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2008 Lecture: Robert Garfias
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The Society for Ethnomusicology is pleased to welcome Robert Garfias as the 2008 Charles Seeger Lecturer for its annual meeting at Wesleyan University, Middletown, Connecticut. Dr. Garfias is Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, Irvine; Past-President of the Society for Ethnomusicology (1985-87); and a well-known academic, public arts policy activist, and early maker of documentary music films. Dr. Garfias has degrees in anthropology and ethnomusicology from San Francisco State University and UCLA, respectively. He is credited with the establishment of the University of Washington ethnomusicology program in 1962, when he was recruited to the university as a faculty member in the School of Music. From his beginnings as the lone ethnomusicologist teaching an undergraduate survey course, a graduate seminar, and leading a gagaku performance group, he developed a graduate ethnomusicology program with three full-time faculty positions and a great number of rotating distinguished visiting artists, and also established sound and film archives. He left the program to become a university administrator both at the University of Washington (Vice Provost) and the University of California, Irvine (Dean of the School of Arts). During his career, Dr. Garfias conducted field research in more than a dozen areas of the world, including Japan, Korea, Okinawa, the Philippines, Mexico, Romania, Turkey, Mozambique, Guatemala, Honduras, Belize, Burma, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and Zimbabwe, mastering the languages of many of these places. His vast collection of documentary films and sound recordings (both field recordings and studio recordings of visiting artists and others who performed in the Seattle area) is deposited in the University of Washington Ethnomusicology Archives. In addition to his teaching and research activities, he spent fifteen years working on public policy with advisory boards at the National Endowment for the Arts, the Smithsonian Institution, and with local and state arts agencies. Dr. Garfias‘s interest in Japanese music and culture has remained paramount throughout his career. He has been a regular adjunct faculty member of the National Museum of Ethnology in Osaka since 2003. In 2005 he was recognized for his long-standing scholarly work on Japanese music and his specialization in Japanese court music, gagaku. He was awarded the Order of the Rising Sun, the highest honor that the Japanese government can bestow on a non-Japanese, in a special ceremony where the award was presented by the Emperor of Japan.

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