and lectures and to issue folk music LPs. From 1961 to 1963, William Adriaansz, a student of Mantle Hood’s, taught courses on music of the world’s cultures. Also in 1961, William Kay Archer had joined the faculty of Communications Research, and introduced aspects of the anthropology of music in his teaching. When Nettl (PhD, Indiana) arrived, he was asked to develop a series of courses that would supplement the School’s offerings in historical musicology but also provide exposure to ethnomusicology and world music for students in other fields. He first taught a year-long survey, "Music of the World’s Cultures,” for eight graduate and two undergraduate music majors. In adding to this offering over the next few years, the approach was to begin with courses and seminars at the graduate and upper level for music majors, and gradually to develop offerings for non-musicians and lower-level undergraduates. In 1966, however, Anthropology Department head Joseph B. Casagrande asked Nettl to offer an ethnomusicology course directed to anthropology students, beginning the association between Musicology and Anthropology departments that has characterized the UIUC program. There developed a group of courses devoted to major world areas, others with a topical perspective, and seminars on theory and methodology. The majority of students in all of these courses were not interested in ethnomusicological careers, and the idea of providing ethnomusicological perspectives for students in all areas of music and music education, and for students in anthropology and areas studies, has continued as a major mission into the present. Nevertheless, the training of professional ethnomusicologists also began soon after1964. The first graduate students to undertake major fieldwork were Robert Witmer (with the Blood Indians in Alberta, 1967), Stephen Blum (in Northeastern Iran, 1968-69), Daniel Neuman (India, mainly Delhi, 1968-70), Martha Ellen Davis (Dominican Republic, 1971-72), Ronald Riddle (the Chinese community in San Francisco, 1972), Ali Jihad Racy (Egypt, 1972-73), and Doris Dyen (Ozark, Alabama, 1972-73). The ethnomusicology program expanded gradually in various directions, adding faculty and areas of expertise. Nettl began as a specialist in Native American music and European folk music, but in 1968, soon after his arrival at Illinois, he began to do fieldwork in Iran, and his course offerings continued largely to build in those areas. In 1966, the School of Music appointed Gerard Behague (PhD, Tulane) to represent Latin American musical studies, which has been a major focus of the program ever since. Behague remained on the faculty until 1974, was eventually replaced in the Latin American field by David Stigberg (PhD, Illinois), who was on the faculty from 1980 to 1987. In 1987, Thomas Turino (PhD, Texas) joined the faculty. From 1972 to 1977, Ranganayaki Ayyangar, a scholar and vocalist of Carnatic music, taught courses on the music of India. From 1973 to 1977, Stephen Blum taught both ethnomusicology and historical musicology at UIUC, and was succeeded by Charles Capwell (PhD Harvard), who built Indian music into a major area of emphasis, eventually, after substantial fieldwork, adding Indonesian music as well. Isabel K. F. Wong joined the faculty in the 1980s, teaching courses on East Asian musical cultures while also working in the administration of the Office of International Programs and Studies. Among the distinguished short-term visiting faculty in the program’s earlier decades, we mention S. Ramanathan (1967) and Stephen Wild (1983) as particularly influential. In 1992, Nettl moved to part-time status as Professor Emeritus, and was succeeded, in 1995, by Donna Buchanan (PhD, Texas), whose main interests are Eastern Europe and the Middle East. In 2000, Gabriel Solis (PhD, Washington U), a scholar of jazz music who has also done research in Australian Aboriginal cultures, joined the faculty. The group of ethnomusicology professors at present consists of a full-time faculty of Buchanan, Capwell, Solis, and Turino, with part-timers Nettl and Wong. While the principal commitment to ethnomusicology has come from the School of Music—and while ethnomusicologists have throughout played a major role in the School’s Division of Musicology—ethnomusicology has also played an important role in the Department of Anthropology. In 1967, Nettl was appointed Professor of Music and Anthropology, in 1993, Turino was also given this title, and Capwell has since 1996 been a "departmental affiliate,” while the other faculty have had more informal association. Judith McCulloh, an ethnomusicologist and folklorist, has served on the editorial staff of the University of Illinois Press for several decades and built the Press’s distinguished list of ethnomusicological publications. It’s important also to note that Alexander Ringer (interested in Jewish and Middle Eastern music) and Lawrence Gushee (authority on jazz history), both principally on the historical musicology faculty, also participated in advising ethnomusicological dissertations. In its early years, the UIUC ethnomusicology programs did not include performing forces. The School of Music, under the direction of jazz professor John Garvey, established a Russian Folk Orchestra ca. 1980, and a Korean ensemble was briefly active in the 1980s. In 1986, a Javanese gamelan was instituted, and from the late 1980s to the early 1990s, Peruvian panpipe, East African mbira, and Balkan and Middle Eastern ensembles were established. Faculty members (and graduate students) have played a substantial role in SEM. When Nettl came in 1964, he was editor of Ethnomusicology, which he continued until 1966. In 1974, shortly before his departure from UIUC to Texas, Gerard Behague assumed this same position. From 1988 to 1990, Charles Capwell served as editor of Ethnomusicology; and Nettl served for a second term from 1999 to 2002. Buchanan and Turino have been members of the SEM Board of Directors, and Nettl served as president from 1969 to 1971. Only one national meeting of SEM, in 1973, has been held on the UIUC campus; subsequent moves in this direction were frustrated by the absence of sufficient hotel space in the Champaign-Urbana community. The ethnomusicology program has hosted significant special conferences on the history of ethnomusicology (1988) and improvisation (2004). A large number of successful ethnomusicologists have passed through the programs—both in musicology and in anthropology—at UIUC. The following selected list of recipients of PhD’s in the first twenty years since the first PhD was granted may be noted: Stephen Blum (1972, now at CUNY Grad Center); Daniel Neuman (PhD in anthro., 1974, now at UCLA); Martha Davis (anthro., 1976, now at U of Florida); Ronald Riddle (1976, deceased); Doris Dyen (1977, now at Commonwealth of Pennsylvania); A. Jihad Racy (1977, now at UCLA); Richard Haefer (1981, now at Arizona State); Ted Solis (1982, now at Arizona State); Chris Goertzen (1983, now at U of S. Miss.); Philip V. Bohlman (1983, now at U of Chicago); Christopher Waterman (anthro., 1986, now at UCLA); Stephen Slawek (1986, now at Texas-Austin); Marcello Sorce Keller (1986, now at Swiss institutions); Victoria Levine (1989, now at Colorado C.); James Robbins (1989); Virginia Danielson (1991, now at Harvard); Alison Arnold (1991, now at N. Carolina State); Carol Babiracki (1991, now at Syracuse U.) Samuel Araujo (1992, now at Federal U of Rio de Janeiro); Margaret Sarkissian (1992, now at Smith College). Bruno Nettl Photo: Seminar in South Indian music conducted by Visiting Professor S. Ramanathan (standing sixth from left), in spring, 1967. Standing in the very back row, left: Daniel M. Neuman and Bruno Nettl. Photo by Wanda Nettl.
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